European Prospects

News about Young European Basketball Prospects

NIJT Rome 2011 Player Scoutings (Pt. 2)

March 8th, 2012 · No Comments

After the first part of the review on the Nike International Junior Tournament from Rome, we attack the best prospects from the rest of the teams today in our part 2.

Amedeo Tessitori – 2m05 – C – 1994 – Virtus Siena

BODY/ATHLETICISM: Tessitori is a big strong center and is very developed already for his age. He has good lower body strength in his legs. His upper body is particularly strong and he has broad shoulders, which really give him a wide frame and a big advantage when playing in the paint at the junior international level. He is just an average athlete but shows glimpses of quickness and explosiveness when he finishes around the basket with dunks.

SHOOTING: He can step out and shoot the 3 if not guarded but did not show this very often. He is more comfortable shooting around the high-post and short corners from 14-17ft. He has a slow shooting action, which limits his shots when being closely guarded. He really struggles at the free-throw line and this showed when he missed 2 clutch free throws against Fernerbahce Ulker in the semi-finals which could of sealed the win for Virtus Siena. For him to step out and play the 4 like he will need to do on the next level, he will need to continue to work on quickening up his shot and also extending his range out and be able to knock down the 3pt shot with consistency.

POSITION OFFENSE: Uses his great strength and size, especially in his lower body to seal his defender down low and create good position. He showed very nice touch around the basket and has good hands and coordination, and is able to catch many passes and finish coming from dribble penetration. He has a quick spin move and dunk, especially turning left shoulder on the right side block which is his ‘go to move’. He really does a good job and getting low and exploding up to the rim and dunking with 2 hands off this move. Does a good job of using his strength to take contact and then go and finish at the rim. Is quite limited outside of 15ft as he doesn’t have a consistent jump shot and this is something he will need to add if he’s to make the transition to the 4 position at the next level.

DEFENSE/REBOUNDING: Tessitori defends the low post well and really plays physical on the defensive end, trying to use his strength to his advantage. Because of his large frame he is slow laterally and struggles to stay in front of guys when guarding out on the perimeter. This is an area he really needs to improve in if he’s to succeed at the next level. He shows a good ability to read the passer and anticipate the pass, getting a hand in the passing lane for a steal and did this more than once during the tournament. He is a very good rebounder and really pursues the ball hard, especially on the defensive end, which is one of his strengths. With his explosiveness from a stand still jump he has the ability to really get to the ball early on the offensive boards and is something he should look to improve on in the coming years.

MISCELLANEOUS: Plays with a lot of passion and energy. His aggressiveness on the offensive end of the floor attacking the basket in the low post really gives him a big presence on the court and forces the opposing team to make decisions on how to guard him. He has a good feel for the game and with his size and maturity at a young age plays with a lot of confidence.

OVERALL RATING:Tessitori has had a lot of success already as a junior and will continue to do so for the next few years due to his size and strength. He seems to have nearly fully matured already at a young age and will not grow much taller. At 6’9” he’s going to have to expand his game out further from the basket to successful make the transition to playing the 4 at the next level. He has the potential to play at the SerieA level in Italy and beyond if he can continue to evolve his game.

Francesco Candussi – 2m11 – C – 1994 – Virtus Siena

BODY/ATHLETICISM: Candussi possesses an athletic frame and good coordination for some one his size and age. He has a strong lower body and broad shoulders, which will allow him to continue to put on more muscle and size in the coming years. With his athletic build he should be looking to continue to improve his quickness both laterally and north-south which will make him a lot more explosive on both ends of the floor.

SHOOTING: Has a nice shooting touch and showed good form on his jump shot in catch and shoot situations. He really follows through the ball well and showed this on both his free throws and his range out to the 3pt line. Because of his size he has a naturally slow technique and this is a part of his shot he should look to quicken up in coming years, especially off of ball screens when he can pop out for a shot.

POSITION OFFENSE: He really runs the floor hard, rim-to-rim, looking for easy layups in transition. In the low post he does not have great footwork or a ‘go to move’ and a counter move. This is a major part of his game that he needs to develop so he can become a much stronger threat offensively. He showed good vision when passing from the post to cutters, and has good patience when getting double-teamed, reading the defense and finding the open man. With his size and athleticism he was able to finish well around the basket and play above the rim on some plays. Right now he is quite raw and not very polished offensively. This should be his main area of his focus on improving in the coming few years.

