Eurobasket Madrid--2007 European Championship Preview

Eurobasket Madrid--2007 European Championship Preview
Sep 03, 2007, 01:28 am
NBA scouts hoping to hop on a short flight to Madrid and find an abundance of draftable prospects to scout will be sorely disappointed, as Europe’s finest decided to leave the kids at home as they embark on yet another Eurobasket tournament.

Digging deep into the final rosters now available to us, we find a very select number of draft prospects, as most of the big names were either cut (Emir Preldzic), got injured (Danilo Gallinari), or just flat out weren’t considered good or experienced enough to play at this level yet (Nicolas Batum, Omri Casspi, others). So which prospects did survive the cuts? Who’s the favorite to win the entire thing? Let’s take a look…and also consider some non-draft eligible internationals that might be worth keeping an eye on.


Group A


Lior Eliyahu F 2.03 09.09.1985 Tel Aviv (ISR) Maccabi Tel Aviv

Yaniv Green F 2.06 16.05.1980 Tel Aviv (ISR) CSKA Samara

Dror Hagag PG 1.80 31.12.1978 Beer Yakov (ISR) Hapoel Jerusalem

Yotam Halperin G 1.96 24.01.1984 Tel-Aviv (ISR) Maccabi Tel Aviv

Ido Kozikaro F 2.02 08.01.1978 Zefat (ISR) Hapoel Nahariya

Erez Marckovich C 2.08 10.07.1978 Eilat (ISR) Hapoel Jerusalem

Matan Naor F 1.94 03.11.1980 Rehovot (ISR) Hapoel Nahariya

Guy Pniny F 2.01 04.09.1983 Tel Aviv (ISR) Hapoel Jerusalem

Jeron Roberts G/F 1.94 11.10.1976 CA (USA) MyGuide Amsterdam

Moran Roth PG 1.86 10.11.1982 Rehovot Maccabi Ramat Gan

Amit Tamir C 2.10 02.12.1979 Jerusalem (ISR) AEL

Meir Tapiro G 1.92 28.03.1975 Haifa (ISR) Bnei Hasharon

-Israel easily could have had brought along a very intriguing prospect by the name of Omri Casspi had they chose to…but for some reason they decided against it.

-Both Eliyahu and Halperin were drafted last year in the second round, and their respective teams will likely be in Spain to monitor their progress. Halperin had a huge summer helping Israel through the “last chance Tournament” on the way to sealing the final berth for the Eurobasket.

-The Israelis would be ecstatic to win one of their three games and move on to the next round.


Nemanja Aleksandrov F 2.09 10.04.1987 Beograd (SRB) Red Star Belgrade

Branko Cvetkovic F 2.00 05.03.1984 Gracanica (BIH) Akasvayu Girona

Zoran Erceg F/C 2.11 11.01.1985 Pakrac (CRO) FMP Zeleznik

Milan Gurovic F 2.04 17.06.1975 Novi Sad (SRB) Prokom Trefl Sopot

Marko Jaric G 1.98 12.10.1978 Belgrade (SRB) Minnesota Timberwolves

Dragan Labovic F 2.05 20.04.1987 Prokuplje (SRB) FMP Zeleznik

Stefan Markovic G 1.91 25.04.1988 Belgrade (SRB) Hemofarm

Darko Milicic C 2.12 20.06.1985 Novi Sad (SRB) Memphis Grizzlies

Vuk Radivojevic G 1.97 30.07.1983 Beograd (SRB) Alta Gestion Fuenla.

Milos Teodosic G 1.95 19.03.1987 Valjevo (SRB) FMP Zeleznik

Milenko Tepic F 1.98 27.02.1987 Novi Sad (SRB) Partizan Belgrade

Novica Velickovic F/C 2.05 05.10.1986 Beograd (SRB) Partizan Belgrade

-Obviously the most intriguing roster as NBA scouts are concerned, and not by a small margin, the Serbs took the very unconservative step of inviting no less than 8 players who aged 22 or younger, including the youngest player in the tournament in 19-year old Stefan Markovic. Realizing that they don’t have much of a chance of competing for medals with the type of talent they’ve been forced to leave at home, the Serbian federation instead decided to build for the future with what will become the backbone of their national team for years to come.

