The FIBA U16 European championships were held in Skopje, North Macedonia from August 5 -13, 2023 with Spain defeating Italy in the final 77-68 and the top 5 plus host Turkey qualifying for the U17 World Championships next year. The 5 who qualified were the finalists, France who came in 3rd, Lithuania, and Germany. Here are the top prospects from the event:

Top 10 Prospects: 

Hugo Yimga Moukouri 6’8 SG/SF France 2008 Born Pole FFB Highlights

Yimga Moukouri, a year younger than most of the prospects at this event, averaged 14 points per game in 17 minutes while coming off the bench for 3rd place finisher France. He shot well from the field going 35/60 (58%) and shooting 8/18 from beyond the 3 point line. At 6’8, he already has great height, a strong looking frame, and good handles for a wing. A quality shooter with a fluid motion, he creates separation on a mid range jump shot as he is deadly from beyond the arc and has a good pump fake, one dribble step in shot. On drives,  he tends to either use a Euro-step lay in or two hand off two feet dunk. On offense, he is smart and patient but doesn’t get down hill as much as you would think he could (because his mid range is so good or also given his role on the team). He was not featured much in pick and roll situations but has an explosive first step off the triple threat and advanced footwork on the wing for a player his age. He has ideal athleticism for an NBA wing and was challenged on the defensive end by usually guarding the better scorers and/ or athletes on the opposing team. Still quite young, his coaches did not hesitate to coach and sub him out when he had team defensive lapses. However, he shows potential in becoming a good defender. He needed to focus a little more on the free throw line and become more efficient (20/29). Had some adjusting to playing up an age group and finding where he fit in within the French offense which explains his poor assist to turnover ratio.

Mark Morano Mahmutovic 6’6 SG Slovenia 2007 Born Cedevita Olimpija Highlights

Mahmutovic led the event in scoring and nearly helped lead Slovenia in the quarterfinals against eventual undefeated champion Spain with his 36 point outburst. Mahmutovic was the focal point of the Slovenian offense and demonstrated the ability to self create and score both from beyond the arc and to slither past defenders for lay-ins. Often denied the ball by opponents, he demonstrated the ability to read the play and back cut and finish a play off with a strong flush. Not shy, he took 17 shots per game (7 3s per game). Offensively he’s got to be a high usage player at this event but needs to improve his efficiency (42% from the field) & 30% from three. Showed a good ability to draw fouls (nearly 5 per game) and shot them at an efficient 85%. Defensively, he showed some lateral quickness and has good strength. He rebounded the ball well for a guard at 6.1 per game. He finished the event  averaging 20.6 points per game.

Miikka Muurinen 6’9 PF Sweden 2007 Born Sunrise Christian Highlights

Whether Muurinen is 6’9 or 6’10 we will soon find out, as he is headed to Sunrise Christian for this upcoming season. Finland was far from a dominant team at this event finishing 12th, but it allowed Muurinen to often be the primary creator for the team. He demonstrated some projectability as a modern day wing playing 4 or 5. He can spin around or slither past defenders for lay-ins and has the ability to create off the dribble, shoot and make a contested mid range jump shot.He showed flashes of making catch and shoot threes and overall has good vision on the offensive end for a player his height. His numbers were inefficient, shooting 38% from the field and 29% from three and taking more threes (8.2) than two pointers (6.4). He will need to improve on those numbers and shot selection at Sunrise Christian. He showed a Dirk-esque one legged fade away. Defensively he averaged 2 blocks and 1 steal per game utilizing his length and height but he does not project much as a defender. He has a slow reaction timing as if his feet were stuck in mud and is susceptible to pump fakes. A bit of a plodder, running up and down the court when he doesn’t think he will finish the play off. Perhaps the game and speed of the US circuit will help him react quicker but this is a big concern for him as a prospect. He averaged 16.9 points per game, which was 3rd most for this event.

Gildas Gimenez 6’6 SF Spain 2007 Born Real Madrid Highlights

Was the best player on the best team at this event. Gimenez was a very efficient player for Spain, shooting 49% from the field 46% from three and 77% from the free throw line. One of the better athletes at this event, he has a good wingspan and often overpowers opponents with strength at this level. A menace on the offensive rebounds, averaging nearly 3 per game and giving him countless put back opportunities. An opportunistic but efficient shooter from three (5/11) showed good rotation on his shot. On a team with highly defined roles, limiting his creativity opportunities, he did show some flashes at getting downhill with either a crossover or bullying opponents with a ball displacing eurostep and lay-in. He has the handles and game of more of a small forward than shooting guard, despite being listed at 6’6. Defensively has long arms and was often assigned to defend the opponent’s best offensive player. He moves well laterally and is in a good position on help defense. Averaged 14.4 points per game and 6.6 rebounds while voted on the event’s all top 5 and probably would have been voted MVP for the event had he not played his worst game of the tournament in the finals.

