There is no Luka Doncic in the 2019 international draft class. Considering the fact Doncic is the best European prospect of the last 20 years (and possibly more) that is to be expected. That said, this year’s class might be lacking a true franchise talent, but probably possesses more depth than last year’s class.
Goga Bitadze (99′, 6-11, C, Georgia, Mega Bemax/KK Buducnost)
Goga Bitadze has been a beast all season long. Receiving plenty of playing time with a substantial role for Mega Bemax, the Georgian prospect has dominated in the ABA League, averaging 20.2 points, 7.9 rebounds and 2.5 blocks per game! His body looks better, his shooting range has expanded all way to the 3-point line and his motor is great. The fact that he did all this with Mega Bemax could lead some to come to the conclusion that the stage was set for him to succeed, at is often the case with this team. The questions whether his performances were representative of his talent or not are going to be answered soon enough, since Bitadze has transferred to KK Buducnost, so in the near future he will be given the chance to show his abilities at the EuroLeague level. If he manages to be productive at that level, then he will be a virtual lock, at minimum, at the end of the first round.
Sekou Doumbouya (00′, 6-9, SF/PF, France, Limoges)
Doumbouya recently tore a ligament in his right thumb and is out for 5-7 weeks. After an extremely slow start, Sekou Doumbouya was beginning to find his groove. With every NBA scout keeping an eye on him because of his dominance against players two years older than him in FIBA youth competition in the past, Doumbouya has had to live up to really high expectations on the senior level. At the beginning of the season he struggled to do so, to the disappointment of many. But he was beginning to turn the corner before the recent injury. Over the past couple of weeks he was showing encouraging signs. Doumbouya is really raw at the moment and by far a better athlete than a basketball player. He lacks fundamentals, and must improve upon his decision making, since he is a poor passer and can’t really create his shot. But it’s his athleticism, versatility and defensive upside that make him so intriguing and potentially a perfect fit – at least on paper – for the the NBA’s new era.
Adam Mokoka (98′, 6-5, SG, France, Mega Bemax)
There was a feeling before last season’s NBA Draft that Adam Mokoka could end up hearing his name in the 45-60 range, mainly because of his showing in Treviso’s Eurocamp. For some reason, the French combo guard decided to withdraw his name and sign with Mega Bemax, hoping to improve his stock. And in reality, he looks significantly better with his new team than he looked a year ago, when he was playing sparingly in the French League, but hasn’t really impressed. Mokoka is build like a… tank. He is an American style athlete and a very good defender, who can make hustle plays. He is still a streaky shooter though and has to improve in Pick and Roll situations as the ball handler since he gets exposed in isolation situations. He definitely has NBA potential as a role player, but needs to continue working on his "wrinkles" in order to convince the scouts that he deserves to get drafted.
Karim Jallow (97′, 6-6, SG/SF, Germany, MHP Riesen Ludwigsburg)
Playing for a competitive team which struggled from the beginning of the season, his playing time has been very inconsistent. One night he is playing +20 minutes and the next less than 10 minutes. Considering the situation, Karim Jallow has been pretty solid. Defensive versatility and 3-and-D potential are the main reasons the German prospect has been scouted pretty heavily over the last couple of years. He has shown some glimpses as a scorer at the junior level in FIBA’s competitions, and although no team will ask him to do that at the next level, it’s good to know that there is potential in that regard. In reality, Jallow is a consistent shot away from been considered a second round prospect and it’s on him to convince scouts that he can improve in that area.
Yovel Zoosman (98′, 6-6, SF, Israel, Maccabi Tel Aviv)
The MVP of the FIBA U20 European Championship has an expanded role with European powerhouse Maccabi this season, especially in the domestic league, but not really in the EuroLeague. Yovel Zoosman has forced scouts to notice of him because of his high motor, all around potential and physicality. He is a fighter and has two-way potential, with the ability to guard four positions. This season he looks improved as a spot up shooter, which has helped his stock. If he continues improving at this rate, he could be a middle to late second round pick.
