Player of the Month
Dario Saric (6’10”, PF, 1994, Croatia, Cibona)
22 points 13 rebounds 6.5 assist on average, these are the numbers put up by Dario Saric during the ABA league final four. Eye opening numbers for a player that led his team to its first league title in its history. After a sloppy start, Cibona has improved through the season, through the developments of their young rising star. During the event held in Belgrade, the Croatian talent has shown usual offensive versatility and passing skills, especially in the transition game. But what has impressed the most has been his shot consistency, which is one of the keys to his future overseas. He shot 50% from three point (8-16 overall in two games), in different situations: catch and shoot and with the pull up jumper, showing confidence and poise. His mechanics are still not fluid enough, but the improvements are encouraging.
Jasmin Repesa, Saric’s coach from the Croatian national team, and Slaven Rimac, the player’s mentor in Cibona recently released some statements about him: "I think Dario should play for a top class European club, and improve his skills even further. Players who had already been formed before going overseas, received the necessary minutes in NBA, like Giriček and Delfino, my former players. If you go there young, it is possible that you will go without minutes, but also without development trainings for which there is just not time in NBA" – said Repesa.
Slaven Rimac agreed with his colleague, but added that Šaric could find his place in NBA right away next season. "Dario is following the right path, and we want to create the best possible player. If he continues with this kind of work, I believe that he will be on NBA All-Star in near future. He should not hurry, but if some club can guarantee 20-25 minutes to him, that I believe he is ready to go."
Bogdan Bogdanovic (6’6”, SG, 1992, Serbia, Partizan Belgrade)
Despite the bitter loss against Cedevita Zagreb during the ABA league semifinals (15 pts and 7 rebs for him), Bogdanovic has recently found success thanks to his solid performances through the Euroleague season. In fact he finished as the fifth-best scorer in the league with 14.78 points per game, ranked third with an average of 2.17 three-point shots made, fourth in steals (1.57 spg.), fifth in minutes played (31:26), and eighth in fouls drawn (4 per game). Those numbers made a very solid case for Euroleague head coaches to vote Bogdanovic as the winner of the 2013-14 Rising Star Trophy. Forced to play lots of minutes as a point guard after the Westermann injury, Bogdanovic took the contingency as an opportunity to show his ability to play as an offensive facilitator, elevating his status as a solid pick for at least the late second round.
Artem Klimenko (7’1”, C, 1994, Russia, Autodor Saratov)
Klimenko became known to scouts and insiders during 2012 Adidas Eurocamp, when he was named Most Valuable Defensive Player, despite being one of the youngest players of the event. That was his sole international experience since he has never been called with Russian youth national teams during the previous years. Nevertheless his solid performances during this season in the Russian Superleague (13.5 points 6.7 rebounds and 0.8 blocked shots) has risen the level of attention on him from NBA scouts, making him a potential second rounder for this year’s draft.
Vasilije Micic (6’5”, PG, 1994, Serbia, Mega Vizura)
Micic has been one of the most solid performers through this season, leading his team to the 8th spot in his first season playing in the Adriatic league (12.1 pts 3.2 rb 5.8 ass). Unfortunately for him he injured his hand during a practice at the beginning of April. Due to this injury, the player has been out 6 weeks, missing the first half of the regular season of Serbian Superleague. Not exactly the best way to enter the most crucial period of the season for an NBA prospect of his caliber.
Clint Capela (6’10”, PF, 1994, Switzerland, Chalon)
Capela’s performance during the last Nike Hoop Summit was disappointing compared to the expectations for the Swiss athletic forward. In particular his inconsistency through the game and the lack solid fundamentals have arisen some question marks. His shot mechanics is the biggest issue, as highlighted by Michael Visenberg on his last report: “…the ball seems to slip from his fingers to palm before he releases… it’s unlikely he will find much success (with his current form) when the game speeds up and the level of competition increases..”. Thanks to his amazing frame, athletic abilities and the solid performances he’s having in French Pro A (14.3 points 9 rebounds during the last 4 games) he’s still a legit potential first rounder, but it’s not impossible to see his name slip in the second round.
Ondrej Balvin (7’1”, C, 1992, Czech Republic, Cajasol Sevilla)
After being one of the top performers during the last adidas Eurocamp, there were high expectations around Ondrej Balvin. Unfortunately for him, the performances of the Czech big man have been not consistent and actually rather disappointing throughout the entire season. With his body, coordination and hands, he could have reached better numbers and put a more significant contribution for the results of his team. During last 4 games he averaged 5 points and 4.5 rebounds. His draft prospects appear to be on the decline.
Under the Radar
Tomas Dimsa (6’6”, SG, 1994, Lithuania, Zalgiris Kaunas)
Dimsa is a typical case of late bloomer, since he had his breakout season during 2012 Nike International Junior Tournament (before then, he just had a presence with Lithuanian U18 National team during 2011 European Championships, 3.6 points per game). Standing 6’6” he has great size for the role, combined with a great frame and athleticism, above the average for European standards. He has good shooting skills, even if he has to work on his shot selection and on his ability to create from the dribble. He has a “slashing” style of game, even if he should improve his ball handling. Defensively with his good lateral speed and long arms is a reliable defensive presence. He averaged 4 points and 2 rebounds during last Euroleague top 16, elevating his status as a potential second round pick.
Ojars Silins (6’8”, SF, 1993, Latvia, Reggio Emilia)
Silins was taken to Reggio Emilia by the current International Scout of the Detroit Pistons, Daniele Baiesi in 2010. Since then the Latvian talent has been improving year by year at a steady rate. Standing at 6-8, he’s a fluid SF with an excellent first step that often allows him to beat his defender (generally PF due to his height) and get to the basket with confidence and effectiveness. He’s a little bit skinny but his structure will allow him to add weight quite easily. Solid ball handler, he runs the floor well, he could guard both forward positions but struggles with quicker players, and needs to improve footwork. He has a reliable 3 point shot (37% thus far this season). He’s averaging 7.1 points 2.6 rebounds in first Italian division.