Guillermo Del Pino 6’4 PG Spain 2007 Born Unicaja Andalucia Highlights

Del Pino was voted MVP for this event averaging 14.6 points per game and with outstanding metrics 51% FG, 43% from three and 90% from the free throw line. Listed at 6’4, he has good height for a point guard. He showed a very good ability to dissect plays and make the right decision for the Spanish squad, averaging 2.9 assists to 1.6 turnovers. He is very good at taking advantage of pick and roll situations and has shiftiness that allows him to split the pick or use the pick to get downhill. He also does a good job of finishing plays off, finding spaces in the air while avoiding defenders trying to take charges or block his shot. He has a strong mid-range shot off the pick and roll or crossover. He is strong both on fast breaks and half court sets. He changes speeds well off the dribble. He does lack ideal vertical power as an NBA point guard (lack of dunks, rebounds, and blocks). He needs to continue to expand his range from further beyond the 3 point line. Made a couple side step threes at this event. Defensively does a good job keeping his hands active in the passing lanes, averaging 1.9 steals per game. He may not have the upside that some of the players above him have, but he has a higher floor than most.

Arturas Butajevas 6’7 PF Lithuania 2007 Born FC Barcelona Highlights

Butajevas played well enough to earn himself a spot on the Barcelona youth team, starting this fall. At 6’7, he is quite agile and has good length and looks like he is not done growing. Averaging 15.6 points and leading the event in rebounds at 9.9 per game, Butajevas was able to help Lithuania qualify for the FIBA U17 World cup next summer. Butajevas showed some flashes as a potential screen and pop frontcourt player, going 3/11 from three and 70% from the free throw line. He has good length, which allows him to have some flushes and helped him average 1.3 blocks per game. At 6’7, he will need  to fill out and grow some to continue to project as a prospect, as he does not have the handles or quick release to play the small forward position at an elite level. Butajevas was voted for this event’s top 5.

Nathan Soliman 6’7 Forward France 2009 Born Pole FFB Highlights

Soliman was just 14 years and 1 month old  when this event took place, making him nearly 2 years younger than most of his opponents. The equivalent of an 8th grader playing against the best sophomore high school kids in the country. He more than held his own, averaging 8.9 points, 4.9 rebounds, 1.1 steals and 1.1 blocks in 20 minutes per game. He showed the ability to make good decisions in the high post as he averaged more assists than turnovers and good touch around the rim. He is, at this stage, a post player who had many of his dunks off pick and roll cuts. Showed some flashes as a shooter, going 4/8 from three. He showed good composure for a player who could participate in two more u16 tournaments. Projecting out, he will need to either gain height or work on his speed should he stay at the same height but given his age, he was highly impressive and is already considered in French basketball media as their best youth prospect since Victor Wembanyama.

Diego Garavaglia 6’6 SG Italy 2007 Born Olimpia Milano Footage

Garavaglia, at 6’6 has ideal size as a shooting guard, averaging 15 points per game while going 49% FG (39/80), 38% (14/37) from three and 72% (13/18) from the free throw line. He showed some flashes of creating off the strength of his jumper and getting to the hole with some panache, finishing strong with flushes. He’s well coached and disciplined and has a good plan on his moves with counter moves. Can play well in either the half court or fast break set. He has some good vertical ability demonstrated by his flushes, but statistically in his strong rebound (5.4) and block (1.6) numbers as a guard. A smart player on the defensive end and anticipates well passes getting him 1.3 steals per game. Lacks great speed but is solid in every other category as he has ideal height, shooting, and handles for a professional wing.

Maikcol Perez 6’7 PF Italy 2007 Born Orange 1 Basket Bassano Highlights

Perez was one of the more dynamic players for the tournament and helped lead Italy to a finals appearance. He showed good length and agility with his wiry frame. Averaging 12.7 points and 9 rebounds per game, he was best on the fast break, finishing plays off. He is dangerous in the corners, in particular in the right corner from three as he scored most of his outside points from the baseline all the way into the corner three (7/12 from downtown). Has a long, quick first step but does not shift well north and south nor have a crossover, or behind the back move,  which makes his dribble movement pattern very linear and predictable for a secondary defender. Has good energy and movement without the ball helping him averge 1.7 steals per game. Was voted in the all tournament Top 5, but the question becomes, as a 6’7 power forward how will can he adapt as players his age catch up physically.

Akram Naji 6’5 PG France 2007 Born Elan Chalons Highlights

Naji Averaged 15.1 points, 4.1 assists, and 2.1 steals per game as France’s lead guard. He showed a good ability to effectively read pick and roll situations using his shooting ability, shifitness, and change of pace to create for himself and for others in those situations. He has no conscience from any range taking shots from well beyond the three point line and has a creativity that French point guards have lacked in the last few generations. He will make savvy plays both on offense and defense. Has a quick release and good size for a point guard (6’4) that helps, given his lack of elite athleticism. Needs to become more of an efficient player as his shooting numbers from three (6/23) and from the line (27/43) are less than ideal given his position. He played with Joie de Vivre and flash in his game but with his lack of athleticism, he needs to continue to work on his shooting numbers and cut down on turnovers. He was voted to the tournament’s top 5.

