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Reebok Eurocamp: the best of the rest

June 28th, 2009 · No Comments

After having discussed the NBA prospects in Treviso, I take a closer look at the other players present in Treviso that may be NBA candidates in the next years or stay in Europe.

Let’s start this report with Pablo Aguilar, not only because he was one of the best players in the tournament but because he is the first one in the alphabetical order. After having seen him several times in the ACB this season, I was however quite surprised how well he did in this setting, being more of a hard working player. First of all, you recognize a very interesting body structure with a nice wingspan (216cm versus 203cm size) and a large shoulders.

The main offensive weapon of Aguilar is his great jump shot which he can hit from around the key pretty well. His baseline shot looks very easy and he has range up to the NBA three point line. He has also a good presence in the rebound and is not afraid to dribble out and go coast to coast. He recognizes the game very well and knows how to get his team mates open with pass fakes for example. He knows what he does on court and looks like playing always under control. His season in Granada helped him to develop into a very interesting prospect. He should stay one more year with his current team in order to gain even more playing time on the ACB level before he can start to be a contributor in the Euroleague

One of the players that I really wanted to see was the Hungarian G/F Adam Hanga. Hanga showed an interesting combination of speed, athletic abilities and basketball skills. Being pretty aggressive on the court, Hanga can handle the ball pretty well and likes to drive to the basket. During stretches, he took the ball to play PG for his team which he did quite well. His great speed helps him to beat shorter players on the drive where he can go for the dunk over the defense or finish for example with a floater, also over taller players.

The main problem is however his jump shot which needs some development. His relatively slow mechanics and a shooting setup with the ball in front of his face don’t give him the possibility right now to arm his shot against aggressive defenders. It will be interesting to see what is Hanga up to next year, if he stays in Hungary or not. First of all, he will try to give some good impressions during the U20 European Championship B Division in Skopje this summer.

The only Lithuanian player in the camp was Mindaugas Kuzminskas from Siauliai. The athletic wing player showed some interesting aspects, good fakes and a nice range, when he is open. He is working well in the offensive rebound despite not being that big or tall. His jumping abilities help him in that area though and his correct speed and ball handling are reason why his drive is one of his best options at the moment.

Carl Ona Embo showed some nice flashes of his offensive scoring talent. Being not that tall with only 1m83, Ona Embo needs to become a better play maker if he wants to have role going further than the scoring guard. He can hit the three pointer in series, also out of the dribble but he struggles in his passing technique as you could see him several times going for too high or too low dishes out of his drives.

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Nikos Pappas was definitely not in his best days in Treviso. You could not see any improvement in his most to be improved parts of the game, athleticism and ball handling under pressure. However, you still have here a player with a terrific understanding of the game. He can drive pretty well despite looking very slow. Out of these penetrations, he can score on the layup correctly but he is more active in creating spaces for his team mates or drawing fouls to go to the line.

Another player that drew a lot of attention was the Kazakh PF/C Anton Ponomarev. The probably best player ever coming from Astana struggled a bit in the beginning to adjust his game to a level that he has never played against. Ponomarev showed a very good jump shot for a guy of his size (2m09) and also displayed an interesting but still to be developed back to the basket game. His court vision and understanding is overdeveloped and you could see him check around what the current game situation is.

His jump shot is at the moment his strongest asset, nailing with high accuracy around the key but also a potential good three point threat. He is very aggressive on the court, fights a lot and is on every hot situation to dive for the ball or to tip the ball away. With his move to Hyères-Toulon where he signed a four year contract, he should develop pretty well over the next years as the level of competition he faces will be a lot higher than in his current situation.

Tomas Satoransky was clearly one of the most talented players in the whole camp. The Czech forward, that can also play guard and even Point Guard, showed an incredible feel for the game, great athletic abilities and an above average scoring will. Even if his shot is a bit unstable which is probably the result of an underdeveloped body at the moment, Satoransky can hit the ball from all around the court when he is open. When he gets defended harder, his shooting mechanics are not that great anymore and his shot looks more like throwing the ball to the rim.

However, Satoransky was really impressive when driving to the basket as he could finish extremely well when being close to the basket. He showed great jumping abilities and hammered down one of the best dunks of the three days with a huge put back against the whole defense. Satoransky ran the show for the team he played and his big time talent was one of the major discussion points during the camp. It is not a big surprise that Cajasol Sevilla signed him according to several reports and he is supposed to make an immediate impact in the ACB right from next year.

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Alexey Shved is already a regular participant to the Reebok Eurocamp, but he did not show that much of a development since last year. However, his upper body looked a lot stronger. He is a great scorer when his shot is falling and his jump shot looks so easy and nice from any distance. Shved should finally get playing time with CSKA next season and after that, it will be interesting to see what level he can reach. He seems to recognize now better when to stop shooting and switching in his role to be a PG, a problem that was present the previous years. He is still one of the most interesting players in Europe right now.

To finish the report, let’s take a look at the Russian Center Artem Zabelin. He gained more than 10kg this season which was totally lost for him because of a severe injury. In general, Zabelin did not look like he has lost anything in his basketball talent, his jump shots look impressive for a player of his size and in defense, he excels in shot blocking. On the other hand, he is not that explosive as a player and he did not really showed polished move in the low post.

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