Abdoulaye N'Doye (98′, 6-7, PG/SG, France, Cholet)
Playing for the team with the worst record in Pro A, Abdoulaye Ndoye has made strides, since he has a much bigger role than one year ago. The French prospect looked like he has kind of stagnated last year because he had to fight for playing time with veteran players. This season his playing time has almost doubled and he has had some really good moments. Playing on and off the ball, Ndoye has improved considerably in Spot Up and Catch and Shoot situations, expanding his game. Although he still needs work on Pick and Roll as the ball handler. Considering the fact his calling guard is his versatility on defense, if he continues improving on the offensive end his stock could rise in the near future.
Luka Samanic (00′, 6-11, PF, Croatia, Petrol Olimpjia)
The Croatian prospect decided to leave European powerhouse, Barcelona, and join Petrol Olimpjia this past summer, hoping that he will have a greater chance to showcase his skills in front of NBA scouts. Almost 3 months into the season, his decision hasn’t worked out all that well. After an underwhelming performance in FIBA’s U18 European Championship, Samanic found himself in a difficult situation, having to fight for playing time with a lot of veteran players. The last couple of weeks his playing time has been on the rise, but he still hasn’t really found his rhythm. Samanic has an interesting skill set, since he is a modern big with the ability to do just about everything on both ends of the floor, but at the same time he has major strength issues and major problems playing against physical players. His introduction to senior basketball has been tough on him and it remains to be seen if he will improve in the future.
Amine Noua (97′, 6-8, PF, France, ASVEL)
The French product has seen consistent minutes for a second season in a row on a really good Asvel team. Having the label of “role player” written all over him, it’s definetly a real positive that he is asked to do the same things he will have to do on a bigger stage, because he can be judged accordingly. The problem with him is that he looks as if he has kind of stalled. The truth is that he looks more focused on defense – which has a lot to do with the fact that he has a new coach with a defensive mentality – and he remains as versatile as anyone in that regard. But his shot isn’t falling, which is essential for his draft stock as a Stretch-4, and his offensive numbers are down across the board, with Noua looking unable to mix it up. Still, the role-player potential is there and he might have enough fans among NBA scouts to get a team to bite this year.
Vanja Marinkovic (97′, 6-7, SG, Serbia, Partizan)
Marinkovic remains one of the best shooters of his generation. He can shoot with the best of them out there and this year has been the leader of his team, having a much bigger role. The Serbian prospect is mixing it up more this season, since he is more involved in Pick and Roll situations with encouraging results. With that said, the fact that he still struggles to consistently create his own shot even at the ABA League level isn’t a good sign and the same applies for his suspect defense. That doesn’t change the fact that he still intrigues scouts, thanks to his combination of shooting, size and improved playmaking ability.
Laurynas Birutis (97′, 7-1, C, Lithuania, Zalgiris)
After a dominant 2017/18 season with Siauliai, Birutis returned from loan to Lithuanian powerhouse Zalgiris, knowing that his role will be limited. He really didn’t have much of a choice but to accept the situation. In reality, Birutis has been really productive in limited playing time, which shows a lot about his talent and potential. If he manages to crack the rotation, it won’t be difficult for the scouts to remember his potential as a interesting center who runs the floor well and can post up and play the Pick and Roll at a high level.
Borisa Simanic (98′. 7-0, PF, Serbia, Crvena Zvezda)
He started the season slowly, but, game by game, Borisa has managed to crack the rotation of Crvena Svezda, even becoming a starter for the team. After two years with a lot of ups and downs and some underwhelming showing in FIBA’s events, Simanic looks more mature. He has found a role that fits him as a Stretch-4 for a European powerhouse and is getting better by the day. It’s still kind of early to think he could get drafted this year, but if he continues to evolve, he could see his stock rise as a shooting specialist big.
Blaz Mesicek (97′, 6-6, SG, Slovenia, Petrol Olimpjia)
After a year in Italy, Mesicek returned to Petrol Olimpjia hoping to find his footing. His role has expanded, but his efficiency – which was always been reason for concern – has dropped. Mesicek is a gifted offensive player, especially on isolation situations, but he still lacks concentration on Pick and Rolls as the ball handler, he suffers from tunnel vision and is an inconsistent shooter. He still has time to turn things around, but he must convince scouts that can be a leader for his team, which hasn’t happened just yet.
Gytis Masiulis (98′, 6-9 , PF, Lithuania, Neptunas)
He has been flying under the radar for some time, but Masiulis has potential. Starting his career as a banger who liked to play with his back to the basket, he has expanded his game and shooting range and looking more and more like a modern big. Playing on loan from Zalgiris to Neptunas, Masiulis has the chance to learn from his mistakes and show glimpses of his future self. His athletic limitations hurt his stock, but his basketball I.Q. and motor are undeniable and could convince a team to give him a look at the end of the second round.