-Consider just the current and former Serbian NBA players who didn’t make it… Peja Stojakovic, Nenad Krstic, Sasha Pavlovic, Vladimir Radmanovic, Mile Ilic, Kosta Perovic…Igor Rakocevic, Zeljko Rebraca, Zarko Cabarkapa, Peja Drobnjak,draft pick Milos Vujanic…and you begin to realize how deep the pool of talent extends, but also how much it needs to be refreshed by these incoming generations that have been incredibly successful at every stage of youth basketball.

-If we had to pick one player to focus on from an NBA draft perspective (not only for this team, but maybe from the entire tournament now that Gallinari is gone), it would probably be Nemanja Aleksandrov…not only is he a skilled 7-footer who showed incredible potential as a teenager before tearing his ACL, but he will also likely see extended playing time for this Serbia team.

-Even if things certainly could look better for the Serbians, a core of Marko Jaric and Milan Gurovic at the guard spots and Darko Milicic up front is already way better than at least half of teams here have to start with. A little “us against the world” camaraderie mixed in a youngster or two stepping up at the right time could easily be enough to push Serbia into the quarterfinals.


Sergey Bykov G 1.90 26.02.1983 Novodvinsk (RUS) Dynamo Moscow

Jon Robert Holden G 1.84 10.08.1976 Pittsburgh, PA (USA) CSKA Moscow

Victor Khryapa F 2.03 03.08.1982 Kiev (UKR) Chicago Bulls

Andrei Kirilenko F 2.09 18.02.1981 Izevsk (RUS) Utah Jazz

Sergey Monya F 2.05 15.04.1983 Saratov (RUS) Dynamo Moscow

Nikita Morgunov F 2.10 29.06.1975 Novokuznetsk Triumph Lyubertsy

Nikolai Padius G 1.95 01.09.1980 St.Petersbourg (RUS) Unics Kazan

Zakhar Pashutin G 1.96 03.05.1974 Sochi (RUS) CSKA Moscow

Anton Ponkrashov F 1.98 23.04.1986 St. Petersburg (RUS) Khimki

Petr Samoylenko G 1.87 07.02.1977 Outchkoudouk (UZB) Dynamo Moscow

Aleksey Savrasenko C 2.17 28.02.1979 Krasnodar (RUS) CSKA Moscow

Nikita Shabalkin PF 2.04 09.10.1986 RSO-Alania (RUS) Khimki

-David Blatt’s squad has two players who are still draft eligible in Anton Ponkrashov and Nikita Shabalkin, both of whom are 2nd round draft prospects for this upcoming year. Either one could be useful for the Russians off the bench—particularly Ponkrashov who fills a void on this squad with both his ball-handling and playmaking ability. Shabalkin should also be able to see minutes as well, as Russia is fairly thin up front

-The Russians are one of the biggest wildcards of this tournament, as they have two current NBA players (Kirilenko and Khryapa) coming off average seasons, one former NBA player (Monya) coming off an awful one, an American point guard (Holden) who is either brilliant or terrible, but never in between, and a lot of question marks besides that.

-Kirilenko is the type of long, active, athletic presence who can change a game at any given moment with his many versatile skills—but he’s not technically skilled enough to be a legitimate go-to option offensively when his team needs a basket. Therefore, a lot will boil down to how well American coach David Blatt can get his players to buy into his up-tempo system and share the ball between them as a unit.


