Brazil’s Felipe dos Anjos, Latvia’s Rodions Kurucs and Bosnia’s Borisa Simanic were among the players that stood out in this year’s Adidas Next Generation Tournament finale from Berlin, held in conjunction with the European Final Four.
Felipe dos Anjos, 7-2, 245, C, Brazil – Real Madrid
Probably the most intriguing prospect of the Tournament. Felipe dos Anjos made big strides this year in his development. The Brazilian prospect is… huge, with a massive wingspan (7-foot-6 territory) and impressive mobility and coordination for a guy his size, but what makes him special is his high basketball IQ! dos Anjos showed a lot of potential. He seemed to be evolving from game to game and had a double-double against Crvena Zvezda in his third game with 16 points, 10 rebounds and 1 block. His legs are still a work in progress, and while they have good strength, they lack fluidity. That is something that should improve over time. He still has a long way to go, but the fact that he improved so drastically in one year – running the floor with good conditioning and even shooting with touch from the perimeter – says a lot about his potential.
Rodions Kurucs, 6-8, 200, SF, Latvia – Barcelona
There aren’t many prospects in Europe who can do the things that the forward from Latvia can do on the floor. A lot of NBA scouts had their eyes on Rodions Kurucs. And for good reason. Kurucs is a modern small forward, who can fill the stat sheet with ease, run the floor extremely well, can penetrate and finish through contact, can create his own shot at acceptable level and even score in Catch-and-Shot situations. Although he was recovering from an injury, Barcelona’s project was able to show his talent with high flying dunks and he managed to even outshine Simanic in the Final between Crvena Zvezda and Barcelona (Barcelona won the tournament), scoring critical points at the end of the game. Kurucs averaged 15 points, 3 rebounds and 3.5 assists in just 23 minutes of playing time.
Borisa Simanic, 6-10, 215, SF/PF, Serbia – Crvena Zvezda
One look and it’s obvious that Simanic is a kid with a lot of talent. His first game (against Lietuvos Rytas Vilnius) was disappointing due to foul trouble and also his attitude, because he got frustrated, and it took him out of the game. As the Tournament proceeded, though, he showed improvement and made true on the hype he had entering the event. He earned MVP honors, averaging 18 points, 7.5 rebounds, 3 assists and 2.8 blocks in the tournament. Simanic is a talented all around forward, who can shoot, score, rebound, pass and (when… motivated) play solid defense. He still needs to improve his ball handling with his left hand. But the talent is there and if he manages to make a full transition to small forward he can be an NBA player. He still has a lot of maturing to do in his leadership, body language and communicating with teammates. Whether he can become more vocal and improve upon his communication skills will be vital in determining whether he realizes his vast potential.
Eric Vila, 6-10, 200, PF/SF, Spain – Barcelona
The versatility of Eric Vila Martinez stood out in this Tournament. The Spaniard forward (who reportedly has been approached by many Colleges), was impressive in the Final, where he was the leading scorer and rebounder for Barcelona with 21 points and 8 rebounds. What was even more impressive though is the fact that he made 5 of 7 shots from the 3 point line, where he shot 55% on the Tournament! Vila showed that he can become a face up forward in the future, due to his ball handling, shooting and lateral quickness. At the same time, though, he really needs to bulk up his body if he wants to play at the next level, because he has problems against physical defenders.
Jaylen Hoard, 6-8, 190, G, France – INSEP
When a player is 6-8 and plays at guard, you know that they can be special. And that’s exactly the case with Jaylen Hoard. The French prospect played a lot at the small forward in “ANGT”, but he is projected to play as a guard at the next level. Hoard has all the tools to become a very good player. He can create his own shot, but he can also be the facilitator and his physical tools give him an advantage on defense. With that said, his biggest challenge is to improve his shooting and decision making and it wouldn’t be a bad idea to add some muscle to his body.
Sekou Doumbouya, 6-8, 210, SF, France – INSEP
He was one of the youngest players of the Tournament at 16 years of age, but stood out to scouts with his physical tools, versatility and agility. He played at small forward, but he even had some playmaking duties and already there are some people who compare his playing style with that of (young) Boris Diaw! He can create his own shot, finish in traffic and is a very willing passer. At the same time, though, he needs to improve his decision making and shooting (he made just 4/15 shots from the 3-point line) and also must be more involved on rebounds. Considered the best 2000 born kid in Europe at the moment.
Atoumane Diagne (7-1, Center, Senegal, Barcelona), Aleksa Radanov (6-7, SG, Serbia, Crvena Zvezda) and Louis Olinde (6-8, SF, Germany, Alba Berlin but his rights belong to Hamburg Towers) were three interesting cases.
Ranadov was by far the best player of this group, averaging 15 points, 2.3 rebounds, 2.3 assists and 2 steals per game and he was the leading scorer of Crvena Zvezda in the Final with 23 points, despite the fact that he was playing with a right ankle sprain. The thing that was really impressive, though, was the fact that he spent some time at point guard.
Diagne is a pure center. He is still pretty raw on the offensive end (although he even took some shots from the perimeter), but he has an amazing body and he was by far the most athletic big of the Tournament. If he continues working he can become a good player for the next level.
Olinde was disappointing in the first two games, but he was excellent in his last game against Lietuvos Ritas Vilnius with 19 points and 8 rebounds. He played a lot at power forward, but his natural position is Small Forward and it’s no coincidence that he had his best game was when he was used as a small forward. He still has many flaws, but he is definitely someone to keep an eye on.