While this year’s adidas Eurocamp has been a disappointment in terms of talent in both the general group, the USA Select players and the U20 Teams, the Next Gen group of 2000 and 2001 born kids were easily the best group assembled for the event. Usually this group consists of one or two high level prospects with a real shot to make the NBA. With this year’s group, half the kids appeared to have 7-foot wingspans and there was a tremendous amount of talent on display, for players potentially eligible for the 2019 draft.
Luka Samanic (’00, 6-9, SF/PF, Croatia, Regal Barcelona)
The Croatian prospect literally stole the show during the exibition game, dominating on both sides of the court. As a 6-9 forward with power forward size and small forward skills, thanks to his superior body control and quickness. He shows a lot of personality with a competitive nature and is in a good place to develop at Barecelona. He has size, length, aggressiveness and a complete offensive repertoire, including Eurosteps and pull-up jumpers from mid-range. He also looked very comfortable stepping back for a 3 pointer. On top of all this, he’s an elite level leaper and athlete as he got way above the rim for one dunk coming down the lane. France’s Sekou Doumbouya is a highly touted prospect, but Samanic is better. This is a kid that clearly has lottery level talent, which is rare to be able to say about a 16 year old.
Filip Petrusev (‘00, 6-9, PF, Serbia, Saski Baskonia)
While Samanic emerged as the clear cut top prospect, Petrusev was the best player. He was easily the most mature player on the court, showing impressive versatility from an offensive standpoint. He has shown the ability to create from the post position, using his size and strenght to take the baseline of the middle of the painted area using both hands. Furthermore he has a reliable jumper from the corner, as well as showing three point range. He’s polished and skilled, and with his nice handle he’s also able to attack the defenseoff the dribble. With his lateral speed he grants defensive flexibility in P&R situations. Another potential lottery pick if he continues on his current path.
Paul Eboua (’00, 6-6, SF, Cameroon, Stella Azzurra Rome)
Eboua was definitely the most impressive basketball body among the players on the court, with a solid frame and a huge wingspan (likely around 7-2-to 7-3). He didin’t display elite explosiveness and quickness, but he’s definitely athletic and smooth in running the floor in the transition game. His game is still instinctive, but he has terrific sense of timing and position for rebound, both offensive and defensive. He already shows the ability to create a shot off the dribble, at least at the youth level, but he still has to work on improving his range and mechanics. If he develops properly from a technical standpoint he’ll definitely be on the NBA radar in the coming years.
Oton Jankovic (’00, 6-8, SF, Croatia, Cibona, Zagreb)
The Croatian kid is a prototype of the modern wing, with solid size and body structure, especially his lower body. He has shown the ability to put the ball on the floor, attacking the basket with confidence and effectiveness, often drawing contact. He’s not extremely explosive, but without any doubt a solid athlete. He needs to work on his shot consistency, since it’s limiting his potential on the offensive side.
Mario Nakic (’01, 6-5, PG, Croatia, Real Madrid)
Nakic is one of the front runners of his class in Europe, thanks to his impressive combination of size and skills for his age and role. At 15 year he’s quite skinny, but he’s still growing, and he’ll definitely add some muscle in the coming years. During the game he struggled a little but he has shown impressive glimpses of his passing skills and overall potential.
Theo Maledon (’01, 6-3, PG, France, INSEP)
Crafty point guard with remarkable quickness and amazing handle. He pushes the ball in transition with impressive speed, showing court vision and solid passing skills. During the exibition game he didn’t try to attack the basket much, nor take many shots but his potential is promising.
Matteo Nicoli (’01, 6-3, PG, Italy, Virtus Bologna)
This skinny Italian guard displayed impressive shooting ability, hitting with consistency behind the three point line in spot up situations. He’s clearly in the development stage, and a year younger than most of the kids, but his remarkable wingspan makes his potential evolution quite intriguing. This kid has guts and is definitely a name to track for Italian/European hoops.