The recent C.B. L’Hospitalet tournament marked the second of the four qualification tournaments (Rome, Kaunas and Belgrade being the other venues), of the adidas Next Generation Tournament. The winner was the Spanish team from Real Madrid in a close final game over their eternal rival FC Barcelona (50-48) who suffered due to the absence of Rodions Kurucs, with an injury.
Here it is a list of the prospects that showed the most potential, in a tournament that saw the emergence of big point Isaac Bonga (on loan with Brose Basket Bamberg) and of center Felipe dos Anjos, the MVP of the competition.
Isaac Bonga (1999, 6’7”, PG, Bamberg, Germany)
Bonga was without question the breakout performer of the competition, showing his vast potential to at least 15 NBA scouts in the attendance. Standing 6-foot-7, he has terrific size for a PG, and he’ll definitely grow in future. He has a thin frame, on which he absolutely needs to put some pounds of muscles, but his combination of size, wingspan and athletic skills is absolutely astonishing. Compared to this summer at Euro U16 he has shown improvements on his shot, especially inside the painted area. Step backs, pull-up jumpers and turnaround jumpers are already part of his repertoire, but he definitely needs to add range and a solid three point shot. Offensively he’s able to lead the offense with confidence, showing passing skills and court vision, combined with body control and impressive basketball IQ. Currently his biggest flaw is the high number of turnovers, also because he still has to get used to the role.He has a great potential as a defender, even if he could improve in “off the ball” defence.It’s difficult to find this attitude and skills in these kind of prospects at early age, making Bonga the name to track down for the following drafts and definitely the top prospect of his class after Doncic. He closed the competition with 12.3 pts, 7.8 rb, 2.5 as and 6 turnovers per game.
Felipe dos Anjos (1998, 7’2”, C, Real Madrid, Brazil)
After having impressed with his potential last year, Dos Anjos showed improvement in basically every aspect of the game during the 2016 edition of the tournament, winning the MVP trophy. He’s a towering 7-foot-2, with remarkable mobility, balance and coordination, especially when considering his height and age. His structure is already rather solid, with robust legs and only the need to bulk up a little in the upper body, even if he has worked on this standpoint over the last year. His mobility combined with his wingspan and height makes him an effective intimidator and shot blocker, and his presence in the painted area makes it difficult for any opponent to attack the basket or even shoot from midrange. He has good court vision, with an intriguing ability to open the court from the post position, exploiting double teams generated by his height and size. Offensively he lacks solid post moves and a complete offensive game, but he definitely has good hands and instincts and the upside from this standpoint is quite high. He hasn’t yet developed a jumper outside of the painted area, likely also due to the lack of confidence, definitely an area of improvement. Defensively he has to work on his fundamentals and on his positioning, since he focuses too much on the ball, which exposes him to backdoor cuts. He concluded the tournament with averages of 9.8 pts, 6.6 rbs, and 2 blocks per game.
Eric Martinez (1998, 6’8”, SF, FC Barcelona, Spain)
He’s the stereotypical product of the Spanish youth club system, an athletic wing with long arms and excellent body. Compared to last year, he has worked on his body and grown a few inches. His ball handling is now quite solid, he’s able to handle the ball in transition effectively and to attack the basket with confidence. He really excels in transition game and in off-the ball game, but he shall work on his creativity with the ball on his hands. Defensively he has great instincts and quick hands, anticipating the passing lanes and collecting several steals per game. He has a lot of stamina and energy, showing a great attitude and also a blue collar style. The biggest area in need of improvement is his shot, especially the pull-up jumper and at the free throw line, where he’s rather limited at the moment. His athletic skills and explosiveness are well utilized, making him a good intimidator and shot blocker. He closed out the tournament with 10.2 pts and 6.6 rb.
