From July 16th to July 24th, Helsinki, Finland hosted the FIBA U20 European championships. Spain clinched gold over a gutsy Lithuanian team, which surprisingly bested favorite Turkey in the semi-final. Here are our top prospects from the competition.
1) Lauri Markkanen (’97, 6-11, PF, Finland)
Despite not finishing the event with gold, Markkanen was without a doubt the clear MVP of the competition, with his impressive performances and eye popping statistics: 24.9 ppg, 8.6 rpg, 40% from three, and 50% from the field. As a 6-11 power forward, he has impressive mobility and range, showing multi-dimensional skills with the ability to open the floor with shooting range. Keep in mind he did this facing players a year older than him. His skills make him a perfect fit in the modern game and it will be interesting to see how he fits into the NCAA level, as he’ll be challenged by tougher and more athletic opponents. His biggest limitation is his lack of explosiveness and athleticism, but he enters Arizona with confidence and momentum after such a dominant performance at the U20 Euros.
2) Kostja Mushidi (’98, 6-5, PG, Germany)
Mushidi confirmed his standing in Mannheim finishing the competition with solid numbers, despite being two years under age. His strength and solid structure, combined with solid instincts playing the passing lanes make him a tremendous defender, as well as for the pro level. He’s definitely not a pass first PG, but he can play the role of facilitator and can count on his size and scoring instincts. He shot 40% from the field, 33% from three, showing an intriguing margin to develop. It will be interesting to see him playing at Mega Vizura next season, in an environment specifically created to nurture young talent. He put up 8.4 pt 2.6 rb 1.1 during the competition, with a high game of 26 points against Lithuania in a winning effort.
3) Omer Yurtseven (’98, 6-11, PF, Turkey)
Like Mushidi, Yursteven played the competition 2 years under requisite age with a primary role for a team that was favored to win the gold medal. The result was quite promising, even if there’s still room for improvement, especially in terms of consistency and shooting range. He showed his coordination and footwork, with a back to the basket repertoire. He’s definitely an effective finisher (with numerous dunks during the competition) in the painted area, but he has to improve his jumper, since his release is rather slow, making him easily contestable. On the defensive end he’s also able to utilize his mobility and size, as a solid intimidator. It will be interesting to see his development in Raleigh, facing NCAA level speed and athleticism. He closed out the competition with averages of 10.4 ppg, 5.6 rpg, 60% from the field and 60% from free throw line.
4) Marc Garcia (’96, 6-6, SG, Spain)
Garcia bounced back from a tough period before his championship, after having spent two disappointing seasons between Manresa in ACB and Barcellona team B in LEB Gold. Playing a key role – with the MVP trophy – for the winning team is surely a big relief for him, and an encouraging starting point for next season, where he’ll play in ACB for Seville. Garcia was consistent throughout the tournament, utilizing his shooting skills and range (45% from three point during the competition), even if his lack of elite explosiveness and strength are limiting his overall effectiveness as a scorer. He has solid size for the role, and with his remarkable wingspan he’s also an effective rebounder as a backcourt player. He closed out the competition at 14.9 ppg and 4.3 rpg.
5) Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk (’97, 6-8, SG, Ukraine)
The first memory that comes to mind when considering Svi is his performance during the 2013 U16 European championships, the event in which he made a name for himself amongst the passionate internet basketball community. Since that event, he seems much less explosive and creative, in his at Kansas. He has bulked up his upper body, but it seems to have slowed him down, limiting his overall effectiveness in the offensive side. He’s still possesses talent, with glimpses of creativity, especially as a passer, but his appeal is definitely less compared to a couple seasons ago. He concluded the competition in Helsinki with 14.9 ppg, 5.6 rpg, 2.7 apg, but at less than 40% from the field and below 19% from behind the three point line.
6) Vanja Marinkovic (’97, 6-7, SG, Serbia)
Serbia was quite disappointing as a team, since they lost in the round of 16, but Marinkovic confirmed himself as one of the names to track in upcoming NBA drafts. As a 6-7 SG, he has remarkable size for the role, with an impressive wingspan as well. During the competition he lacked consistency from three point and in general (40% from the field, 33% from three), but he had some flashes, confirming all his talent and potential as a sharp shooter. His biggest limitation is related to the lack of the ability to properly create shots from off the dribble, mostly relying on screens and cuts to get good looks. Nevertheless in today’s NBA he might find a role as a specialist, given his size and game comprehension. He closed out the competition at 10.9 ppg and 5.4 rpg.
7) Diego Flaccadori (’96, 6-6, SG, Italy)
Flaccadori was definitely the leader of the Italian team, which came in 5th place due to some inconsistent performances. Flaccadori was definitely Italy’s most consistent player, giving a solid contribution basically in every aspect of the game: 16.7 ppg, and 5.1 rpg over the competition. The years spent in Trento getting consistent minutes playing in the first division definitely improved his confidence and self-awareness, improving him as an overall offensive player and facilitator. He has always been effective in attacking the basket, but during the competition he also was consistent from a shooting perspective, closing with 45% from 3 point and 50% from the field.