More FIBA Europe U18 Championship Content:
-U18 Scouting Reports: Point Guards
-Martynas Varnas Interview
-Killian Tillie Interview
-Richard Freudenberg Interview
-Jonathan Jeanne Interview
-Leon Kratzer Interview
-Isaiah Hartenstein Interview
-Tadas Sedekerskis Interview
-Frank Ntilikina Interview
-Verners Kohs Interview
-Kostja Mushidi Interview
-Lauri Markkanen Interview
Kostja Mushidi, 6'5, Strasbourg, Germany, 1998
-Tremendous physical profile. Not terribly tall, but has no neck, so plays bigger than his height.
-Extremely long arms and big hands
-Excellent frame. Chiseled despite his age.
-Terrific athlete. Fluid and explosive with a quick first step
-Multi-positional defender. Guards 1-4 at this level
-Plays with huge energy. Extremely active. Gets in stance and moves his feet very well
-Closes out on shooters impressive with his long wingspan
-Too strong to get posted up by power forwards
-Very good in transition
-Can create his own shot in the half-court
-Shows some ability to operate at different speeds. Played some pick and roll
-Good passer. Finds open man in drive and dish situations. Has a feel for the game
-Quick, compact shooting stroke. Has good potential as a shooter.
-Can make jumpers with feet set and off the dribble.
-Throws ball in basket with natural instincts from different spots on the floor
-Plays with confidence and swagger. Not afraid to get in opponents' face
-A year younger than competition here. Turned 17 in June.
-Stands somewhere between 6-4 and 6-5. Ideally would grow another inch or two
-Not the most consistent shooter at this stage. Only hit 30% of his attempts at both the U16 and U18. 69% career free throw shooter in FIBA competitions
-Needs to elongate his shooting stroke. A little bit rigid at this stage
-Advanced ball-handling skills still a work in progress. Best in a straight line right now
-Only converted 31% of his shots around the basket in the half-court at U18s. Didn't make up for it by getting to the free throw line a ton either
-Needs a coach that will reel him in a bit and help him harness his intensity/calm him down. Plays with so much emotion he can get out of control and force the issue at times. Doesn't always channel his energy in the best way
Outlook: Physical specimen with impressive versatility on both ends of the floor. Was very up and down throughout the tournament, but had some great moments that hinted at things to come down the road. Mother is from the Congo. Father from France. Born in Belgium. Grew up in Germany. Will play for Strasbourg's junior team next year. Will have to play as one of Strasbourg's five foreigners if they want him on the senior team down the road, unless JFL rule is repealed in France or he obtains JFL status in four years time.
Furkan Korkmaz, 6'7, Anadolu Efes, Turkey, 1997
See our scouting report on Korkmaz from the FIBA U19 World Championship in Crete for a detailed breakdown.
Edin Atic, 6'7, Spars Sarajevo, Bosnia, 1997
-Good size for a shooting guard at 6-6 without shoes. Also has a solid 6-9 ¼ wingspan
-Operated as the primary ball-handler and creator for Bosnia
-Pushes ball in transition. Plays a lot of pick and roll in the half-court
-Has a good first step. Plays with great pace.
-Drew 8.8 free throw attempts per-40 minutes
-Unselfish player with good court vision. Very good passer on the move. Enters ball into post nicely. Averaged 5 assists per-40 minutes at U18s
-Shows some touch as a shooter. Tosses in floaters
-Gets in passing lanes with timing and anticipation skills. Even comes up with some impressive blocks
-Only weighs 184 pounds. Needs to continue to improve his frame, which he already appears to be addressing
-Has very unorthodox shooting mechanics. Releases ball from side of head. Sometimes from fingertips.
-Took a lot of outside shots, but struggled to convert at U18s. Hit just 25% of 3-point attempts on large volume. Career 32%
-Hit just 57% of his free throw attempts at U18s. Career 60% FT% in 1600 minutes of action.
-Turned the ball over quite a bit at U18s (5 per-40, 19% TO%)
Outlook: Creative shooting guard with size and some athleticism. Versatile player offensively. Needs to improve his outside shooting ability.
Richard Freudenberg, 6'8, Free Agent, Germany, 1998
-Excellent size for a wing at 6-8, or possibly even 6-9
-Long arms. Big hands. Frame that should fill out nicely in time
-Smooth and fluid athlete
-Has very smooth shooting mechanics. Elevates off ground with a high release point
-Reliable shooter with feet set
-Intelligent player. Makes extra pass. Did not look out of place here despite only being 16 years old.
-Can put ball down fluidly in a straight line. Shows some athleticism off two feet. Can elevate for finishes from a standstill.
-A little bit one dimensional at this stage. Shot more 3s than 2s. Only got to free throw line four times in 174 minutes
-Doesn't have advanced ball-handling skills in the half-court
-Only 21/71 from beyond the arc (30%) in 25 FIBA and Euroleague ANGT games thus far. Has a pretty stroke, but isn't terribly consistent with it at this stage
-Has only dished out 8 assists compared with 51 turnovers in FIBA/ANGT play.
-Lacks some toughness defensively. Struggles to get in a low stance and contain smaller wing players. Doesn't always fight through screens
-Needs to become more physical as he matures and his body fills out
Outlook: Young, tall wing with nice potential as a high IQ floor-spacer. Still at a very early stage of his development. On the college track right now. Will likely pick from Gonzaga, St. John's and Vanderbilt according to what he told us.
