By JC Ruiz
Georgios Kalaitzakis is a 6-foot-7 point guard with great size and an excellent ability to pass the ball. He has a great feel for where his teammates are on the floor and gets them the ball in spots in which they are comfortable. The Greek point guard is a smooth player with a good first step and a strong ability to finish in traffic. He is a good defensive rebounder able to run the fast the break as the facilitator and take it coast to coast. He is an unorthodox shooter so he must work on correcting his form. The 1999 born prospect is a good defensive player because of his athleticism and his desire, and can defend multiple positions. Overall, certainly one of the most complete and intriguing guards of his generation in Europe.
Issuf Sanon. The Ukraine combo guard was one of the surprises of the Championship. A scorer in every sense of the word. He combines a quick first step with a variety of nice moves off the dribble. The 1999 born prospect finishes well at the rim and is not afraid to go up in traffic or through contact. His impressively long strides also come to play in the half court, where he can catch from the arch and get all the way to the rim off of one dribble. Sanon showed potential to be dangerous as a transition player as well. He has great extension when finishing at the rim. He has good instincts as a rebounder. The Ukrainian guard is also a solid three point shooter but he must improve upon his three-point shot for the next level. Overall, his powerful legs allow him attack the rim to score, assist, or get an advantage.
Sani Campara was one the most fun to watch and clutch players of the tournament. He gave the business to all of his defenders trying to stop him. His natural feel for the game is outstanding and he gets by defenders like a knife through butter. He was able to beat France by scoring 35 points, most of which came in key moments. A great three point shooter. Although he doesn’t have a great body, he is strong and knows how to handle contact, which is how he scores so much in the paint. Campara is not a high level athlete, but he knows how to use both hands. Overall he has great instincts as a scorer and solid passing skills as well.
“Another European Championship behind me. I am very proud of my team . We had many problems but we managed to stay in division A . 3 or 4 very important players didn’t play for us and I think we (still) did a very good job . I would like to thank my teammates for my individual award. I received it only because they belived in me. Speaking about my goals , I want to work hard, improve my game and to go to a team where I will play on a high level”. Campara told NBADraft.net.
Mikael Jantunen was one of the biggest revelations of the FIBA U18 European Championship 2017, with a unique combination of size and skill. He has the ability to play both forward positions. He can go to work in the post, especially against smaller and weaker defenders. He handles the ball with ease, and has a nice mix of change of pace and change of direction moves. He can read the help defense and make good passes and finish above the rim. Defensively he has very good lateral movement and has a good feel for rebounding. Jantunen can defend multiple positions due to his size. Overall, The 2000 born player is capable of playing a number of positions thanks to his size and ability to handle the ball.
“It’s been great playing against the top players from Europe. As a team we didn’t get the result we wanted but its been a great experience playing alongside my teammates in Slovakia”. Jantunen told us.
Filip Petrusev was one of the more intriguing players to watch in Bratislava after he committed to Montverde Academy one month ago. The Serbian looks more comfortable facing up and making mid-range shots and shots well behind the arch, although he also possesses good footwork in the post. Petrusev has a good touch around the basket. He can put the ball on the floor and can even start the break or complete a coast to coast if the right opportunity comes up. A solid rebounder. He goes after the ball on both ends, and although his positioning could improve, he’s got natural rebounding abilities. Overall, Petrusev is a versatile power forward with a high basketball IQ.
"The tournament went well, awesome experience, I think I did my role good, everybody contributed to teams victory. We all had to sacrifice some of our personal interests and accept the given role, we all did it and, I think, thats why we ended up winning it all" Petrusev told us.
Regip Atar was the most dominant center in the FIBA U18 European Championship due his combination of size, mobility and body control around the basket. The Turkish prospect is able to make plays on both ends of the floor thanks to his length and his energy. He was also one of the most fouled players of the tournament. Players were whistled for fouls on the Turkish bigman 5.7 times per game. Atar showed good rebounding skills, good activity level and always boxed out when shots went up. He was an effective defender against post-up situations
Marko Pecarski Although he is a little bit undersized for the center position in the NBA, Pecarski is a tremendous basketball player who knows how to put points on the board. The 2000 born prospect possesses great touch, which leads him to finish well around the basket. He is able to finish shooting over both shoulders but his favorite move is going over his right shoulder. He is an excellent mid range shooter and good three point shooter for this position. His basketball IQ is above average for a center. He is not an elite athlete. However, he is one of the best rebounders of his generation in Europe. Relentless on both ends of the floor.
Maros Zeleznak was the best Slovak player over the tournament. The 1999 born center is attending Get Better Academy in Prague coached by former Butler player Julian Betko, one of the best individual coaches in Europe. Zeleznak’s post game is solid, using good foot work and and providing a solid target for post entry passes. He shows a solid understanding of the basics. The Slovak big has the size and versatility to play either the 4 or 5 positions. He uses his size well to blanket opponents. Zeleznak is a very good rebounder, who is not afraid to bang bodies.
Although Marko Simonovic is not an elite athlete, he can run the floor well in transition. The Montenegrin understands how to establish position and knows how to use his body, never rushes his moves and plays with great pace and patience. The 1999 born prospect is an adequate scorer in the low post, as he shows good footwork. He is a good mid-range shooter and very good three point shooter for this position. Defensively, his length and athleticism allow him to block and alter many shots. He also has solid defensive instincts and is a capable shot blocker. Simonovic is also is a very good defensive rebounder.
Long Term Prospects:Olivier Sarr
His first year is not going to be easy in the NCAA but Wake Forest added a player with an amazing wingspan combined with a skinny but athletic frame. His mobility makes him difficult to guard for opposing bigmen, especially in pick and roll situations.Tomas Pavelka
Another talented yet unproven big man is young, Pavelka. On the defensive end of the court his skills are off the chart. Pavelka has the size and length to lock down bigger opponents in the paint.Balsa Koprivica
Although he didn’t play enough he showed excellent touch around the basket and good feel for the game. Koprivica’s combination of size and skill makes him one of the most intriguing prospects in Fiba U18 European Championship.
Nikola Miskovic. His clutch performances in the Playoffs helped him to earn the MVP award. The Serbian can shoot the ball well from the perimeter.
Sergi Martinez led Spain to the final. He’s a versatile Forward who plays with a big heart. Gutsy player.
Arnas Velicka Although he has not progressed much from last season. He is still one of the best PGs in Europe.