Ioannis Bourousis C 2.15 17.11.1983 Karditsa (GRE) Olympiacos

Nikolaos Chatzivrettas G 1.95 26.05.1977 Thessaloniki (GRE) Panathinaikos

Dimitrios Diamantidis G 1.96 06.05.1980 Kozani (GRE) Panathinaikos

Michail Kakiouzis F 2.04 29.11.1976 Athens (GRE) Cajasol Seville

Dimosthenis Ntikoudis F/C 2.05 24.06.1977 Larissa (GRE) Panathinaikos

Lazaros Papadopoulos C 2.10 03.06.1980 Krasnodar (RUS) Real Madrid

Theodoros Papaloukas G 2.00 08.05.1977 Athens (GRE) CSKA Moscow

Michalis Pelekanos SF 1.98 25.05.1981 Korydallos, Athens (GRE) Real Madrid

Vasileios Spanoulis G 1.92 07.08.1982 Larisa (GRE) Panathinaikos

Konstantinos Tsartsaris C 2.05 17.10.1979 Veria (GRE) Panathinaikos

Panagiotis Vasilopoulos F 2.02 08.02.1984 Marousi (GRE) Olympiacos

Nikolaos Zisis G 1.95 16.08.1983 Thessaloniki (GRE) CSKA Moscow

-There isn’t even one NBA player on this roster, but that has a lot more to do with circumstance than this team’s true talent level. Spanoulis just finished what he would probably call a nightmare season from his perspective, while Diamantidis and Papaloukas are clear-cut NBA material if they only felt the urge to prove it by taking a pay cut and crossing the ocean.

-Keep an eye on Yiannis Bouroussis if you get a chance…he’s quietly establishing himself as one of the best big men in Europe these days playing with Olimpiacos. Only 23 years old and having started to play basketball just five years ago, he’s got NBA upside for sure. We wrote about him earlier this summer.

-Besides Spain, the Greeks should be considered the top favorites to come away with the Championship.

Group B


Jorge Coehlo F/C 2.02 18.10.1978 Lisboa (POR) Alimentos Palencia

Paulo Cunha F 1.99 01.08.1980 Vila Nova deGaia (POR) Oporto

Filipe da Silva G 1.93 30.11.1979 Guimaraes (POR) Villa Los Barrios

Elvis Evora C 2.05 04.02.1978 Cabo Verde (POR) Ovarense

Mário-Gil Fernandes G 1.74 25.04.1982 Funchal, Madeira (POR) Plasencia

Joao Gomes F 1.98 05.02.1985 (CPV) Barreirense

Francisco Jordão C 2.00 30.12.1979 Lisbon (POR) Primo Agosto

Miguel Minhava G 1.96 05.11.1983 Lisbon (POR) L Hospitalet

Miguel Miranda F 2.05 09.10.1978 Porto (POR) Ovarense

Sergio Ramos F 2.00 11.12.1975 Lisbon (POR) Inca

Joao Santos F 2.04 15.06.1979 Lisbon (POR) Grupo Capitol Valladolid

Paulo Simao G/F 2.00 27.04.1976 Barreiro (POR) Belenenses

-In what is surely the weakest team at this year’s competition, we find very little to be intrigued by besides swingman Joao Gomes, an athletic 6-6 slasher who just went undrafted this past season in his draft-eligible year.


Andris Biedrins C 2.08 02.04.1986 Riga (LAT) Golden State Warriors

Janis Blums G 1.90 20.04.1982 Saldus (LAT) Eldo Napoli

Kaspars Cipruss F 2.07 18.02.1982 Rezekne (LAT) Ventspils

Raitis Grafs C 2.07 12.06.1981 Riga (LAT) ASK Riga

Uvis Helmanis F 2.03 10.06.1972 Talsi (LAT) Ventspils

Gatis Jahovics F 1.98 11.08.1984 Riga (LAT) ASK Riga

Kristaps Janicenoks F 1.96 14.03.1983 Riga (LAT) Climamio Bolonia

Armands Skele G 1.93 04.09.1983 Riga (LAT) Barons Riga

Raimonds Vaikulis G 1.91 04.02.1980 Preili (LAT) Barons Riga

Sandis Valters G 1.90 31.08.1978 Riga (LAT) ASK Riga

Pavels Veselovs F 2.07 15.07.1983 Riga (LAT) Ventspils

Aigars Vitols G 1.92 15.02.1976 Riga (LAT) Ventspils

-Besides Biedrins, we don’t find many household names on the Latvian roster, and obviously no NBA prospects.

-The Latvians beat Lithuania and Russia in friendly games, but they will likely be considered on a “happy to be here” basis until they show otherwise.


