Euroleague Juniors Preview: Group A
By Simon Dresden
Euroleague Preview -- The Next Generation including draft eligible players born 1986-1989.
Outstanding shooter with good feel for the game. Will have an even harder job than his teammate Artem Zabelin to get on the floor with veterans like Papaloukas, Zisis, Holden and Langdon on the squad. His body is rail thin which makes it hard for him to guard most of the athletic freaks in the Euroleague but he has the talent to play there someday. Still a number of years away from NBA ready, but has a natural feel for the game and instincts that you can't teach.
Nikita Kurbanov (6-8 SF/PF 1986)
Solid athlete who got more and more into the rotation of Coach Messina last year with relentless hustle and should be able to make the next step this year to become a solid bench contributor for CSKA. Has a knack for rebounding and decent athleticism. His shot and ball handling needs some serious work but he should receive looks from NBA scouts this year, though he appears better suited for European ball.
Anatoly Kashirov (7-0 C 1987)
His size alone makes him a prospect to watch out for but he is athletically limited and his skills around the basket are too basic right now. With CSKA poised to win and building around late blossoming Alexei Savrasenko while getting depth from seasoned Chris Andersen, Kashirov's minutes will be limited.
One of Europe's prime NBA prospects. Has excellent size and wingspan, is mobile for a player his size and furthermore is even blessed with an impressive skill set. On a stacked team like CSKA a player has to be very good in what he does to get extensive playing time. Whatever Zabelin brings to the table in terms of skill, size and talent is threatened by his very thin build. His body needs a lot more mass to guard anyone playing his potential positions in Euroleague Basketball and his shot blocking isn't up to the level to compensate. Any minute Zabelin can get is golden and scouts will be around all year to watch his every progress closely. Should learn a lot from watching and practicing with Euro star Smodis on a daily basis.
Prokom Trefl Sopot
Prezemyslaw Zamojski (6-6 , SG/SF 1986)
Tried the US route but wasn't among the best even at the CC- level, so he came back to Europe and Sopot took a cheap flyer. He actually is pretty athletic and quick by European standards. He seems to have the talent to be a Euroleague level rotation SG some day, but he needs playing time to put it all together - which he probably won't get this year on a stacked team.. Most likely he'll leave Sopot after a year or so of benchwarming.
No one draft-eligible
Matteo Da Ros (6-7, SF 1989)
Unheralded Youngster will be there only to watch as Virtus tries to get back into the Euro-Elite with a packed roster. His body and game are not up to the level of men's competition yet but practicing on that high level alone should benefit him. Being able to compete with such high quality competition on a daily basis is only doing him good.
One of the legit NBA prospects in this years Euroleague after proving himself ready in the last Euro Men's Competition where he played a solid role for Team Serbia. His step from FMP Zeleznik to Euro-Powerhouse Olympiacos is quite big, since he isn't the main man anymore but has to compete for playing time with primetime players like Greer, Macijauskas and Seibutis. But as he showed before, Teodosic isn't afraid to compete and learn. His competitiveness and shooting combined with his good size make him a player to watch this year but he maybe a little lacking in the speed and athleticism department for first round consideration.
Jan Mocnik (5-9 PG 1987)
Not blessed with blazing speed, Mocnik is far away from being a player on this level of competition because of his size. He has game but that is not enough to overcome his size and athletic shortcomings.
Remembered best for stepping in for the injured Sarunas Jasikevicius at PG as an 18 year old kid on the Lithuanian NT. Earned himself some playing time even last year and should be able to shoulder an even bigger role for his team this time around. Fearless and decently athletic, he knows how to ball with the big boys being blessed with the typical Lithuanian jumper and a good feel for the game. Tends to be too aggressive attacking the basket and forcing things. Still needs some work on decision making and learning to take what the defense gives him. Body could use a little work but all in all he is a good prospect who deserves to be watched in his draft year.
Arturas Milaknis (6-4 SG 1986)
Pure bench filler with the typical Baltic shooting form but not much more to offer.
Vylmantas Dilys (6-8 SG/SF 1987)
His size and position make him a prospect. His skill set gives hope that he someday can become a top level player but strength wise he is far away from there. His length will make up for some of his speed deficiencies but he cant guard anyone even when taking into the low post by guards. It will be hard for him to get extensive PT.