DEFENSE/REBOUNDING: Is very aggressive attacking the offensive rebounds and with his size and good jumping ability makes it very tough for opposing teams to box out. He showed the ability to get out and ‘show’ hard on ball screens and even trap with his hands high. Lateral quickness both on the perimeter guarding a smaller opponent and also down in the paint is quite slow and he needs to keep working on this part of his game, staying down lower in a stance while on defense and moving his feet.

MISCELLANEOUS: His height, combined with his length and athleticism give him a high ceiling and a lot of potential to improve. He plays hard and really run the lanes on both ends of the court which is a great habit to have formed already.

OVERALL RATING:Candussi has a lot of talent and potential. With a lot of hard work over the next 2-3 years could be a very skilled and athletic 5 man. He has the ability to play top level basketball here in Italy in the next few years if he applies himself to improving and expanding his game. His combination of size and athleticism will keep NBA Scouts following his progress too. You can’t teach his natural gifts of height, size and athleticism so he now needs to take these and mold himself into a highly skilled 5 man.

Idan Zalmanson – 2m07 – C – 1995 – Maccabi Tel Aviv

BODY/ATHLETICISM: Zalmanson has great size at 6’10” and a very big frame. He is currently still overweight but has lost over 30kg (70lbs) in the last year alone. His weight really restricts him in getting up and down the court quickly and affects his explosiveness and jumping ability. He is a not a great athlete to start with but to become quicker and more agile he really needs to lose some more weight and tone up his body so it is lighter but stronger. He has a great big frame to work and would become so much more effective.

SHOOTING: Has a technically sound technique and follow-through and showed he can step out and hit the 3pt shot, especially in pick n pop situations. Due to his size his release is very slow and can only shoot when given time and space to do so. Once he becomes lighter and more mobile he should be able to quicken up his footwork and his shot. Needs to become a consistently good free throw shooter as he will be fouled a lot when he is posting up down low.

POSITION/OFFENSE: Showed a solid post game with good touch around the basket. Uses a one dribble jump-hook going middle and will also drop step on the left post to try and power it to the basket. Only turned left shoulder with his right hand and will need to develop his left hand so he is not so one dimensional and easy to defend in the low post. Looked comfortable playing outside on the perimeter and does not hesitate to shoot the 3pt shot if the defense was sagging off. A few times he really ran the court hard from rim to rim and was rewarded with a layup in transition, but this was only a few times and was not consistent, mostly due to the fact that he is overweight and can only sustain that intensity for a few minutes at a time. Has good hands and was able to catch passes and finish off dribble penetration.

DEFENSE/REBOUNDING: Is very slow defensively, especially laterally, and struggles to show and recover quick enough on ball screens or stay in front of quicker smaller centers on the perimeter. He does not play in a stance and this is mainly due to his weight issue and being too tired to bend his legs and slide his feet. Is not a good rebounder for his size and this is a part of his game that he really needs to improve to be able to advance to the next level. Needs to learn how to use his big wide frame to his advantage on defense and in pursuing rebounds.

MISCELLANEOUS: Showed a good feel for playing in the low post and with his size and strength he really can get away with being overweight and slow at the junior international level. For him to be a factor at the next level in Europe his main focus needs to be on improving his conditioning and strength to become more agile and quick.

OVERALL RATING:Has a lot potential with his big frame and good hands down low. It is now up to him to continue to improve on his weight issue and become a more explosive and athletic player. The next few years will be crucial to him increasing his skill set in the post with both hands and being able to defend opposition centers. He is definitely a player to keep tabs on and to monitor his development.

Sergily Zagreba – 2m11 – C – 1994 – Dnipro

BODY/ATHLETICISM: Has good length and strength in his lower body and long arms. Already possesses a strong upper body and defined arms but has narrow shoulders which may be a detriment to him as he may be already filled out to close to his maximum size. Is very agile and has great end to end quickness for someone his size and age.

SHOOTING: Does not have much range past the 8ft mark in his shooting arsenal. Has good touch around the basket and good form on his jump hook, extending over the defense and following through with both his right and left hand. Will need to develop and extend the range on his jump shot over the next few years so he is not just a one dimensional post up player at the next level.

POSITION OFFENSE: Has good patience down in the low post and uses his strength well against smaller, weaker defenders at this level to get good position inside. Showed both a right and left hand hook out to 8ft with good technique but was limited after that and does not have any counter move when the defense cuts him off. Zagreba has good hands and finished well around the rim when getting to receivers spots off of dribble penetration. He can really run the floor hard basket to basket and this is a big advantage when he’s in transition on offense. He really needs to work on developing his low post game and creating a go-to-move and a counter to it on both sides on the court.

