From February 22nd to 24th Red Star Belgrade held the fourth and final qualification tournament (Rome, Siaulai and L’Hospitalet were the other venues), of the Nike Junior International Tournament. The winner was the home team Red Star, winning the final game against Mega Vizura, after having dominated the entire tournament. Here it is a list of the prospects that showed the biggest potential, with most of the talent concentrated within the top four teams.
Dusan Ristic (1995, 6’11”, C, Red Star Belgrade, Serbia)
Dusan Ristic was named MVP of the tournament, averaging 18.6 points and 9.4 rebounds. Standing 6’11” he has long arms and big hands, with a skinny structure and a high center of gravity. He’s not too much of an athlete lacking great leaping abilities and he tends to struggle against stronger opponents, even when shorter than him. He has great mobility, being effective running the floor during primary and secondary transitions and in Pick and Roll situations. He’s really polished from the technical standpoint, with good post moves and use of pivot feet, and the ability to finish using the baseline or in the middle of the area. His favorite conclusion is a reliable hook shot, which he’s able to execute with both hands. He definitely has soft hands, with a good range from 16-17 feet. Starting from the post position he has good court vision and great passing abilities, often finding teammates from the perimeter able to exploit the spaces that the double teams on him create. On the defensive side he shows good sense of position and intimidation skills, but despite the stats he could be a more effective rebounder. His main shortcoming is the lack of toughness, his game is not yet intense and this could hinder his potential when he faces bigger and stronger opponents. Plus he absolutely needs to bulk up his upper body, in order to help counter his lack of athleticism.
Damien Inglis (1995, 6’7”, SG/SF, INSEP, France)
Point forward with astonishing physical skills, great athleticism and speed. He’s already a grown man from the muscular standpoint, especially in the upper body, plus he has big and strong hands. Thanks to his structure he has the ability to withstand contacts and attack the basket without struggles at the youth level, often generating “and 1” opportunities. He often shifts to the point guard position during the offense, in fact he tends to create with the ball in his hands, sometimes generating mismatch situations taking his defender into the post. He loves to attack the basket in ISO situations, exploisting his physical skills and his speed, with a slasher style of game. His passing instincts are good, he finds teammates quite effectively when the defense collapses on him, but his game comprehension and his playmaking skills are rather raw. He’s definitely an intense player, he plays with energy giving an effective contribution in various aspects of the game, he’s also a great rebounder for his position. On the defensive side he puts great pressure on the defender, using his physical presence. His main shortcoming is the poor shooting, especially from outside the three point line. This is a flaw that could really limit his overall potential, since is game is based on the physical domination. When the level of the opponents will increase his effectiveness on the court, especially on the offensive side, could be limited. He averaged 19 points, 8.5 rebounds and 7.3 assists during the tournament, but he suffered a knee injury during the semifinal game.
Milos Glisic (1998, 6’7”, SF, Partizan Belgrade, Serbia)
Despite being the youngest player on the court, Milos Glisic is probably the prospect with the biggest upside and potential of the enitre tournament. Standing 6’7” at 14 years old, he’s still a kid, but he has already a solid structure on which to build pounds of muscles. He’s definitely not scared of contact, even if sometimes he struggles against older opponents. He has to work on his lateral speed and footwork, and also on his posture while running the floor. He’s really mature and fearless, he guarded Damien Inglis quite effectively, despite weighing at least 20 pounds less than the French forward. He has great spacing and sense of position, with amazing game comprehension and basketball IQ. His shot mechanics are fluid, he could work on the release but his outside shot is already reliable. He’s always active on the floor, following the ball in order to always get the best position. Probably the best prospect in Europe of his class for the time being.
Milenko Veljkovic (1995, 7’0”, C, Mega Vizura Belgrade, Serbia)
Old school lanky center with long arms and big hands, with average mobility and lacking excellent footwork. He has really good hands, with the ability to receive the ball in post position and to conclude with a reliable hook shot. His shooting range is good also from midrange, but he’s more effective in the painted area, when he can exploit his height and use of the pivot foot. His good sense of position makes him a reliable rebounder, compensating his lack of coordination. He has a rather limited ceiling, but his size, his solidity and good fundamentals could make him a solid player of European caliber.