10 Honorable Mention:

Andrej Bjelic 6’4 PG Serbia 2008 Born Highlights

Playing up a class, Bjelic showed good size as a combo guard and a nice, fluid shooting motion. He averaged 12.1 points, went 18/51 from three (35%), 13/14 from the free throw line (93%) and 1.6 steals per game

Jonas Boulefaa 6’9 Forward France 2007 Born Pole FFB

Boulefaa, at 6’9 showed efficiency around the rim 66% from 2 and averaged 13.3 points and 7.3 rebounds for the tournament. He needs to continue to work on his efficiency both at the free throw line and from long distance to project as a prospect.

Dovydas Buika 6’4 SG Lithuania 2007 Born Zalgiris Kaunas Footage

Some likely would rank Buika in their tournament top 10. He is very adept at getting to the hole and creating contact to either create space and finish or get to the free throw line. He will dunk it on occasion and surprise opponents. He got to the line nearly 8 times per game (73%). He did not shoot it well from three at this event and did not show much of a mid range game. If he can develop those other layers and add to to his great ability to get downhill it would certainly help him as a prospect down the line. Averaged 16.3 ppg 46% from the field.

Declan Duru 6’8 Forward Germany 2007 Born Real Madrid Highlights

Duru has been on draft twitter radar for a few years now. He’s roughly the same size and build as when he first entered the scene, so this is probably where he ends up in terms of height. He has good length and showed this by having the most rebounds (9.9) and steals (3.7) in Skopje. Offensively, he’s still very limited. He tried to handle it as a point forward but averaged 4.4 turnovers to 3.3 assists. On pick and rolls he can dunk it hard when he has space and can lay-in around the basket. He did not demonstrate any outside shooting ability going (20/35) from the free throw line and 0/15 from three. Averaged 12 points per game.

Mathieu Grujicic  6’5 SG/SF Germany 2007 Born Alba Berlin

Grujicic is an interesting player as he can play as an adult for Germany (mother), Serbia (father), or France (place of birth). A shooter, he showed one of the prettiest shooting strokes at the event, shooting 40% (12/30) from three and 72% from the charity stripe. A very heady player who can anticipate plays both on offense and on defense, he averaged 2.4 steals. He lacks the ideal athleticism for the top level but shooting has always become a great equalizer. Averaged 14.4 points per game.

Jayden Hodge 6’5 SG/SF Belgium 2007 Born St Rose HS Highlights

The younger brother of class of 2024 Matt Hodge, Jayden Hodge played a little out of position for a Belgium team that was desperate in athleticism and strength. Hodge played mostly both forward positions ending up the second leading scorer of the event at 17.4 points per game. He showed good athleticism and scoring prowess around the rim but needs to continue to work on his handles and shoot it better from the outside the key and improve from the free throw line  (12/30). Defensively he demonstrated his athleticism, averaging 2.9 steals per game and 8.7 rebounds which were both top 5 for the event.

Kaan Onat  6’5 CG Turkey 2007 Born Anadolu Efes

Onat averaged 15.4 points per game and displayed a strong will to get to the cup and use his long frame to create contact and finish plays off. He’s a very fast break oriented player who created offensive opportunities with his 2.9 steals per game, getting his hands in the passing lanes to create chaos. A good rebounder for a guard at 6.4 per game, he enjoys the physicality of that aspect of the game. As a lead guard he will need to work on cutting down on turnovers and must improve his shooting. Both at this event and at ANGT in the Spring, he shot poorly from the line and from three. He went an abysmal 1/29 from three at Skopje while going 29/45 from the free throw line.

Ian Platteeuw 6’11 C Spain 2007 Born Joventut Badalona

Platteeuw, the Spanish starting center, showed good post footwork and passing ability both in the low post and from the high post. He used his height and length to average 1.1 blocks and 1.3 steals per game. Needs to add strength and keep the ball high in the post and continue to work on his free throw shooting. Has a little more time to let his body mature at 6’11 than some of the other prospects on this list.  Averaged 7.4 points, 6.7 rebounds and had 16 assists to 10 turnovers for the tournament.

Davi Remagen 6’2 PG Germany 2007 Born RheinStars Köln

Remagen showed some speed and athleticism as the point guard for Germany. Averaged 14.4 points per game but his shooting numbers need work primarily because he took as many 3 pointers as 2 pointers while going an inefficient 11/43 from three. His speed helped him get his hands on the ball, leading him to average 2.1 steals per game for the event. Needs to continue to work on his range and also not settle for long distance shots, especially when he has the speed and handles to get around opponents.

Jahel Trefle 6’9 Power Forward/ Center 2007 Born Pau Orthez

Trefle, at 6’9 is an undersized bigman that has long arms and good agility, in particular in his lateral movements defensively. He averaged 8.2 points, 5.2 rebounds 1.2 steals and 1 block per game in 22 minutes. He currently shoots primarily inside the key going 13/18. One of the hindrances as a prospect is his one step or no step vertical is less than ideal as he lays balls in at this level which probably would get blocked at the top level. Yet intriguing enough to see if he can develop some range and if he can gain some vertical power as his body matures because his wingspan and lateral movements are quite good for this level.


Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.