Marko Banic F 2.00 31.08.1984 Zadar (CRO) Bilbao

Stanko Barac C 2.17 13.08.1986 Mostar (BIH) Tau Ceramica

Mario Kasun C 2.15 05.04.1980 Vinkovci (CRO) FC Barcelona

Davor Kus G 1.91 21.07.1978 Rijeka (CRO) Unicaja

Damir Markota F 2.09 26.12.1985 Sarajevo (BIH) Milwaukee Bucks

Zoran Planinic G 1.97 12.09.1982 Mostar (BIH) Tau Ceramica Vitoria

Marko Popovic G 1.85 12.06.1982 Zadar (CRO) Zalgiris Kaunas

Nikola Prkácin F 2.08 15.11.1975 Dubrovnik (CRO) Dynamo Moscow

Marin Rozic F 2.03 14.02.1983 Mostar (BIH) Cibona Zagreb

Mario Stojic G 1.98 06.05.1980 Mannheim (GER) ViveMenorca

Marko Tomas G 1.96 03.01.1985 Koprivnica (CRO) Alta Gestion Fuenla.

Roko-Leni Ukic G 1.95 05.12.1984 Split (CRO) FC Barcelona

-There are plenty of familiar names here for draftniks—Roko-Leni Ukic , Zoran Planinic, Mario Kasun, Marko Tomas, Damir Markota and Stanko Barac to name a few—but only one of them is actually still in the NBA—Markota—even if that appears to be extremely temporary the way things look right now.

-Markota by the way, isn’t letting being the last man on Milwaukee’s bench discourage him from having a little bit of fun…at least according to a quote he gave Croatian newspaper “Nacional” recently . It appears to be Milwaukee’s fault that he’s having so much fun off the court in fact…

"If I had a chance to play, I would not go to the night clubs. In some way it was the team’s fault. When you know that you’re not getting any playing time, you’re not motivated. One or two nights out won't hurt…There is no pressure, nobody is harsh on you if you lose the game, if you play bad. You’re still getting the money. There is no pressure from fans."

After a pause he said: "Hopefully I’ll play more next season. No more fooling around".

-No real stars here on the Croatian team, but this is definitely a nice mix of important European players, who could cause an upset or two if they can gel as a team and finally catch a break from the refs.


Carlos Cabezas G 1.87 14.11.1980 Málaga (ESP) Unicaja Malaga

Rudy Fernandez G 1.96 04.04.1985 Palma (ESP) DKV Joventut

Jorge Garbajosa F 2.07 19.12.1977 Madrid (ESP) Toronto Raptors

Pau Gasol F 2.15 06.07.1980 Barcelona (ESP) Memphis Grizzlies

Marc Gasol C 2.10 29.01.1985 Barcelona (ESP) Akasvayu Girona

Carlos Jiménez F 2.04 10.02.1976 Madrid (ESP) Unicaja Malaga

Alex Mumbru F 2.01 12.06.1979 Barcelona (ESP) Real Madrid

Juan Carlos Navarro G 1.91 13.06.1980 Barcelona (ESP) Memphis Grizzlies

Felipe Reyes F 2.06 16.03.1980 Cordoba (ESP) Real Madrid

Berni Rodriguez F 1.97 07.06.1980 Málaga (ESP) Unicaja Malaga

Sergio Rodriguez PG 1.92 12.06.1986 Tenerife (ESP) Portland Trailblazers

Jose Manuel Calderon G 1.91 28.09.1981 Alicante (ESP) Toronto Raptors

-The favorites in this tournament, not just because of the home-court advantage, the World Championship triumph last summer or the extreme array of talent—the Spaniards somehow managed to get all their stars to show up and will be looking like a well-oiled machine with components playing together since their teens.

-Gasol, Calderon and Navarro are in their prime yes, but how about the unexpected present that fell into their laps with the Raptors agreeing to let Jorge Garbajosa play at the last moment? As if the bookies needed any other reason to make the Spaniards the dominant favorites come away with the title…

-What’s scary is that Spain isn’t about to slow down any time soon, either. Sergio Rodriguez (’86), Marc Gasol (’85), and especially Rudy Fernandez (’85), have gone from prospects to Players, and would be ready to start for most other national teams in this tournament besides Spain. They’ll soon be joined by Ricky Rubio…

-Add in the veteran leadership of Felipe Reyes, Carlos Jiménez and the rest of the crew, and you have virtually a perfect team for international basketball.

