The two-imports league Serie A2 is a common rookie/sophomore destination and has frequently served as a trampoline for prospects (though not limited to).
This rookie/sophomore list doesn’t include Jalen Reynolds, who joined Reggio Emilia mid-season.
The undersized interior player (as a position, not Brown specifically) has been the basketball community’s wet dream ever since Kyle Hines took Europe by storm,1 but reality is that only few players are able to deal with the daily grind that is required to compensate for the huge size disadvantage in the paint. Those who succeed combine at least two of three key qualities: 1) hulkish strength, 2) unusually long arms2 and, crucially, 3) motor/mindset.
Brown is a 25 year old rookie from High Point who was a football player in high school and came to basketball relatively late. Has been playing four/five this season. Whether he can defend the five on a high level is yet to be seen. Is an active post defender who gets into trouble when giving up deep position but is active fronting the post and defends the post feed aggressively (forced 9 TOV in 41 defensive post possessions). My guess is he’ll be more four than five at a higher level.
Plays with incredible energy & motor. Wiry interior player in a small forward’s body. Floor sprinter who is the first guy down the middle and does a lot of damage with aggressive transition post ups, either finishing himself or sealing his defender to free up the driving lane. Leads Serie A2 big men in transition PPG (4.0) according to Synergy Sports and shoots an outstanding 45/71 on post up possessions. Is 2nd in putback PPG (3.9). Is an able pick and roll finisher. Plays super intense basketball full season. Switches on guards and really gets into stance and moves his feet on the perimeter. Defends aggressively out until midcourt. Is a good ballhandler who pushes the ball out of his own defensive rebound. Jumpshot isn’t textbook material, but Brown drilled 26/57 long mid range attempts so far this season. Team just qualified for the A2 quarter finals.
Was the youngest rookie of the 2015 seniors class. Signed a two year deal (summer 2016 buyout included) with Trieste. Was a spectacular & hyper-athletic but raw combo forward in his first season. Will soon have two full Euro seasons under his belt, yet is still just two months above the 2017 seniors class’ median age. Slender, wiry athlete who looks to have added a bit to his frame but is still a lightweight. Is a full time four in Trieste. Improved passer and decision maker this season. Shows good patience/shot selection. Has improved post game and pick and roll timing.
Valuable rim protecting forward who covers a lot of ground to block shots that other players simply cannot get to. Plays with high motor. Is making just 33% of his catch-and-shoot jumpers for the season but was red hot in the Treviglio 1st round series, drilling 12/20 three point shots. Defends 1 to 5. Team is 2nd in Defensive Rating. Plays with intensity, moves feet, contests. Double action player who protects the rim but still manages to grab defensive rebounds.
Gunner extraordinaire who has been drilling ridiculous pull up shots all season. Played more off the ball in college but is Roseto’s main guy this season: “Creative” possession types — as pick and roll ballhandler and in iso situations — make 48.4% of his offense this season, versus 25.2% as a college senior. Roseto is a drag screen and roll team; Smith loves going away from the arriving screen, makes pull up shot after pull up shot there moving sideways. Is shooting 45.5% (51.4 eFG%) overall on 277 mostly difficult pull up shots. No-pass offensive possessions aren’t rare, but it’s hard to argue against his shot-making. Jumpshots make 72% of his half court offense. Occasionally attacks the paint; is more than just a pure shooter. Deadly in short shot clock situations.
Everything he does is initial action. No ball reversals or 2nd/3rd hand-off situations; but this is team DNA, too. This is the same fast-paced offense where Bryon Allen excelled last season. At just 185cm/6-1, Smith is not nearly the physical presence Allen was though, and defense isn’t a priority.
Freak athlete who played in LEB Silver last season. Green is a 193cm/6-4 swingman whose merely below average ballhandling/PnR skills make him more three than two. Strong, athletic, can defend taller players.
2nd in Serie A2 in transition PPG (5.3). Is a high-flying finisher. Has a lot of power. Far ahead of the pack in wing offensive rebounding, scoring 1.9 putback PPG. They love going to him in the post, where he’s aggressive, has decent footwork and finishes well over either shoulder. Cuts well off ball. Has poor feel in ball screen offense right now. Not a shot creator. Has a good shooting stroke and footwork on catch-and-shoot jumpers and one/two dribble pull ups in hand-off situations.
Had a stronger 1st half than 2nd half of the season. Athletic impact defender who gambles a lot and takes plays off but gives his team positive net impact overall. Leads league in STL%.
Intriguing wing player who is very much an unfinished product. Only slowly grew into a leadership role in his senior season at Middle Tennessee State and was carrying more responsibility than ever before in his career this Serie A2 season. 43.5% of his possession finishes this season were in pick and roll, iso or post up situations. Tall passer with average burst who made a lot of plays in Agrigento’s offense, with mixed success. Is a below-par jump shooter from long range, but shot a solid 40% from short mid range.
Listed 198cm/6-8. One of the better wing shot blockers in Euro ball this year, and he is a strong rebounder for a wing.
Was below par in Agrigento’s season-closing losses just a few days ago, finishing the series on just 8-24 shooting through the last three games.
- PHIL GREENE IV Intense two guard who executes with good speed. Shakes defenders, creates separation, plays kick out passes. Has very good tools but often settles for the pull up J.
- MICHAEL FRAZIER Had an extremely rough rookie year in the D-League for a lack of speed/burst. Average athlete with an old-school mid range game in Serie A. Had a huge first round series vs Biella.
- DERRICK MARKS Strong sophomore guard who was a shot creator in college but doesn’t have the burst here to consistently attack a good defense. Serious team player who executes.