2007 Reebok Eurocamp: Day Three
By Aran Smith
The third day's morning session had a new wrinkle with Fran Frachilla giving the campers a new drill the 4-2-4 fast break drill. The campers learned the importance of making a quick decision when you have numbers. It was a good opportuity to see the players anticipation and defensive ability as well as passing and finishing. As usual the games began at 4.
Team 2 (Cardinal) 65 - Team 4 (Carolina Black) 63
Anton Ponkrashov helped Team Black build a big first half lead with his steady decision making and passing, however at times he tends to over dribble the ball. Missing their top player from the two days before, Marco Belinelli, Team Cardinal struggled to put points on the board early. Eventually they settled into a rhythm behind their backcourt of Lithuanian 2-guard Martynas Mazeika and Mantas Kalnietis.
Bigman Miroslav Raduljica had 14 points scoring inside with his solid touch and running the floor like a forward. He has a real tough guy demeanor, but it's uncertain if he's actually tough or just wants to be. His baby face makes his act less convincing.
6-10 Polish power forward Jakub Wojiechowski, who is plays for local Benetton Treviso shows nice promise. He is extremely long, fluid and athletic for a 1990 player and appears to have the frame to add weight without losing much agility and speed. He chipped in with 7 on 3-5 shooting.
After 2 days of appearing in the fog, Vladimir Dasic woke up with 9 points. He shot 4-10 hitting a few midrange shots and showing his elite level athletic ability.
Ponkrashov and Kalnietis matched up for a good part of the game so it was interesting to see the two play against each other. Ponkrashov got the upperhand showing a better feel for running a team, but there are a few that still prefer Kalnietis as a prospect. Ponkrashov finished with a game high 15 (6-12) to Kalnietis' 10 (4-9)
Nikita Shabalkin continues to show his inside toughness and excellent touch finishing with 7 points on 3-6 shooting.
Team 2 (Carolina Blue) 69 - Team 5 (Royal Blue) 68
In an exciting back and forth contest, Carolina Blue was able to squeak out the one point victory behind the tremendous play of Rudy Mbemba. Matching up with Mbemba was Aleksander Ugrinoski who had played terrible in games before tonight but led all scorers with 16 (6-10) hitting a big 3 at the end of the game that nearly won the contest.
Ali Traore had 14 (6-9) finishing strong when it counted with a few solid shots at the end of the game including a nifty 8 foot turnaround j.
Mbemba continues to show why some scouts feel he has NBA potential. What he lacks for in size, he makes up for in hustle and speed and quickness. He's beginning to figure things out at the point guard position.
Lithuanian guard Mantas Ruikis led the Carolina team in scoring with 14 knocking down 4-9 from distance.
Reebok Euro Camp All Stars 70 - U20 Italian National Team 65
Reebok stared out flat as the Italian National team got out to an early 16-3 lead behind the excellent point guard play by USC soon-to-be-sophomore Daniel Hackett. The Italian team looked like a bunch of local rec leaguers in warm ups, but their team play and togetherness made them a formidable opponent. These national teams are always more finely tuned having played together for some time, while the Eurocamp All Star teams rely more on talent.
In the second half, the Eurocamp squad quickly cut into the lead and by the fourth quarter they were already up by 2. They quickly built a 14 point lead only to see that fall to just 5 in the closing minutes.
Lithuanian Martynas Mazeika had a team high 15 for the Eurocamp squad, while Serbian Vladimir Dasic had his best game of the camp with 13. Dasic has been a major disappointment, and though he has a great body and athletic ability, his intensity and attitude appear to be questionable.
Nikita Shabalkin had 13 points on 6-12 shooting but turned the ball over 6 times. He did help spark a run in the early second half with some inside baskets.
Luigi Da Tome, who had a rough season playing in Italy this year with injury problems had the dunk of the day with his Dr. J baseline move going up and under and dunking the ball. DaTome played solid, but questions linger about his body strength and durability.
Hackett did an excellent job of playing the point hitting a 3 point shot to end the half with less than a second on the clock. He finished with 14 points, however he shot miserably from the field at 5-18.
The Italian National Team came to play but seemed to run out of juice at the end as the speed and athleticism of Team Reebok proved too much.