European Prospects

News about Young European Basketball Prospects

Torneo Pasqua Barocca: Italy

May 12th, 2011 · 1 Comment

During the Easter weekend, the Pasqua Barocca Tournament has been played in Italy with four U16 National Teams competing. Our friend Danny Mills has followed the tournament and has sent us several scouting reports on the players that he liked the most. Today Danny gives us an update on the Italian players.

Lorenzo Benvenuti – 2m02 – 1995 – Power Forward – Nesti & Nelli

BODY/ATHLETICISM: At 6’8” Benvenuti has a strongly built upper body with wide shoulders and should have no problem adding bulk and strength to his frame. He is only an average athlete at best and does not have great explosiveness, but uses his body well to gain an advantage in positioning down low.

SHOOTING: He has a good touch around the basket and uses both his left and right hand to finish from 4ft and in. Has a good release point on his shot and shows good technique, but his catch and shoot action is slow and will need to get quicker in this area. He has range out to 18 feet on a pick n pop action but does not have the consistency in his form to make the majority of them.

POSITION OFFENSE: Has good size and strength for a PF at the U16 level. Has good patience at both the low post and high post and doesn’t force the pass but reads the defense well and takes what they give him. Showed a nice up and under move from the right low post and on penetration steps into the receivers spots well with hands ready for the pass. Uses more finesse than strength to finish around the basket.

DEFENSE/REBOUNDING: Due to his heavier set frame he doesn’t posses great lateral foot quickness and this will become a problem at the next level when he will need to step out and guard smaller quicker forwards on the perimeter. Uses his lower body strength to box out and gain good positioning for rebounding both defensively and offensively where he is quite active. Showed the ability to read the offense well and rotate over to help positions on penetration from the guards.

MISCELLANEOUS: At this level he is a consistent factor at both ends of the floor because of his head smarts and strength down low. As he matures he will need to tone his body up and become quicker to be able to compete with his opposition. Needs to increase his range out to 21 feet to able to knock down the open 3 and continue to quicken his shot.

OVERALL RATING: 6 – Benvenuti has a good feel for the game and played the pivot in the Italian team’s offense well. He rebounds well for his size – 6.5rpg and is active both offensively and defensively. He will need to develop his perimeter game in the coming years if he is to reach his full potential and play in one of the top two leagues in Italy, Lega Due or Serie A.

Nicola Akele – 1m90 – 1995 – Shooting Guard – Bears Mestre

BODY/ATHLETICISM: Akele is a slightly built athlete, who has a large wingspan and is very wiry. He is quite explosive and uses his athleticism to his advantage at both ends of the floor. He has an upper body that will allow him to add strength without bulking up too much and losing any of his quickness.

SHOOTING: Has a nice follow through on his jump-shot but his form is not real tight and his elbow sticks out to the right, probably partly in due to the length in his arms, which is something he will need to correct. Showed a mid-range game out to 17ft but nothing further. Has good footwork coming into his shot off a pass for a catch and shoot, and also uses his quickness to beat his man off the dribble, and has good form on his pull-up jumper, staying low and balanced.

POSITION OFFENSE: Right now he is clearly a slasher type player and must continue to develop his range out the the 3pt line if he is to be a factor on the next level. He has a nice post game for a 2/3 and uses his length and explosiveness to score over his defender. He showed a one dribble middle jump-hook against Greece. Is very active on the offensive boards and keeps his defender honest by going every time trying to create second chance opportunities for his team. Moves well without the ball and reads his defender well. If he’s being overplayed he will go backdoor or if he has a smaller guard on him he will slash to the basket looking for a post-up action.

DEFENSE/REBOUNDING: Akele is very active on the defensive end and uses his arm length to get a hand in the passing lane. He rebounds well for a 2/3 but does not always box out first, relying solely on his athleticism and sometimes gives up a long rebound because if it. With his great physique for a guard he has the ability to become a really good lock-down defender on the opposition’s best scorer and this is something he really needs to concentrate on improving to add to his game.

MISCELLANEOUS: Sometimes relies too much on his athleticism to get by in this age group, but will need to develop other parts of his game if he is to be successful at the next level. He has a good feel for the game and reads the defense well when cutting or attacking the basket. Shows a willingness to listen to his coaches and encourage his teammates, which is what earned him the Fair Play Award at the tournament.

OVERALL RATING: 6 – Akele needs to expand his offensive game out to the 3 so he is not so predictable and easy to guard at the next level. His length, athleticism and feel for the game are big advantages he has now at the U16 level, but to move up to the LegaDue or SerieA level in future years he will need to become a lock-down defender, something that he has the physical tools to be able to do.

Simone Fontecchio – 1m95 – 1995 – Shooting Guard – Virtus Bologna

BODY/ATHLETICISM: Long armed athlete with a slightly built frame. Has good jumping ability and finishes above the rim. Has a quick first step and sprints the floor well using his athleticism. Needs to add strength to his upper body in next few years.

SHOOTING: Fontecchio shows a nice follow-through on his jump shot but needs to quicken up his release and get it higher to be able to shoot over defenders as long as he is. Has good readiness and sets his feet well waiting for a pass in catch and shoot situations. Uses his strong legs to elevate himself over the defense when penetrating and pulling up for a jump shot. Has range out to 23 feet and showed he could knock these down when left open.

POSITION OFFENSE: Runs the lanes very well in offense, and will finish at the rim, showing a nice two handed dunk against Greece. Uses his length and quick first step to get pass his defender and pull-up for his jump shot. With his range out to the 3point line he makes the defense play him honest. Needs to develop more of a post-up game as he has the height and length advantage against most opposition on this level, he just needs to add more strength to his upper body to be able to finish inside. Has good patience on offense and will not force the pass to a half-open teammate or drive into traffic, reads the game quite well.

DEFENSE/REBOUNDING: Has good lateral quickness on the defensive end. Showed he can stay in front of smaller, quicker guards with his length. Needs to be more of an effective rebounder at both ends, and can be with his athleticism at the guard spot, only averaging 2 rpg this tournament. With his physique he has the potential to develop into a lockdown defender and is something he will need to work on if he’s to succeed at the next level.

MISCELLANEOUS: With his long, lean body and ability to add strength and not bulk up too much Fontecchio has the physical tools needed to be a factor at the next level. He runs the floor well and has good patience on the offensive end, using his head smarts to read the defense and take what they give him. Doesn’t seem to be very vocal and not much of a leader which is something he should continue to improve at.

OVERALL RATING: 6 – Has great physical attributes at the U16 level that allow him to be an affective player at the SG position. If he continues to work on quickening up his shot and range, finishing at the basket, rebounding and becoming a lock-down defender he has a high enough ceiling to continue his career at the LegaDue or even SerieA level when he matures.

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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  • 1 U16 European Championship 2011: Day 2 // Aug 4, 2011 at 11:23 pm

    […] Fontecchio and Lorenzo Baldasso. The first one was one of the players that our friend Danny Mills scouted already in the spring while Baldasso was mainly used in a shooting role. He can create his own shot out of […]

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