Group C

Czech Republic

Lubos Barton G/F 2.02 07.04.1980 Ceská Lípa (CZE) DKV Joventut

Petr Benda C 2.04 25.03.1982 Jihlava (CZE) Nymburk

Pavel Benes G 1.90 17.03.1975 Brno (CZE) Nymburk

Jakub Houška C 2.06 30.07.1982 Most (CZE) Decin

Lukás Kraus PF 2.01 06.05.1984 Ceské Budejovice (CZE) Liberec

Michal Kremen SF 2.00 29.07.1981 Marianske Lazne (CZE) Nymburk

Radek Necas F 2.04 18.07.1980 Brno (CZE) Nymburk

Ladislav Sokolovsky F 2.00 28.07.1977 Prerov (CZE) Nymburk

Ondrej Starosta C 2.15 28.05.1979 Prague (CZE) CAI Zaragoza

Stepán Vrubl PG 1.86 08.06.1976 Ostrava (CZE) A Plus Brno

Jiri Welsch G 1.97 27.01.1980 Pardubice (CZE) Unicaja

Maurice Whitfield G 1.86 29.03.1973 Philadelphia, PA (USA) O. Patras

-Even hardcore European basketball fans will have a hard time recognizing most of the names on this roster, besides Barton and Welsch. NBA-wise there isn’t anything to talk about here, as Welsch was once a mid-first rounder but struggled badly in Spain last year after returning from the US.


Cenk Akyol G 1.93 16.04.1987 Kadiköy (TUR) Efes Pilsen

Ender Arslan G 1.88 13.01.1983 Istanbul (TUR) Efes Pilsen

Engin Atsür G 1.94 02.04.1984 Istanbul (TUR) Benetton Treviso

Hakan Demirel G 1.88 07.05.1986 Erzurum (TUR) Fenerbahce

Semih Erden C 2.11 28.07.1986 Gaziosmanpasa (TUR) Fenerbahce

Kerem Gönlüm F 2.07 22.11.1977 Eskisehir (TUR) Efes Pilsen

Ersan Ilyasova F 2.05 15.05.1987 Eskisehir (TUR) FC Barcelona

Emal Kuqo Kurtoglu F 2.07 12.02.1980 Korçë (ALB) Efes Pilsen

Ibrahim Kutluay G 1.98 07.01.1974 Üsküdar, Istanbul (TUR) Fenerbahce

Mehmet Okur F 2.10 26.05.1979 Yalova (TUR) Utah Jazz

Kaya Peker C 2.07 02.08.1980 Ankara (TUR) TAU Ceramica

Hidayet Türkoglu F 2.03 19.03.1979 Istanbul (TUR) Orlando Magic

-Another somewhat young squad, with 4 players under the age of 21, but only one of which (Semi Erden) is still draft eligible. Erden is actually a guy that needs to be scouted in the rare chance that he sees minutes (which will be tough behind Okur, Kuqo, Peker and Gonlum), as he’s a fairly athletic big man with some intriguing talent.

-The Turkish national team has basically reached the point where they must put up or shut up, as they’ve have all this talent together for some time now and have not been able to accomplish anything with it. This is a squad that has constantly been marred by internal conflicts (often involving their NBA stars Turkoglu and Okur) and has never been able to elevate and play anywhere near their full potential.

-Turkoglu and Okur are both coming off very good seasons, with Okur even being named an NBA all-star, so this is really an opportunity for this often underachieving duo to secure their legacy as far as the Turkish national team is concerned.

-The very talented Turkish class of 1987 has a chance to really step up and set the tone for this upcoming seasons, which will be very important as far as their professional career is concerned. Both Cenk Akyol and Ersan Ilyasova have been living off the incredible hype they generated with their play in international youth tournaments, but have been unable to achieve much in the senior category so far. Both players have a chance to show that they are ready to translate their potential into production this upcoming season.

