From March 15th to 17th the Serbian city of Valjevo held the second edition of Luka Stancic tournament, with some of the best youth Balkan teams (Partizan Belgrade, Olimpja Ljubljana, KK Split, Cedevita Zagreb). The winner was Partizan Belgrade in the final against Olimpja Ljubljana, after a close and emotional game. Here it is a list of the prospects that showed the most potential from an NBA perspective.
Dragan Bender (1997, 6’10”, SF/PF, KK Split, Croatia)
Standing 6’10” he has a great combination of height and mobility that makes him a mismatch nightmare at this level of competition. He’s a bit skinny, but his structure is solid and he will put on weight, especially in the upper body, quite easily. He has amazing passing skills and instincts for his size and position, he plays as offensive facilitator of his team, showing great court vision. He’s able to create from the dribble, for himself and the teammates, with some glimpses of pure talent, especially assists. Anyway his ball handling skills need improvement, adding consistency and confidence to his fundamentals. He has also good spacing and game comprehension, also showing a great attitude on the defensive side. He’s a solid rebounder and a good shot blocker, with timing. He needs to work on his shot, especially the mechanics, which is currently rather weak. He also needs to improve his post game, in order to better exploit mismatches that his height cangenerate against other small forwards.
Bender is a prospect with huge ceiling, at 16 years old his development is yet to be completed, and his mobility could allow him to become even better than Dario Saric.
Milos Glisic (1998, 6’8”, SF/PF, Partizan Belgrade, Serbia)
Glisic was really solid throughout all the tournament, playing with the same maturity and confidence that he showed during NJIT in Belgrade three weeks ago. He has a good height for the role and he could grew up since he’s still in the development age. Even if he’s skinny and a bit lanky he has already a solid structure on which he could build some pounds of muscles. He’s smooth and fluid running the floor, showing a good mobility. He has a great feel for the game and sense of position, being always in the right position at the right moment. He can easily switch between the two forward roles, with a great shot mechanics based on a quick and smooth release. His shot is really consistent in catch and shoot situations, exploiting blocks and cuts thanks to his good spacing. He needs to improve his ball handling skills and his footwork if he wants to finish his evolution as a backcourt player. This aspects could allow him to be more effective in creating from the dribble, where he currently struggles the most.
Andrej Magdevski (1996, 6’3”, PG, Partizan Belgrade, Macedonia)
He was named the MVP of the tournament after three solid performances and an astonishing final game against Ljubljana. He’s the star of Macedonia youth national teams averaging 20.1 points 8.0 rebounds and 3.5 this summer with U16 national team. He’s a crafty combo guard with a good structure and height. He’s really mature, but more instinctive as a player, he should work also on his playmaking skills. In fact most of his assists come from his ability to create space beating the defenders, thanks to his lighting first step. He’s really effective attacking the basket, showing the ability to conclude in multiple ways and even in situations of limited balance, often drawing fouls. His midrange game is solid, also with a reliable floater. Despite being a clutch player, he needs to work on his shot, which lacks consistency especially outside three points line, starting from the dribble. Plus he needs to improve on the defensive side, putting more effort and energy.
Vasilije Vucetic (1996, 6’9”, PF/C, Olimpja Ljubljana, Serbia)
Polished big man with great ceiling since his physical development is yet to be completed. His body is still not defined at all from the muscular standpoint, looking like a “big baby”. Nevertheless he’s tough and he stands contacts quite effectively. Standing 6’9” he’s a bit undersized for the role, but he will probably grow a couple of inches in the next years (his older brother Sergej is a freshman at Nebraska and stands 7’1”), plus he has long arms and big hands. He has an old school game, with good fundamentals a great use of pivot foot and shooting range. His post game is already developed, with some solid movements back to the basket, plus he has a reliable jump shot, with a good range. He’s also a good rebounder, with great sense of position. He’s able to put the ball on the floor effectively and he has also great instincts as a passer. Vucetic is really a gifted prospect with a good potential, especially if he’ll develop from the physical standpoint, working on his conditioning and speed.
Markus Loncar (1996, 6’11”, C, Cedevita Zagreb, Croatia)
Long and athletic center with good mobility and huge hands. He has a good physical basis, but he could work on his explosiveness and lateral speed. His hands are soft and he can conclude with a reliable hook shot both using left or right. He has a huge potential, but he needs to add consistency to his game and to work on the conditioning, an aspects that is currently limiting him. He’s not selfish at all, he always looks to open the court starting from post position, but he need to work on his game comprehension, since sometimes he causes turnovers due to interceptions. Plus his ball handling skills and ball control are still weak, and sometimes he tends to have early foul troubles. On the defensive side he has good intimidation sklls, thanks to his mobility and physical strength. Definitely an intriguing prospect, who needs to add fluidity and confidence to his game.
Federico Mussini (1996, 6’0”, PG, Reggio Emilia, Italy)
Mussini is a skinny and short combo guard standing 5’11”, with astonishing explosiveness, speed and feel for the game. His ball handling is amazing, allowing him to basically beat the defender in any situation, anyway he’s not a pass first point guard, due to his developed scoring instinct. His midrange game is well developed, especially the fade away and step back jumper, exploiting his lighting release. He also has a reliable three point shot. His body is really skinny for a senior level of competition, in fact the key point of his development will be the way in which he will develop a muscular basis, trying not to lose speed. He led the tournament in scoring with almost 30 points per game.
Haris Cucovic (1998, 6’8”, PF, Olimpja Ljubljana, Serbia)
Lanky power forward with long arms, big hands and a solid physical basis. He has amazing mobility, running the floor effectively during transition, even if he should work on his posture. He has great basketball IQ and feel for the game, reading correctly lots of different situations. Even his technical basis is good, he’s able to put the ball on the floor and to beat the defenders with both hands, ability that shows also when he concludes to the basket with the hook shot starting from post position. He has also a good attitude , with a blue collar style of game. His main flaw is the shot, he absolutely needs to work on it since it’s totally not consistent.
Alexandar Lazic (1996, 6’7”, SF, Olimpja Ljubljana, Bosnia Herzegovina)
Athletic forward with amazing physical skills, great mobility and leaping ability on a potential NBA body. He uses his gifts mostly on the defensive side, showing good attitude and intensity, with good instinct for the steal. On the offensive side he has some struggles, first is the lack of consistency on the shot, even if his mechanics has a good basis he should improve the selection and the release. This leads to his poor game comprehension, he’s really intense but sometimes he tends to lose focus generating turnovers. Plus he absolutely needs to work on his ball handling gaining more confidence and fluidity. He’s more effective in off the ball situations, especially in catch ad shot or after an offensive rebound. A prospect with huge ceiling that needs to work hard on the technical standpoint.