Marko Tejic (1995, 6’10”, C, Red Star Belgrade, Serbia)
Athletic and mobile big man with a solid structure and a well developed body from the muscular standpoint. He’s really active and intense on the floor, exploiting his athletic abilities to put a concrete intimidation on the defensive end, plus his mobility allows him to guard both centers and power forwards. Offensively he works mostly in the painted area, with great energy and instincts for the offensive rebound. His game is based facing the basket, he needs to develop some reliable post moves and to enlarge his shooting range. If he works on this technical aspects he could become even better than Dusan Ristic in his professional career.
Stephane Gombauld (1997, 6’7”, PF, INSEP, France)
Power forward with long arms and good body structure, even if he’s a bit undesized and he can work on his muscular definition. He’s really smooth and fluid running the floor, where he puts great energy, playing with intensity especially under the boards. He’s really mobile, and he has great instincts especially as offensive rebounder, allowing lots of second opportunities to his team. He plays naturally, with a great feel for the game and sense of position. Technically he’s still raw, since he’s a bit undersized he should work on his ball handling and shooting range, plus he needs to work on his post game. Definitely a prospect with a good ceiling that needs to work on fundamentals in order to evolve as a stretch forward.
Rade Zagorac (1995, 6’7”, SG, Mega Vizura Belgrade, Serbia)
Skinny and tall guard with amazing wingspan for the role and big hands. He’s not excessively fast on the court, but he’s able to effectively put the ball on the floor off the dribble. His catch and shoot is reliable, and more effective than attacking the basket since his lack of physical abilities. His passing skills and game comprehension are above average, he exploits his height to pass over defenders, putting forth a solid effort in the entire offensive game of his team. His main shortcomings are physical, he struggles with quicker opponents using hands on defense, plus he absolutely needs to bulk up. Definitely a prospect with a high ceiling and upside worth tracking.
Brano Dukanovic (1995, 6’5”, SG, Red Star Belgrade, Serbia)
Solid shooting guard with elite defensive skills. Standing 6’5” his height is suitable for the role, even if his skinny body shows the need to bulk up. His athletic abilities are rather good, with the capability to conclude above the rim even in situations of difficult balance, often drawing contacts. He’s definitely quick running the court, but he needs to improve his ball handling skills, especially with the left hand. On the defensive side he’s a continuous threat for his opponents thanks to his hands and attitude. He has also good passing skills and basketball IQ, with a good feeling for the game and ability to read different situations. His main shortcoming is his poor shooting, he definitely needs to add consistency to his shot.
Dusan Ranitovic (1995, 6’7”, SF, Partizan Belgrade, Serbia)
Stretch forward with a skinny but solid frame and long arms. He has poor lateral speed, especially on the defensive side, he tends to struggle against quicker small forwards. He has a good first step for the role, even if he could work on his dribble. He has a great ability to draw contact, thanks to his athleticism and physical solidity. Most of his game is based on the painted area, he could develop a more reliable jump shot in order to enrich his offensive repertoire. He’s really effective protecting the rim, with a good ability to block shots. His has a good defensive attitude, but this sometimes causes early fouls due to the lack of footwork, he uses his hands too much.
Nikola Rebic (1995, 6’2”, PG, Red Star Belgrade, Serbia)
Crafty point guard with a solid body structure, especially in the upper body. He has a lighting first step that allows him to beat most opponents off the dribble with the ability to get to the basket drawing contact and fouls. He’s also really effective in the transition game, thanks to his speed and coordination. He lacks elite playmaking skills, most of his assists generate from his ability to beat defenders, plus he needs to improve lateral vision in pick and roll situations. His game is based on his rapidity but his shot lacks consistency, he needs to work on his mechanics, especially in catch and shoot situations outside the three point line.