Sergi Martinez (1999, 6’7”, SG, FC Barcelona, Spain)
He’s definitely a natural born scorer, showing amazing instincts and a great variety of offensive moves and options. He’s not extremely explosive, but he has the ability to use his body to draw contact and he’s definitely a solid athlete, with a wide frame and a robust body structure. Most of his offensive repertoire relies in his having mastering fakes and crossover moves, leading to easy baskets in the painted area, as a typical slasher. An area of improvement is definitely his jump shot, as he has shown limited consistency and selection (13% from 3 points during the tournament). He’s an above average rebounder for the role, thanks to his ability to create space with his body and timing. He finished with averages of 14.4 pts and 6.6 rb.
Acoydan McCarthy (1999, 6’5”, SG, Real Madrid, Spain)
As a 6-5 guard, he’s definitely a standout athlete and likely will continue to grow. He combines solid athletic skills, speed and smoothness in running the floor. He’s able to perfectly exploit his athletic skills on the defensive side, showing a great attitude and impressive potential on that part of the court. On the other hand he’s still quite raw offensively, with limited ball handling affecting his effectiveness to create his own shot from the dribble. In addition his shot is below average, limiting his overall appeal. Definitely has a high ceiling, but he absolutely needs to develop at least a decent offensive game. He finished the tournament with 4.4 pts and 2 rb.
Moritz Sanders (1998, 6’10”, PF, Bamberg, Germany)
What still makes Sanders an intriguing prospect is his combination of size and mobility, a key factor of success for modern big men. On the other hand he still has to work on his body, he’s still in the development stage, but his structure definitely needs to be bulked up. His mobility makes him suitable for modern P&R oriented game, even though he can’t be considered a standout athlete, especially considering his leaping abilities. He’s polished, showing a solid jumper and good passing skills, especially from the top of the painted area. In addition he’s also able to play as a traditional post player, even if his limited strength makes him struggle against bigger and taller opponents. Solid prospect with great basketball IQ, and good ceiling. He closed the tournament with 10 pt and 7 rb.
Arnoldas Kulboka (1998, 6’8”, PF/SF, Bamberg, Lithuania)
The Lithuanian kid won the three point contest of the tournament, confirming his ability as a shooter. He has a good structure for the position, with long arms, upon which he definitely needs to add some muscles. He’s in the transition from PF to SF, but his mobility and ball handling skills show that he’s already at a good point. He’s also a good passer and in general a polished and skilled modern wing. He has to work on his midrange game and on floaters, but he definitely has the potential to evolve into a solid Euroleague player. He closed the tournament with solid stats: 14.8 pts 5 rb 2 as.
Dino Radoncic (1999, 6’7”, SF, Real Madrid, Serbia)
Probably the most mature prospect seen on the court, both from the physical and technical point of view. Standing 6-foot-7 Radoncic has good size for the role, with a solid frame, good muscular development and solid athletic skills. With his solid handle he has the ability to create from on the ball with a good variety of solutions, both in the painted area or from three point (23.5% in the tournament as he needs to improve consistency), with a slashing style of game. He needs to work on his shot selection and sometimes he tends to rely too much on ISO, but he’s definitely not selfish and a solid passer. His ceiling is not as high as other top prospects, but he has the potential to become a solid player for Euroleague level. He closed the tournament with 10.4 pts 5.6 rb 3.2 as.
Yovel Zoosman (1998, 6’6”, SG, Maccabi Tel Aviv, Israel)
With 18 pts per game he was the top scorer of the competition, leading a solid Maccabi team to the semi-finals. He has perfect size for the wing, with broad shoulders and solid athletic skills, even if he should work on his explosiveness. He’s an all-around scorer, with a solid midrange game and the potential to become a great sharp shooter. He has a solid mechanics and a quick release, with great instincts and the ability to hit basically from unlimited range. Defensively he has good instincts and reactivity, also showing solid rebounding skills. He lacks tremendous upside, but I won’t be surprised to see him with Maccabi’s senior team 4-5 years from today.