DEFENSE/REBOUNDING: Because of his strength already Zagreba showed the ability to hold his own defending the opposition centers on the low post, but at times over exerted and was called for fouls when playing from behind. With his quick feet and good agility he is able to show and recover well on ball screens and out on the perimeter, and his long wing span help him cover a large distance without having to move his feet as much. He is only an average rebounder and at his height and size he really needs to concentrate on getting front position and attacking the glass on both ends of the floor.

MISCELLANEOUS: Because of his small shoulder width its hard to say whether he can put on enough upper body weight and strength to really compete on the next level, whether that’s in the Euroleague or the NBA. He has a lot of great physical attributes but does not have a high basketball IQ and is still very raw offensively with limited scoring ability.

OVERALL RATING: Due to his size, length, athleticism, and maturity already Zagreba is able to beat most of his opponents physically and without much skill. At the next level he will be facing up against guys with the same size, length and are a lot stronger than he currently is which is really going to be a test for him. He has a high ceiling and with time on his side if he can make good improvement on his skill set in both the offensive and rebounding aspects of his game he has the potential to play in the Euroleague or even be an early to late 2ndround Draft pick in 3-4 years time.

Tridon Makonda – 2m02 – SF – 1994 – Gran Canaria 2014

BODY/ATHLETICISM: Makonda was easily the best athlete at the NIJT in Rome this year and possesses a strong and cut physique. He consistently played above the rim and showed that he has NBA athleticism, both from a stand still jump and also when attacking the basket. He has broad shoulders and a strong lower body that at this junior international level made him look like a man amongst boys at times. Is already physically developed and matured. Has a good wingspan, which adds to his already great athleticism on both ends of the floor.

SHOOTING: He showed good technique on his jump shots both from outside the 3 and also at the free-throw line but did not show the ability to consistently knock it down which is something he will need to work on to make the step to the next level. At times he seemed to rush his shots and shoot without timing and rhythm within his teams offense. He is very raw in these areas and it will be very important as he gets older to understand which shots are good shots and which aren’t.

POSITION OFFENSE: Has NBA size and length already to play the small forward position. Uses his athleticism very well to get out and run in transition, usually looking to the rim for something around the basket, he had 4 alley-oops in one game playing way above the rim. Shot the 3 and attacked the basket off the dribble but did not show any mid-range game off the dribble. Did post up at times when playing against smaller defenders and used his strength and athleticism well to back them down to get in the lane and draw a foul or had a baseline turnaround jump shot which was inconsistent. Is quite raw offensively and really relies a lot on his athleticism. He needs to improve his whole perimeter skill set including his ball-handling, perimeter shot and mid-range pull-up if he’s to successfully make the jump up the next level.

DEFENSE/REBOUNDING: This is an area he could really become very good at. With his long reach combined with his quick feet and athleticism he could develop into a lock down defender. He guarded all positions from the 1 through 4 and showed an ability to really ‘get up and in’ and pressure the ball while not being beat by penetration. At times though he was over aggressive which resulted in quick fouls. To make the step to the next level he will need to learn how and when to apply his defensive pressure and to consistently play hard and not take plays off. Is a very good offensive rebounder and really attacked the glass with high energy. Needs to do this on the defensive end of the floor as well to become a well-rounded player.

MISCELLANEOUS: Makonda plays with great energy, passion and aggressiveness but needs to learn when to use this and when to tone it down and play within the rhythm of the game. He was often caught in situations where he pressured too much on defense and was called for a quick foul, and on the offensive end trying to force it to much attacking the basket resulting in a turnover or a bad shot. His emotions at times got the better of him and he was constantly talking with the referees and getting frustrated easily with teammates. This is definitely an area he will need to work to improve if he’s to successfully make it to the next level.

OVERALL RATING: Due to already possessing an NBA physique and athleticism Makonda will always been seen as a future prospect for the league. It is up to him now to really improve his skill set to a point where he can successfully compete against athletes as good as him or even better. The next few years will be crucial as to where his career takes him.

Danny Mills is an Australian born coach who played at the well known Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) in 2002 alongside Andrew Bogut and Aleks Maric to name a few, before heading over to the US and playing his college ball at Oregon Tech. In 2009/10 he was a Graduate Assistant at the University of San Diego and is now currently an Assistant Coach with UPEA Orlandina Basket in Capo d’Orlando, Italy. He can be contacted by email at

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