-The Turks were dealt an unfortunate blow just a few days before the final rosters were set, as their sharpshooting guard Serkan Erdogan was forced to pull out of the national team with an injury.


Giedrius Gustas G 1.90 04.03.1980 Kaunas (LTU) Barons Riga

Paulius Jankunas F 2.05 29.04.1984 Kaunas (LTU) Zalgiris Kaunas

Simas Jasaitis F 2.00 26.03.1982 Vilnius (LTU) TAU Ceramica

Sarunas Jasikevicius G 1.92 05.03.1976 Kaunas (LTU) Golden State Warriors

Robertas Javtokas C 2.10 20.03.1980 Siauliai (LTU) Dynamo Moscow

Rimantas Kaukenas G 1.92 11.04.1977 Vilnius (LTU) Montepaschi Siena

Linas Kleiza F 2.03 03.01.1985 Kaunas (LTU) Denver Nuggets

Darjus Lavrinovic C 2.12 01.11.1979 Vilnius (LTU) Unics Kazan

Ksistof Lavrinovic C 2.10 01.11.1979 Vilnius (LTU) Montepaschi Siena

Jonas Maciulis F 2.00 10.02.1985 Kaunas (LTU) Zalgiris Kaunas

Ramunas Siskauskas G 1.98 10.09.1978 Kaisiadorys (LTU) CSKA Moscow

Darius Songaila F 2.04 14.02.1978 Marijampole (LTU) Washington Wizards

-Fueled by frustrated NBA player Sarunas Jasikevicius, the Lithuanians have to be mentioned in the same breath as any other top contender for the championship.

-Kleiza and Songaila are legitimate NBA rotation players, Siskauskas is one of the classiest players in the Euroleague, there is some serious size (the Lavrinovic twins, Javtokas), shooting (Kaukenas, Jasaitis), toughness (Maciulis) and experience all over the roster. In short, this team is legit…

-As “fans” of the NBA draft process, we might have liked to see the Lithuanians take Mantas Kalnietis over Giedrius Gustas at the backup PG spot. Coach Butautas obviously went with the short-term benefit of experience here over the long-term benefit of grooming the next generation, even if talent wise there is very little to compare between the two.

-We’ve been saying it for way too long now, but NBA execs should definitely be paying attention to the way the Lavrinovic twins play here…at age 28 there is no better time to give these guys a serious look. They’ve got the physical tools to play in the League and have established themselves as some of the most productive big guys on the European scene with their play the past few years.


Stephen Arigbabu C 2.06 15.02.1972 Hannover (GER) Olimpia Larissa

Mithat Demirel G 1.80 10.05.1978 Berlin (GER) Galatasaray

Patrick Femerling C 2.13 04.03.1975 Hamburg (GER) Alba Berlin

Robert Garret G 1.92 18.03.1977 Ochsenfurt (GER) Brose Bamberg

Demond Greene G 1.85 15.06.1979 Ford Hood, TX (USA) Brose Bamberg

Guido Grünheid F 2.06 25.10.1982 Jena (GER) Hanzevast Capitals

Steffen Hamann G 1.93 14.06.1981 Bamberg (GER) Brose Bamberg

Johannes Herber G 1.97 17.01.1983 Darmstadt (GER) Alba Berlin

Jan-Hendrik Jagla C 2.13 25.06.1981 Berlin (GER) DKV Joventut

Dirk Nowitzki F 2.13 19.06.1978 Würzburg (GER) Dallas Mavericks (NBA)

Ademola Okulaja F 2.02 10.07.1975 Lagos (NGR) Brose Bamberg

Pascal Roller G 1.85 20.11.1976 Heidelberg (GER) Skyliners Frankfurt

-Nowitzki and another 11 is the way the German team rolls out once again, although at least this year they will have a much fresher version of their superstar then they’ve enjoyed in years past. Last time Nowitzki’s ridiculous talent superiority was enough to take his team all the way to the Finals…can he do the same again?

