By Davide Bortoluzzi
The adidas Eurocamp kicked off Sunday in Treviso, Italy with numerous NBA GMs and scouts in attendance. This marks the tenth anniversary of the camp and with over 25% of the NBA made up of international players, a must attend event for NBA scouts and draft pundits. While this year’s international draft class is weak, especially compared to last year’s which had 4 out of the first 10 picks, there is some solid talent for future years including Euro Final Four junior standout James Birsen.
Before the afternoon session Evan Fournier (6’7", SG/SF, 1992, France) held a workout, which included some shooting and dribbling drills in front of dozens of scouts in a 1-on-0 situation. The result was pretty disappointing for a guy that needs to show the ability to play with more intensity. In fact driving to the basket unguarded only highlighted his limited leaping ability and the lack of athleticism. His shooting mechanics are smooth and fluid, but he’s more of a streaky shooter than a three point specialist. The consensus so far has been luke warm. The good news is it’s an extremely weak international crop so for a team desperate to keep a player off their payroll, Fournier appears to be the only real option outside of trading their pick. Plus there’s always tomorrow as Fournier will have a chance to redeem himself in game action.
Josep Franch (6’2 PG Spain) is a player that scouts feel has shot to be drafted with the intention of leaving in Europe for a few years to develop. He’s got an excellent feel for the PG position and good size as well. His speed and athleticism are deceptive, and he makes good decisions with the ball. Franch’s biggest weakness is shooting, but that could be something that improves over time.
Tomas Sataransky (6’7" PG,SG Czech Republic) who was considered the best player in the camp last year by scouts had a strong first day showing more of the same from last year. He appears comfortable in this environment having played here multiple times before. He hasn’t shown a great deal of improvement from a year ago but has added some maturity to his game. He is looking more comfortable shooting the ball, and could once again come away as scouts choice as the top overall player in the camp.
Tornike Shengelia (6’10’’, SF/PF, 1991, Georgia) had a great performance during the afternoon game, as he showed some developments in his ball handling skills that could allow him to play the SF position. His ability to attack the rim and draw contact sent him to the free throw line frequently, where he shot a poor percentage. In fact, his main shortcoming seems to be his lack of shooting skills, both from mid-range and behind the three point line. His use of the pivot foot is above average among the players at Eurocamp, with the ability to find the baseline with both hands starting from the post position. His first step is quick enough to beat most of European PF. His chances of getting drafted are rising.
On the other hand Tomislav Zubcic (7’0’’, SF/PF, 1990, Croatia) demonstrated that he is still a tweener, with most of his game based in front of the rim, exploiting his good touch from midrange and three point. He’s still not showing a reliable back to the basket game, where he seems like a fish out of water for a player his size.
Andrew Albicy (5’10’’, PG, 1990, France) failed to impress as well, especially related to his shooting range and percentages, had a couple of airballs from behind three point line. His defensive pressure is still impressive, but all the weaknesses showed during this year are difficult flaws to overcome for a wannabe NBA prospect.
The surprise of the afternoon was the Ukranian guard Oleksandr Lypovyy (6’6’’, SG, 1991, Ukraine), who impressed with his ball handling skills in relation to his height, combined with an amazing wingspan. His shot is smooth, and he’s confident behind the three point line. He’s able to play the PG position, showing good instincts and the ability to drive to the basket with the P&R. He needs to bulk up and to play with more confidence and intensity, but he could be a surprise.
Another prospect that has impressed is Daniel Diez (6’7’’, SF, 1993, Spain), who seems to have evolved from last year, showing the ability to play the SF position. He still has to work on his ball handling, but he runs the floor well, shows good energy and his shot is fluid and reliable from behind the arc.
Davide Bortoluzzi is based in Treviso, Italy and runs an Italian based draft website draftology.