2008 Eurocamp: Serge Ibaka Impressive in Day 1
By Aran Smith
Day One in Treviso got started tremendously. This is the best field ever assembled for the yearly event with tons of talent in the younger ages. Despite the fact that a number of the older guys such as Nicolas Batum couldn't show, there is going to be a lot of players to evaluate which makes for a fun week.
Kudos to the camp for adding a 20 minute 1-1 and 2-2 drill to the morning session. This gave scouts a great opportunity to see some of the stand out talents go head to head against one another. I can't remember seeing this drill run in the camp before, and hopefully it will be something that continues each day and in future camps.
Unfortunately the box score keepers got into a fender bender on the way to the game. So there are no boxes to draw stats from. But Team 1 (Carolina Blue) made short work of Team Two (Red) in game one behind the imposing presence of Serge Ibaka. Ibaka made a big statement about why he deserves to be drafted in the first round. He ran the floor extremely well, had some impressive dunks and also hit a number of mid-range and shots around the basket, and just outclassed everyone athletically.
Ibaka's Hoop Summit performance dropped his stock coniderably to the point where many scouts felt that he was an unlikely first rounder. But if he continues to play as well as he did in day one, He will surely claim a spot in round one in this year's draft. While Ibaka has been very impressive, it's important to note the level of competition is younger and the bigs are less athletic than the average NBA prospect, so it was expected that Ibaka would show well, but regardless, he has been the buzz of the camp thus far.
Also impressive for the Carolina Blue squad were Ryan Read (a college graduate from Concordia) who also happens to have an Italian passport and French born Fabien Causeur. The duo got hot from outside helping to extend the lead to 20 by the end of the ball game.
For the Red squad, Anton Ponkrashov struggled to live up to his lofty expectations. He's in his draft year, and apparently feeling the pressure as he looked visibly frustrated with himself and struggled to get things going offensively. He did a solid job of passing and handling the ball but he really struggles to hit the outside shot consistently. He'll need to rebound the rest of the week, or could end up falling out of the second round.
His teammate Alexey Shved had a better showing, he started off the game with a beautiful 3 pointer and scored on a few drives to the basket where he displayed his quickness and leaping ability. His ability to handle the ball under duress and pass makes him very interesting as a lead guard prospect. He's still very skinny, but has put some weight on since last year, and still has that "special" quality about him. But it's obvious he still has a ways to go to be a legitimate lottery prospect, which he has the potential to become.
Center Yannick Driesen had a positive showing. For an 1988 born kid, he has a huge frame and a solid ability to run the floor and react in the post. He trailed off at the end of the game, which is likely due to stamina issues, but overall a positive showing.
No one stood out as much in the second game as Ibaka, but Russia's Artem Zabelin would have to be the player of the game. He looked something like the early 90's version of Chris Gatling, using his great length and skinny frame to disrupt and block numerous shots and flush a number of dunks around the basket. When he gets an opening around the rim, he doesn't have far to go to dunk it, due to his great length. He still has some weight concerns, but he's playing aggressive and beginning to live up to the hype.
Also impressive was Markoishvili. He shot the ball well and makes good decisions with the ball. But as one scout put it, "he plays like a 30 year old, the problem is he might be". There has long been speculation that he is actually 2-3 years older than his listed age, and with Georgian player this tends to be the norm (Shermadini same thing). Markiosvilli also has terrible fee that don't move quickly enough and almost appear to drag across the floor.
Vyacheslav Kravtsov looked good in his first game. He didn't put up huge scoring numbers, but he used his strength well and showed a mean streak that will serve him well playing in the paint. Along with Ibaka, he's probably the other physical specimen in camp, and looks like a strong prospect.
Struggling mightily was Ronalds Zakis who seemed very tense in the morning workouts and things only got worse in the game. He hit one midrange jumper, but turned the ball over numerous times and couldn't get on track offensively. At one point he barreled into Kravsov and bowled him completely over, which isn't easy to do. On the bright side, Zakis is an absolute beast, and should be able to play better, since it can't be much worse than day 1 for him.
Nenad Mijatovic made some plays, but appears far too enamored with making flashy plays instead of playing solid fundamental ball. Even his shot has been affected as he often pulls his hands down after he shoots (ala the whip catch that a number of outfielders have used in baseball). He made one three doing this, but missed on his next one: certainly not fundamental basketball and something that scouts are sure to cringe at.
Jaka Klobukar impressed with his toughness and controlled aggression driving to the basket. He has an excellent demeanor and should be an excellent European player, minimum. How much NBA potential he has will need more exposure to determine.
Especially impressive in the morning session workouts was Sweden's Jonas Jerebko who went over his defender and dunked on him more than once in the one on one drills. At 6'9 he shoots well, has an excellent feel for the game and a strong, athletic body. There's no question, he's a very interesting prospect for the NBA, and even though he's 1987 born, one of the top prospects here.
Ryan Read SG/PZG Concordia University
Roland Hendlein 6'9 Hungary
Mantas Kalnietis 6'5 Lithuania
Nikita Kourbanov 6'8 Russia
Manuchar Markoishvili 6'5 Rep of Georgia
Dusan Mladjen 6'5 Serbia
Anton Ponkrashov 6'7 Russia
George Tsintadze 6'4 Georgia
Sam Van Rossom 6'2 Belgium
Fabian Causer 6'3 France
*Sergey Ilin 7'5 Russia
*Jonas Jerebko 6'9 Sweden
Jaka Klobukar 6'7 Slovenia
*Maxym Korniyenko 6'7 Ukraine
Vyacheslav Kravtsov 6'11 Ukraine
Johannes Lischka 6'8 Germany
*Rudy Mbemba 5'11 Sweden
Nenad Mijatovic 6'4 Montenegro
*Henk Norel 6'11 Holland
Ivan Paunic 6'4 Serbia
*Maxim Sheleketo 6'8 Russia
Vladimir Stimac 6'9 Serbia
Dimitris Verginis 6'4 Greece
*Ronalds Zakis 6'9 Latvia
Vladimir Dasic 6'9 Serbia
Yannick Driesen 7'1 Belgium
Baris Hersek 6'9 Turkey
Marko Keselj 6'9 Serbia
Oleksandr Kolchenko 6'6 Ukraine
Maxim Krivosheev 6'9 Russia
Adrien Moerman 6'9 France
Alexey Shved 6'6 Russia
*Maxsym Vilkhovetskyi 6'3 Ukraine
Artem Zabelin 7'1 Russia
Giannopoulos Charalambos 6'7 Greece
*Serge Ibaka 6'10 Congo
Edwin Jackson 6'3 France
Dusan Katnic 6'4 Serbia
*Luc Louves 6'9 France
Phillip Schwethelm 6'7 Germany
Semen Shashkov 6'9 Russia
*Giorgi Shermadini 7'1 Republic of Georgia
Nicolo Melli 6'9 Italy
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