2007 Reebok Eurocamp: Day One
By Aran Smith
The first day of camp began at 9 AM with station drills. It was an opportunity for the International scouts on hand to see the players and how they shoot and move as well as their coachability. One problem for the campers is that around 60% or more of the kids speak little to no English, so when the coaching gets too detailed, some of the kids are not able to absorb the information. Regardless, the coaches on hand bring a great deal of energy and passion and the kids quickly seem to be figuring out what they are trying to do with them.
The games began at 4 PM, with 2 games. The camp consists of five teams so one team sat out.
Team 3 (Orange) 65 - Team 4 (Black) 53
The black team squared off with the orange team with Russian big point guard Anton Ponkrashov showing his [img_assist|nid=3834|title=Rodrigue Beaubois|desc=|link=none|align=right|width=264|height=364]experience with a game high 16 points on 4-7 shooting. Ponkrashov and the young French point guard Rodrigue Beaubois squared off for a quarter in the first half and were pretty even. Beaubois played just two quarters so his stats were limited, but it's obvious he's above the rest of the campers in speed and quickness. He finished with 10 points, one coming on a reverse jam on the break. He also attacked the basket and was fouled after hanging in the air and drawing some oohs and ahhs from the crowd.
For the winning squad Greek player Giorgos Printezis had a team high 13 points. I had the opportunity to share a ride in from the airport in Venice with Printezis. He's got a great attitude and really wants to improve. He said he would love to play in the NBA someday. When I asked him what he thought his weakness was, he said everything. The surprising thing about him is just how much he has changed his body in the past year or so. He's gone from a 225 power forward to a 205 pound small forward. He really attacks the basket and shows a willingness to be coached. He may be a cut below NBA standard in foot speed, but he has some solid NBA attributes.
6-10 Russian power forward Artem Yakovenko shows a lot of potential, although at times he appears too passive. He threw down one monster dunk off a nice feed from Beaubois and finished with 8 points.
Team 2 (Cardinal) 57 - Team 1 (Carolina Blue) 52
Marco Belinelli showed up in the morning and played in the evening game. He shot poorly at just 3-13 but had a team high 16 points. He looks like he just rolled out of bed and doesn't appear to be too excited to be in the camp. He's said to be here through Saturday night and then flying to the States for a workout with Washington. He definitely didn't help his stock with his performance so far, but as one scout noted, nothing has really changed, he's still a nice prospect who has struggled of late.
Swedish point guard Rudy Mbemba led all scorers on day one with 20 points, 6 steals and 4 assists. He made things miserable for the opposing point guards, specifically Denmark's Adam Darboe as he picked his pocket twice with Darboe just trying to bring the ball up the court. Mbemba's reflexes and speed are on an elite level. After one rip, he took the ball in for a jam with Darboe attempting to catch him.
Listed at 6'0", Mbemba looks closer to 5'8" or 5'9" tops. But his excellent play is starting to raise some eyebrows from scouts that he may have NBA potential. He's 1987 born and his game has definitely seen solid development, so despite his big size disadvantage, he's beginning to catch some buzz here in Treviso.
Two of the top wings in the event Victor Claver and Vladimir Dasic squared off against each other. Claver appears to be more polished and has a better feel for the game, while Dasic is longer and maybe more athletic, although Claver is no slouch. Claver finished with 9 points, but struggled some shooting 2-8 from the field.
Dasic has impressed with his excellent mobility and length. He converts on follow up dunks and has good hops. His passing, outside shot and ball handling seem to be a work in progress. But he had 10 points on 4-5 shooting.
[img_assist|nid=3835|title=Mickael Pietrus|desc=|link=none|align=right|width=250|height=272]The most intriguing kid in the camp is 18 year old 6'2" point guard Rodrigue Beaubois from Guadeloupe, France. He's got an American point guard swagger to his game and is extremely quick and athletic, and his wing span is around 6'10. He's drawn comparisons to Rajon Rondo from scouts, but he actually looks even more similar to Los Angeles based high school PG Arizona commit Brandon Jennings.
He has a very American style of game so it will be interesting to see how he (and the group of younger camp "all stars" fares against the young (American high school all star) Team Reebok tonight at 6:30. Also in that game will be Bill Walker who has just been cleared to resume playing after his terrible knee injury at Kansas State last year.
Michael Pietrus is here and it turns out Beaubois was discovered at a camp that Pietrus runs each summer in the Guadeloupe Islands. Instead of a camp such as this where the campers are all known ahead of time and invited, the camp in Guadeloupe is more of a tryout where half the kids just come and scrimmage and have fun. Around 500 kids in all participate each year according to Mickael. The result is the top 5-6 kids from the camp then go to Atlanta and work on skill development for 2-3 weeks and usually wind up at Insep or other top programs for French youth players.