Marcel Ponitka (97′, 6-4, PG/SG, Poland, Arka Gdynia)
His playing time and touches have dropped. His role has diminished from last season. Still, Ponitka has had his moments, showing improvement as a shooter, which was always his biggest red flag. The auto-eligible guard has a great body and is a very good athlete, being for years a consistent jump shot away from changing levels. With his current role it’s difficult to imagine him getting drafted, but with a strong finish to the season and a good showing in private workouts it can’t be excluded as a possibility.
Paul Eboua (00′, 6-7, SF/PF, Italy, Roseto Starks)
There is a lot of pressure on Paul Eboua to produce at a high level because of the hype that has surrounded him since he was 16 years old thanks to his amazing physique and athleticism. Everybody know that he is by far a better athlete than a basketball player and needs a lot of work. But his potential and upside are just too intriguing to ignore. As it turns out, he still remains really raw, lacks fundamentals and at times looks lost on the floor, struggling to keep up even at Italian 2nd Division. But he is brimming with potential, and is still just 18 years old, having a lot of room for improvement. As an athlete, Eboua has the full package, including being a potential lock down defender. If he manages to find a way to be productive on the offensive end of the floor, it would be really difficult for the scouts to ignore him. But that is a very big “If” right now.
Louis Olinde (98′, 6-9, SF/PF, Germany, Brose Bamberg)
The last 2 years there used to be a lot of hype around Louis Olinde and his potential. The truth is that he really hasn’t live up to all this hype and this season in no exception. The German prospect has really struggled to find a role with his team. What’s even worse is that last season he looked better than this season. His inability to make the next step is becoming worrisome, but he still is just 20 years old with a ton of upside. At some point though he will have to show something before it’s too late.
Kostja Mushidi (98′, 6-5, SG, Germany, Mega Bemax)
After a struggling 2017/18 season, Mushidi has failed to make the next step this season. The German prospect is looking even worse than one year ago. His role is limited and his shot isn’t falling, with Mushidi still struggling to find his groove. In 2016 there were some scouts that thought he might even get drafted at the end of the first round. As things stand now, it’s difficult to view him even as a middle to end of second rounder, despite some good showings at FIBA’s junior level games in the past.
Marko Simonovic (99′, 6-11, PF/C, Montenegro, Petrol Olimpjia)
The forward/center from Montenego has an interesting skill set and has been on the NBA radar for almost two years. The problem is that he hasn’t really been able to show scouts what he can do, because he had a limited role last season in Italian 2nd Division and the same has happened in the first two months of this season, for the time he spent on loan from Petrol Olimpjia to Roseto. That lead his team to the decision to bring him to Slovenia and, since then, Simonovic had at least a chance for some playing time. Things aren’t exactly ideal for him in Olympjia with many veterans plus Luka Samanic at the same position, but Simonovic remains a player to have an eye on.
[player: Berke Atar] (99′, 6-11, C, Turkey, Banvit)
The Turkish prospect Ragip Berke Atar has been a beast at the junior level in FIBA competitions in the past, mainly because he was ahead of his peers physically. At the senior level though he is still struggling to find a consistent role with his team. Atar is an old school big who can post up, play the pick and roll and grab a lot of rebounds, who hasn’t really expanded his game. He is still kind of raw though and needs a lot of work, which is probably the reason he has a limited role with his team. Bigs have the tendency to mature at a slower rate, but for him to continue to be on the NBA radar he must be able to show something in the near future.
Elijah Clarance (98′, 6-4, SG, Sweden, Fraport Skyliners)
The Swedish prospect turned a lot of heads in FIBA’s U20 European Champinship with his performance. His decision to leave Illinois State and sign with Fraport Skyliners caught a lot of people by surprise, but Clarance concluded that this was the best decision for his career. In Germany he mostly spends his days playing for the feeder club of Fraport in 3rd division, where he has the chance to polish his game and show his all around potential. He still remains and inconsistent shooter though and the fact he hasn’t really been given a chance with the first team isn’t encouraging, but Clarance definitely has some intriguing potential.