Part two of our U20s report. Part one (bigs) here.
Top Wing Performers
Yovel Zoosman (SF, Israel, 12-May-1998, Maccabi Tel Aviv)
An intangibles monster who was arguably the best perimeter defender in Crete. Defends well both on & off ball, weak side or one pass away. Fairly long, very active and smart. Got multiple deflections every game. But it really wasn’t just that: Finished 5th in scoring, drilled 42.5% of his 5.7 three pointers per game, attacked the basket off the catch. Ran the floor hard, led the tournament in transition PPG (5.1), according to Synergy Sports. Good cutter. Never holds on to the ball. Not much of a PnR threat at this point, but contributes in many ways.
Very likely to be a long-time Euroleague player for Maccabi Tel Aviv. Just signed a multiyear deal in Tel Aviv.
VANJA MARINKOVIC (SG/SF, SERBIA, 9-JAN-1997, PARTIZAN)
Marinkovic’s strong performance in Crete was somewhat tainted by a poor quarter final, where he opened the game with 8 points straight before struggling to score for the remaining three quarters against the long French defense.
Marinković's 9 PnR possessions yesterday pic.twitter.com/LSIO7SQTLJ
— Simon Jatsch (@sJacas) July 17, 2017
The steep learning curve from sniper to playmaker is evident though: Has seriously improved as a ballhandler & decision maker. Took care of point guard duties for stretches, brought the ball up versus pressure, initiated offense. Averaged 5.4 PnR possessions per game. Looked for his own shot (just 34.2% kick rate). Turned the ball over on just 5.3 TOV% of his PnR possessions while finishing number one in shooting fouls drawn in PnR. Led playmakers & wings in PPG on finishes at the rim (4.3).
A Euroleague player in the making.
SVIATOSLAV MYKHAILIUK (SF, UKRAINE, 10-JUN-1997, KANSAS)
Mykhailiuk was the dominant player on a fairly talented Ukrainian team that did not defend and in conclusion flat-out underperformed. Topped the tournament in scoring (20.1 PPG), shot attempts (17.7; including pull-up jumpshots with 6.4) and turnovers (6.0).
Had a wing playmaking role in Crete. Averaged 11.4 PnR possessions per game. Started to pass the ball better — especially in transition — in the later stages of the tournament. Finished 2nd in transition PPG (5.0).
Looked for his own shot. Had a low 33.8% kickout rate in PnR. Shot a lot of pull-up shots. Was below par as a finisher (0.857 PPP) at the rim in half court. College basketball has done his ballhandling, feel & PnR game no favour. Still a top wing athlete & prospect in his age group though.
SANTIAGO YUSTA (SF, SPAIN, 28-APR-1997, Real Madrid)
Yusta drilled 13/26 three pointers in Crete after going 6/41 in the ACB last season, but 13 shots on 26 attempts isn’t hard evidence for improvement. He did shoot over 40% from beyond the arc at the U20 last year too though, and it’s possible that he’s a rhythm/confidence shooter — unfortunately, one place where he cannot be expected to get extended minutes to find rhythm is Real Madrid.
Other than shooting, Yusta did what Yusta does, finishing 6th in transition PPG (3.9) and making plays off the catch. Doesn’t have much of a pull-up game at this point.
David Krämer (SG, Germany, 14-Jan-1997, Ratiopharm Ulm)
Established himself as one of the top two guards in Crete. While jumpshooting is his elite skill (finished 2nd in off-screen PPG), Krämer is far from a one-trick-pony: competed on the defensive end (activity, anticipation, mindset) and generated plenty of extra points on offense, finishing 6th amongst playmakers & wings in transition PPG (3.4) and 2nd in free throw attempts. Fearless, attacks the crowd, draws contact.
Wasn’t featured at all as a creator in Crete.
Is a solid athlete who played competent basketball in limited minutes for Ulm last season. Likely stepping into a slightly bigger role now.
