Player of the Week
Klemen Prepelic (1992, SG, Slovenia, 6’2”, Olimpija Ljubljana)
Prepelic shined during the summer in the European U20 championships, leading his team to the quarterfinals before losing against France. This is his first season in such a high level of competiton, but he’s responding with confidence and effectiveness. He had 26 points with 4 assists in Olimpija Ljubljana’s win against Cibona Zagreb in an Adriatic League game last week. This performance was followed by another impressive one with 16 points and the buzzer beater behind the arc in the home victory against Khimki Moscow in Euroleague. He’s averaging almost 10 points and 2 assists in Euroleague, showing a killer instinct and an amazing midrange game. He could really become a solid role player in the right context, but in any case he’s the legitimate heir to Sani Becirovic.
Sergey Karasev (1993, SF, Russia, 6’8”, Triumph Lyubertsy)
Karasev is averaging 17.8 points 3.8 rebounds 2.2 assists in Eurocup, with a high of 27 points. Last week he had 17 points against Le Mans. At 19 years of age, he’s the second leading scorer on his team, with impressive maturity and influence. At this moment he’s definitely the top performer of the entire 1993 class, ahead of Daniel Diez and Alex Abrines, who are struggling a bit in ACB.
Nemanja Nedovic (1991, SG, Serbia, 6’4”, Lietuvos Rytas)
He’s averaging 10 points, 2.1 rebounds, 1.6 assists in Euroleague, with a high of 16 against Partizan Belgrade. He grew up with Red Star Belgrade, and moved to Lithuania for the 2012-13 season, signed by Lietuvos Rytas Vilnius. Standing 6’4” with a good frame, he has excellent athletic abilities, especially by European standards. He’s quick and really effective getting to the basket off the dribble. This season he has been playing a lot of minutes at the PG position, but his playmaking skills are not developed. Regardless, he could be one of the European second round sleepers for the 2013 draft.
Mateusz Ponitka (1993, SG, Poland, 6’6”, Prokom Gdynia)
He’s scoring 8.9 points and 2.9 rebounds on average this season in Euroleague, and he had 13 in a losing effort against Maccabi Tel Aviv. He has a solid frame, with a slashing style of game with the ability to get the basket, usually playing with confidence. The main concern about his game is his 3 point shot at 32.1% behind the arc this season, he’ll need to add consistency.
Achille Polonara (1991, SF/PF, Italy, 6’8”, Cimberio Varese)
He grew up in Teramo, where he showed consistent development over the last three years, becoming a starter during the 2011/2012 season. After the exclusion of his former team from Italian first league, Polonara was acquired by Varese where he’s having a breakout season. Averaging 10.8 points and 5.1 rebounds, he’s one of the most interesting surprises of the league. He’s athletic, mobile with good coordination and speed, he definitely could be a surprise in the late second round this year.
Rudy Gobert (1992, C, France, 7’0”, Cholet)
He’s recovering from an injury (he sprained his ankle in Eurocup) that forced him out of action for 2 weeks. He’s averaging 7.5 points 4.3 rebounds in PRO A, but has not shown substantial improvements from last season. His great summer with France U20 National team created expectations around him as a potential lottery pick. His ceiling and potential remains substantial, but his mental toughness is lacking, and his offensive game is still poor, especially his use of pivot feet.
Joffrey Lauvergne (1991, PF, France, 6’10”, Valencia)
Lauvergne was scoring 6.6 points with 3.6 rebounds this season with a high of 14 against Siena in Euroleague, before leaving Chalon due to, according to sources, an altercation with a teammate after the loss against Alba Berlin in Euroleague. He has signed a monthly agreement with Valencia, where he is expected to increase his chances to be selected in 2013 draft playing in a more competitive team.
Philipp Neumann (1992, C, Germany, 6’11”, Brose Basket Bamberg)
He’s averaging 2.7 points 1.6 rebounds of average in Euroleague with Brose Basket and went scoreless last week against Vilnius. Neumann was really solid this summer during the U20 European championships, but his effectiveness on the court is rather limited for a prospect with his expectations. His draft stock is dropping, and it’s unlikely that he will declare for the 2013 draft.
Alessandro Gentile (1992, SG, Italy, 6’5”, EA7 Milano)
He’s recovering from an injury to his shoulder, but his development has stopped since his arrival to Milan last year. He’s scoring 5.3 points on average in Euroleague, in 12 minutes of play. His athletic and speed shortcomings are difficult flaws to overcome for a potential NBA prospect like him, but the worst factor is his 37% from 2 points, basically related to his poor shot selection.
Nikola Jankovic (1994, PF, Serbia, 6’7”, Spirou Charleroi)
After a great summer with Serbian U18 National team (he was included in top 5 players of the European championship), Jankovic was acquired from the Belgian team Charleroi. He’s averaging 8.6 points and 4.2 rebounds in Eurocup, and last week he had 8 points against Lukoil Sofia. He has a solid skillset and he’s really mature for his age, nevertheless his ceiling is still high, especially if he works on his outside shot.
Nikola Ivanovic (1994, PG, Montenegro, 6’2”, Buducnost Pogdorica)
He had and amazing summer with senior national team, when he hit the buzzer beater game winner against Serbia during Eurobasket 2013 qualifying round. His confidence and personality are amazing, showing a really concrete game with a perfect jump shot from midrange starting from the dribble. He’s averaging 9.4 points in Eurocup in 22 minutes.
Mario Hezonja (1995, SG, Croatia, 6’6”, FC Regal Barcelona)
The premiere talent of his generation in Europe, who is in his first season after the acquisition by Barcelona. He’s averaging 16.5 points 3.4 rebounds 1.4 assists with the second team in LEB, Oro. He scored his first 5 points in Euroleague against Besiktas last week.
Kenan Sipahi (1995, PG, Turkey, 6’6”, Tofas Bursa)
He’s scoring 5.9 points and 1.4 assists in TBL with his team Tofas Bursa, playing almost 20 minutes per game. He has a lower ceiling than James Birsen for overall potential, but he’s already competitive at the senior level, and with his combination of skills and height for the position, he will be one of the future European stars of his generation.