Group D


Filip Dylewicz F 2.02 25.01.1980 Bydgoszcz (POL) Prokom Trefl Sopot

Przemyslaw Frasunkiewicz F 2.01 08.01.1979 Gdansk (POL) Energa Czarni

Radoslaw Hyzy F 2.00 08.02.1977 Strzelno (POL) Slask Wroclaw

Iwo Kitzinger G 1.88 26.02.1985 Raciborz (POL) BOT Turow

Lucasz Koszarek G 1.87 12.01.1984 Wrzesnia (POL) Anwil Wloclawek

Kamil Pietras F 2.04 27.01.1988 Chorzow (POL) Olimpija Ljubijana

Andrzej Pluta G 1.81 26.04.1974 Ruda Slaska (POL) Anwil Wloclawek

Robert Skibniewski G 1.82 19.07.1983 Bielawa (POL) BOT Turow

Szymon Szewczyk C 2.09 21.12.1982 Szczecin (POL) Lokomotiv Rostov

Robert Witka F 2.06 27.07.1981 Przasnysz (POL) BOT Turow

Adam Wojcik F 2.08 20.04.1970 Olawa (POL) N/A

Bartlomiej Woloszyn F 1.97 09.08.1986 Stalowa Wola (POL) Anwil Wloclawek

-On this roster (weakened by injuries and no-shows) we find the second youngest player in the Eurobasket—19 year old Kamil Pietras. The 6-10 big man belongs to Slovenian outfit Olimpija Ljubljana, and has shown nice potential in the European youth tournaments over the past few summers. He posted 18 points and 10 rebounds per game in the U20 B tournament in Warsaw this July, but is not considered a significant NBA prospect due to his rather average physical tools.

-The Polish team also features former Milwaukee Bucks 2nd round pick Szymon Szewczyk, who has really not developed into much more than an average backup at the European level since being drafted in 2003 over important NBA players such as Steve Blake, Mo Williams, Zaza Pachulia and Kyle Korver.


Andrea Bargnani C 2.11 26.10.1985 Rome (ITA) Toronto Raptors

Gianluca Basile G 1.92 24.01.1975 Ruvo di Puglia (ITA) FC Barcelona

Marco Belinelli G 1.96 25.03.1986 S. Giovanni in P. (ITA) Golden State Warriors

Massimo Bulleri G 1.88 10.09.1977 Cecina (ITA) Armani Jeans Milano

Andrea Crosariol C 2.10 11.11.1984 Milano (ITA) VidiVici Bolonia

Luigi DaTome F 2.02 27.11.1987 Montebelluna (ITA) Montepaschi Siena

Fabio Di Bella G 1.86 13.12.1978 Pavia (ITA) VidiVici Bolonia

Angelo Gigli F 2.07 04.06.1983 Pietermaritzburg (RSA) Benetton Treviso

Stefano Mancinelli F 2.03 17.03.1983 Chieti (ITA) Climamio Bolonia

Denis Marconato C 2.11 29.07.1975 Treviso (ITA) FC Barcelona

Marco Mordente G 1.90 07.01.1979 Teramo (ITA) Benetton Treviso

Matteo Soragna G 1.97 26.12.1975 Mantova (ITA) Benetton Treviso

-The Italians sport two current NBA players in Bargnani and Belinelli, and probably could have showcased their next star in line in Danilo Gallinari had he not gotten injured. Gallinari would have easily been the most scouted player at the Eurobasket, but we’ll have plenty of opportunities to evaluate him in this year’s Euroleague and Serie A competitions.

-The Italians are a bit uptight these days, as they saw their team lost 5 of their last 7 preparation games leading up to the tournament, many being blowouts…with the two wins coming against Germany and Portugal.

-Luigi DaTome is a legitimately interesting draft prospect (the first draft eligible player on this list so far), but he will likely not see much playing time after being surprisingly invited to the final squad at the last moment. In fact, he wasn’t even among the extended 25 player squad of candidates until yesterday.


