The Next Generation group was really talented this year, with some very exciting prospects. Here is a look at the players that stood out:
Killian Hayes (6-4, PG, France 2001) – Hayes was the most impresive player in this year’s game. He is a great athlete, explosive and has a great first step. He can create his own shot with ease. He really likes to go to his left, but he also had a few step back moves, going all the way back to European 3-point line. He also has great court vision and made some impresive passes and at the same time he was really focused on defense, having great lateral quickness and active hands. There were times when he dominated the game with his energy and athleticism and he even made two blocks. With that said, he is left handed dominant, he looked more for his shot than to pass and there were times he suffered from… tunnel vision. Despite all this though, he had by far the best showing.
Leonardo Colimerio (6-5, SG, Brazil 2001) – The Brazilian prospect was probably the most energetic guy on the floor. He is long and athletic (not explosive) and shows a great attitude. He can’t really create his shot right now because his ball handling needs work, but he found ways to be productive on offense. He was always trying to find the open teammate, he finished at the rim through contact and was fighting for every possession. On defense, he had a great, low stance and nice lateral quickness, making life difficult for his opponents.
Tom Digbeu (6-5, SG, France 2001) – Digbeu came into Treviso with a lot of hype behind him. And he was actually pretty good. He is left handed and an elite athlete, who can do just about everything on the floor. He filled the stat sheet and was able to show his ability to finish at the rim equally well with both hands and he also made some spot up 3’s. His in between game isn’t there yet, and had problems against pressure, but his upside is probably as high as anyone in this group.
Mario Nakic (6-6, PG/SG, Serbia/Croatia 2001) – If there is one thing that Nakic can do it is to score. He was able to show his ability to create his own shot. He scored off the dribble, he drove to the basket and he even posted up smaller opponents. His court vision isn’t bad either. It has to be noted though that he made 6 turnovers, because at the time he was trying too hard to score instead of looking for the open teammate, but that doesn’t change the fact that he is a great scorer.
Modestas Kancleris (6-6, SF, Lithuania 2001) – He played out of position as a power forward, but he was still able to show some interesting things. Kancleris’ basketball I.Q is pretty high and he moves well without the ball. His calling card though was his ability to knock down shots and he even demostrated a pretty good looking jab step twice.
Pavel Zakharov (6-9, PF/C, Russia 2001) – Zakharov was the best frontline player of this group. He is athletic, light on his feet and – most importantly – really long, with his wingspan measured at 7-1 feet. What really hepled him stand out was his rebounding ability, which is most a result of good instincts than the fact that he was one of the tallest guys on the floor. He was also efficient and seemd like a good team player, but there were times he was… invisible.
Luc Van Slooten (6-6, SG, Germany 2002) had the best looking jumper and was able to create his own shot, but his decision making isn’t there. Matej Rudan (6-8, PF, Croatia 2001) started the game really well, but as time went by his perfromance got worse. Dimitrios Karaiskos (6-9, C, Greece 2001) had probably the best looking frame with a 7-foot wingspan and well built body, and at the same time he scored some mid-range jumpers and a floater and he ran the floor better than any other big. Tristan Enaruna (6-7, SF, Netherlands 2001) is athletic, and can finish with either hand, very good defender, but his shot selection needs work.