Martynas Varnas (SG/SF, Lithuania, 21-Jan-1997, Zalgiris)
Once standing out as a fearless wing attacker, Varnas isn’t quite the same player after a stress fracture in his foot ousted him from last year’s U20s midway through the tournament, then complications involving the metal plate in said foot required a 2nd surgery in the middle of the 2016-17 season. Varnas didn’t play a single game for Zalgiris II in the NKL after New Year.
In Crete, 77.8% of his half court FGA were jumpshots, most of the catch and shoot type. Just 3/11 FG on finishes at the rim. Struggled in PnR, didn’t complete dribbles in tight spaces, finished on 2/10 FG in PnR, frequently turned the ball over. Looks generally tentative off the dribble. Does possess some off-catch game. Is still a physically strong swingman.
Varnas did step up as a shooter, drilling 36.2% of his 6.7 attempts per game.
- KRISTINN PALSSON (SF, ICELAND, 17-DEC-1997, MARIST): Palsson had been Iceland’s best player at the U18B 2015, and he was arguably Number 4 in Crete. Very jumpshot-dependent, was asked to create in Jonsson’s absence, not his role. Tough tournament for him.
- MATTIA DA CAMPO (SF, ITALY, 1-MAY-1997, SEATTLE): Barely played; pure off-ball role.
El-Hadji Digué Diawara (SF/PF, France, 3-Oct-1998, ASVEL)
The slender French combo forward, 12th youngest player in Crete, moved between the three and four and had some big moments attacking off the catch, running the floor, crashing the glass. Showed nice mid range touch attacking off the catch; finished 4/7 on runners. Made 8/15 three point shots but just 2/9 foul shots.
Generally played competent basketball. When asked to create or handle the ball on the perimeter though, no good things happened. Not part of his skill set right now.
Considering multi-positional defense is supposed to be his thing, Diawara was less effective on perimeter defense than anticipated though, not moving well laterally, letting slashers slip past him for layups, not getting many deflections, finishing the tournament on totals of just one block and one steal through seven games.
Milic Starovlah (SF, Montenegro, 28-Jan-1998, Cetinje)
Both Starovlah and Corovic had been top wing players at the U18 B last summer but struggled in the absence of Carapic in Crete. While Corovic was a complete non-factor, Starovlah did put points on the board (13.0 PPG, though on 33.8% shooting) and drew foul after foul (finished 1st amongst playmakers & wings in FTA). Is a good attacker off the catch but was forced to take shots he usually wouldn’t take.
Is a poor PnR player at this point. Scored just 0.429 PPP in his individual PnR possessions, turned the ball over on 23% of PnR possessions.
Still like his Euro perspective as a 3-and-D wing.
Furkan Korkmaz (SF, Turkey, 24-Jul-1997, Philadelphia 76ers)
An inconclusive performance from Korkmaz, who arrived to the squad late, was clearly tired & settled for mid range pull ups on a dysfunctional team that failed to generate easy looks for him. Shot 5.2 pull up jumpers per game.
Arnas Berucka (SF, Lithuania, 17-Mar-1997)
Has been a glue guy on Lithuanian NT & Rytas junior teams the past years. Defends, plays his heart out. Operates mostly from the corners. Spot up shooter; not much of a dribble game, only rarely attacks the close out off the catch. A non-factor in PnR at this point.
Ivan Tkachenko (SF, Ukraine, 23-Apr-1997)
Real wing athlete who plays with swagger but isn’t the best decision maker. 3rd in transition PPG (4.3). Led playmakers & wings in putback PPG (1.7). Had a bunch of high-flying transition blocks, finished 1st amongst playmakers & wings in BLK%. Thrives in transition, has issues in half court.
Karim Jallow (SF, Germany, 13-Apr-1997, Bayern München)
Was the team’s best player in the preparation phase, then had a somewhat disappointing tournament offensively, although he had productive games towards the end of the tournament. Showed some promise in the post. Led playmakers & wings in PPG as a cutter (2.3) and was 2nd in PPG in the post. 5th amongst playmakers & wings in PPG at the rim (2.9). PnR feel is an area where he’s got long ways to go. Turned the ball over on more than a quarter of his PnR possessions.
Will earn a BBL rotation spot sooner or later via defense, but improved decision making on offense would help immensely.