Aleksandar Capin G 1.86 06.10.1982 Sarajevo (BIH) Whirlpool Varese

Sandi Cebular SG 1.94 24.06.1986 Celje (SLO) Olimpija Ljubljana

Goran Dragic G 1.88 06.05.1986 Ljubljana (SLO) TAU Cerámica

Goran Jagodnik F 2.02 23.05.1974 Koper (SLO) Hemofarm

Jaka Klobucar SG 1.94 19.08.1987 Novo Mesto (SLO) Geoplin Slovan

Jaka Lakovic G 1.76 09.07.1978 Ljubljana (SLO) FC Barcelona

Erazem Lorbek C 2.09 21.02.1984 Kranj (SLO) Lottomatica Roma

Domen Lorbek G 1.96 06.03.1985 Kranj (SLO) MMT Estudiantes

Radoslav Nesterovic C 2.14 30.05.1976 Ljubljana (SLO) Toronto Raptors

Uros Slokar C 2.09 14.05.1983 Ljubljana (SLO) Triumph Lyubertsy

Matjaz Smodis F 2.05 13.12.1979 Trbovlje (SLO) CSKA Moscow

Gasper Vidmar C 2.08 14.09.1987 Ljubljana (SLO) Fenerbahce

-Not all that unlike the Serbians in this regard (although I wouldn’t recommend comparing between them to their faces), and much to our delight, the Slovenians have also been forced to bring in the “next generation” of players to compensate to their current generation which has largely refused to serve, is injured, or is faking an injury in order to not get called up.

-The Slovenians sport 5 players on their roster aged 22 or younger, with the most interesting of the prospects probably being 6-10 big man Gasper Vidmar, whose rights were recently snatched up by Turkish team Fenerbahce. Goran Dragic will be followed closely as well, even if his stock has taken a hit after transferring to Spain and not receiving all that much playing time this past season. The Slovenians easily could have taken a 6th under-22 player if they had chosen talented 19-year old Emir Preldzic, who also transferred this summer to Fenerbahce.

-Slovenia still has some really nice talent on this roster, going way beyond Toronto Raptors center Rasho Nesterovic. CSKA Moscow’s Matjaz Smodis is widely considered one of the best power forwards in Europe, and a player who could get some serious NBA looks at some point if he chose to take that route. Jaka Lakovic is a stubborn little bugger who stars for Barcelona and will be given go-to guy responsibilities for this team. Erazem Lorbek bounced around in trades and controversy this past season between Malaga, Treviso and Rome, but is a highly skilled big man who can do a lot of damage both facing and with his back to the basket.

-In short, this team lacks depth and certainly could be a lot more talented at full strength (Beno Udrih, Bostjan Nachbar, Primoz Brezec, Sasha Vujacic, Sani Becirovic just to name a few…), but is still talented enough to get to the quarterfinals if they show more character in clutch moments than what they typically do…


Pape-Mamadou Badiane C 2.08 10.02.1980 Boulogne Billancourt (FRA)

Boris Diaw G 2.03 16.04.1982 Cormeilles (FRA)

Yakhouba Diawara F 1.98 29.08.1982 Paris (FRA)

Cédric Ferchaud F 1.92 15.07.1980 Cholet (FRA)

Sanya Giffa G/F 1.97 14.06.1977 Moscow (RUS)

Joseph Gomis G 1.80 02.07.1978 Evreux (FRA)

Tariq Kinte Kirksay SF 1.99 07.09.1978 NY (USA)

Tony Parker G 1.86 17.05.1982 Brugge (BEL)

Florent Pietrus F 1.99 19.01.1981 Abymes (GUA)

Yohann David Sangare PG 1.93 05.04.1983 Poissy (FRA)

Ronny Turiaf C 2.06 13.01.1983 Fort de France (FRA)

Frédéric Weis C 2.18 22.06.1977 Thionville (FRA)

-No draft prospects, but we find no less than four current NBA players, the most of any team in attendance here along with Spain. France could have had a fifth, sixth and seventh, but the (very gutsy) coach decided not to invite Mickaël Gelabale, Mickael Pietrus and Johan Petro. France prefers to go in a direction more resembling traditional European basketball, and for that reason they are conceding some athleticism in favor of fundamentals.

-With that said, this team obviously still has huge potential because of the immense physical advantages the French possess on most teams here, but they will rely heavily on the leadership skills of NBA playoffs MVP Tony Parker. Chalk them up as sleepers to reach the semifinals.

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