Eurocamp Day 1: Defenders And Playmakers Step Up

The 2017 Eurocamp is similar in talent to recent years.  A mix of a slightly older prospects who are already getting pro minutes, in-betweeners looking to get exposure in-between their youth and pro careers, and quite young players with the most promise like Dzanan Musa and Isaac Bonga.  So while there aren’t so many players with NBA potential in the camp roster, there are a lot of interesting players for a variety of places in Europe.

The other teams attending ended up being odd choices.  The Slovenian U-20 team without stud wing prospects Vlatko Cancer and Blaz Mesicek is just not up to this level and will struggle to stay in any of the games they play and they also have to play both US teams.  And that’s the other odd choice, bringing two American teams to Treviso including one that’s loaded with potential NBA talent and will steamroll everyone.  It’s always cool to see great talent but at the EUROcamp, in Europe, with European players, what’s the point of sending not one but two US teams?  It’s an interesting comparison tool but is just weird for a camp about exposure for European and International talent to have the focus become the Americans.

Game Of The Day

Was the 3rd game between Team 1 Mavericks and Team 4 Timberwolves.  There’s a lack of overall feel for the game with so many young players and also many players had some real trouble with finishing.  But this was a real basketball game.  Team 4 ran solid offense with actually decent sets and moved the ball.  Both teams played physical and worked.  Team 4’s group of Abdoulaye N’doye, Karim Jallow, Santiago Yusta, Regimantas Miniotas, Hans Vanwijn, and Musa are long, strong, fluid athletes who get out and defend.  Really cool group of interchangeable small and tall wings basically.  And not to mention Marcel Ponitka and Emirican Kosut in-between this collection of wings and having a lot of the offense run through them. A bunch of the guys from this team should be in the All-Star game on Saturday night.

Top Day 1 Performers

Abdoulaye N’Doye (2.5, 198/6-6, 1998, France, Cholet)

  • Best Day 1 defender. Defended Kulboka most of the game and shut him down.
  • Long, mobile, extremely active.
  • Impressed in every aspect of defense: pesky full court, aggressive on ball in half court, hard close outs, moved feet 1-1 and contested, athletic weak side rotations, towering defensive rebounds. Had three steals in 21 minutes.
  • Limited ballhandler but made a couple of aggressive pushes in transition. Ball sharer who sees the floor well. Played well within team offense.
  • Elite-level defensive potential makes him an interesting long-term prospect.

Regimantas Miniotas (4.3, 206/6-9, 1996, Lithuania, Vytautas)

  • Tough high IQ four who just gets the job done. One of the anchors of Lithuania’s silver-winning U20 team in Finland last summer. Had a strong second half of the season with Vytautas in LKL. He’s a pro.
  • Body (esp. legs) still slender, but is getting bigger. Doesn’t have speed though, and basically doesn’t jump.
  • Started at C and opened his day with a neat pass out of the post and a baby hook. Later moved into stretch four role. Clever passer.
  • Active defensively. Constantly communicating. Good team defender.
  • Low ceiling but will have a long pro career.

Luka Asceric (3.0, 200/6-9, 1997, Austria, Lille)

  • One of the lesser known guys coming in. Point forward with good feel. On-ball talent who ran a lot of ball screen offense for Lille. Had a strong year there.
  • Smooth player who lacks burst/physicality on his way to the rim (had just one layup out pick and roll all season in Lille) but has a very good game till the elbow area. Makes smart decisions there.
  • Looked decent in drills, showed his feel in the game. Good, creative passes. Left open a couple of times coming off the ball screen, drilled the jumper.

Amar Gegic (1.5, 195/6-4, 1998, BiH, Bayern München)

  • Tall, robust playmaker.
  • Initially high level prospect but hadn’t shown radical progress in the recent past. Had a strong day here. Poised, confident, competent performance against the second U.S. team (8 points, 3 assists, 2 steals, no turnovers).
  • Got to the rim in transition and ball screen offense. Strong, deals well with contact. Doesn’t have an arsenal of options. Jumpshot is still the achilles heel.

Emircan Kosut (5.0, 216/7-1, 1995, Turkey, Yesilgiresun)

  • Underdeveloped body for a 1995-born big, but altered a lot of shots today, even if somehow no blocks were registered for him on the boxscore.
  • Played his heart out: defended aggressively out to mid court, dove to the floor, patrolled the paint.
  • Had solid finishes today but has generally had a shaky season as a finisher: Played in a floor-stretching position for Yesilgiresun, where 46.5% of his half court finishes were jump shots (made just 24.2% of his catch-and-shoot jumpers though). 60-40 roll-to-pop-rate in BSL.

Mario Ihring (1.0, 192/6-3, 1998, Slovakia, Capo d’Orlando)

  • Most creative Euro on the court today. No-look dishes. Precise and well-timed passes in pick and roll. Found cutters.
  • Well-schooled pick and roll player, leader of the Slovakian junior national team. Has good size, sees the weak side well, has feel. Navigates the ball screen well, uses re-screens, gets into spots, keeps the dribble alive, doesn’t panic.
  • Had a strong game one, had issues making plays against the long/mobile U.S. team in the first half of game two, but settled down and had a good second half.

Honorable Mentions

  • Karim Jallow: Getting after it on defense. Helped set the tone together with N’Doye. Offense (jumpshot, ballhandling), isn’t there. Must become an elite cutter, offensive rebounder.
  • Gytis Masiulis: Not nearly strong/physical enough, had rough moments in the morning drills in half court, but showed his tremendous basketball IQ and improved jump shot in the afternoon game. Just gets the job done.
  • Aleksa Ilic: Slowly getting stronger. Jumper not there yet and sceptical it ever will be. Showed some promise as a roll man. Got after it on defense. Had two live ball steals on the perimeter. Mobile, long, plays the passing lanes.

Elite Prospects

In the elite prospect group there were mixed results but these are also the youngest prospects at Eurocamp.  Isaac Bonga (’99), Dzanan Musa (’99), Arnoldas Kulboka (’98), Louis Olinde (’98), and Yordan Minchev (’98) are probably the Top 5 of the event in terms of talent potential with the first three names having the most NBA potential.

Starting with Bonga, who Simon has seen many times but was Sam’s first time live, he played quite erratic.  Bonga prefers kind of wild reverse layups over thru contact finishes, makes a lot of risky dribble moves, and is only effective playing on the ball.  It was lackadaisical basketball.  But Bonga is also the youngest player here and still trying to figure things out.  Musa looked good, really playing within the team concept, ramping up pressure on defense, going after offensive rebounds, and catching tough passes.  He played a true role and fit in well with his team.  Also showed off some touch with floaters and pull-up jumpers.

Kulboka for the most part had locks placed on him by N’doye, just had a tough time getting going in the game and looked frustrated.  Olinde was unable to play clean with the ball.  Was really just letting the game come to him, he didn’t force much, didn’t show off many ball skills.  Minchev was quite active, especially defensively and when able to was great at pushing the pace.  He’s so fluid, sometimes he just flies up the court.  And he showed off his versatility as his team lacked ball-handlers and he played some point guard.