Enes Taskiran, 6'3, Besiktas, Turkey, 1997
-Good athlete. Strong first step. Can play above the rim. Has a few different gears he can get to
-Good ball-handler. Gets low to the ground. Has strong footwork.
-Drives and finishes with both hands
-Terrific in transition. Loves to push the ball in open court
-Excellent finisher around the basket in both full and half-court. Goes straight into contact. Finishes among the trees in traffic
-Unselfish player. Makes extra pass. Can drive and dish nicely
-Plays with great intensity and toughness
-Outstanding defender. Puts strong pressure on the ball.
-Fights over screens. Contests every shot
-Struggled badly with jumper throughout tournament, but somehow made a number of really important pull-up jumpers in late-game situations in the medal rounds. Not a bad shooter when he's in rhythm off the dribble and eliminating the excessive knee-bend that plagues his jumper
-Stuck between guard positions.
-Decision making skills are average. Gets tunnel vision at times. Turns ball over a little more frequently than you'd hope
-Very limited outside shooter throughout his career.
-Shooting mechanics look really poor at times, particularly in catch and shoot situations. Dips knees, jumps and shoots with a variable release point
-93% of field goal attempts come inside the arc in career FIBA competition
-Career 54% FT%
-Defense goes ways underneath the screen on pick and rolls. Sometimes play five feet off him.
Outlook: Versatile and aggressive combo guard. Unheralded player who became arguably Turkey's most important player as event moved on. Scored 27 points in a semifinals win against Bosnia. Played some point guard at this event and might be smart to develop this part of his game considering his lack of size and average shooting ability. Toughness, athleticism and intensity gives him a chance to develop into a good player down the road, even if track record of Turkish prospect development system is concerning.
Amar Gegic, 6'5, Spars Sarajevo, Bosnia, 1998
-Good physical profile. Nice frame. Long arms
-Fluid athlete. Moves extremely well. Quick first step
-Talented ball-handler. Often tasked with bringing ball up the court for Bosnia and playing point guard
-Handles ball on pick and roll consistently.
-Has nice footwork as a driver.
-Can operate at different speeds
-Can pass the ball impressively in drive and dish or post-entry situations
-Gets to the free throw line quite a bit
-Shows great feel and timing getting in passing lanes and rebounding in every stage of career. Has length, quickness and anticipation skills
-Shooting mechanics aren't bad from the waist up
-A year younger than the competition here
-Very limited scorer. Career 12.5 points per-40 on 39% TS% in every level he's played in
-Really struggles to convert inside or outside the arc.
-Gets to the rim consistently but doesn't finish strong. Tosses up weak floaters instead of going one step further for a layup. Lacks strength and toughness, but also doesn't have great touch around the basket
-Needs to improve his left hand. Finishes with right hand on left side of basket
-Hit just 33% of attempts inside the paint. Same story everywhere else he's played
-Career 16% 3-point shooter
-Has poor footwork and balance on his jumper
-Made just 56% of free throw attempts at U18s. Career 54%
-Extremely turnover prone at times. 5 turnovers per-40 and 22% TO% at U18s, which is low relative to his career rate
-Just an average defender. Very upright in his stance. Doesn't fight through screens. Lacks strength and toughness, but also intensity
Outlook: Elegant, creative guard who teases you with his ability to play point guard at his size. Had a poor tournament in terms of efficiency, but undoubtedly has talent which gives him some upside to grow into. Will likely fill out his frame down the road and look very impressive with his ball-handling and passing ability. Needs to fill out the rest of his game to graduate from prospect status to productive player.
Martynas Varnas, 6'5, Zalgiris Kaunas, Lithuania, 1997
-Not overly tall for a wing, but has a strong frame and some athleticism. Can play above the rim
-Versatile player for his age. Was Lithuania's primary ball-handler and shot-creator in the half-court at U18s
-Makes catch and shoot 3-pointers. Hit 41% of his shots with his feet set
-Utilized quite a bit in pick and roll and one on one situations. Has nice body control and solid ball-handling skills
-Solid basketball IQ. Finds open man nicely in drive and dish situations. 4.8 assists per-40 at U18s
-Lacks a degree of size
-Outside shot is a bit mechanical. Not the most fluid or smooth release
-Struggles to make shots on the move or off the dribble. Shoots a very flat shot when heavily contested
-Really struggled to convert plays inside the arc at the U18s. Hit just 35% of his 2-point attempts. Struggled both in mid-range and inside the paint in the half-court. Doesn't have elite size, length, strength or explosiveness.
-Average defender. Does not have great tools on this end of the floor. Does not make up for it with great intensity or awareness. Late on closeouts. Doesn't fight through screens
Outlook: Played a very heavy ball-handling role for Lithuania, which he may not have been best suited for skill-wise. Shows some nice versatility for a player his size, but lacks a degree of upside to be considered an elite-level talent.
Bathiste Tchouaffe, 6'5, INSEP, France, 1998
-Reliable shooter with feet set.
-88% career free throw shooter in FIBA competition
-Competitive on defense. Takes charges. Gets in passing lanes.
-Team player. Makes extra pass. Finds open man. Enters ball into post.
-Aggressive in transition. Finds ways to get to free throw line
-Has average size for a shooting guard at around 6-5
-Not exceptionally athletic
-Shoots ball with a low release point, in front of face. Easy to contest if scouted
-Struggles to create own shot. Average ball-handler. Was just 5/18 from 2-point range in 198 minutes at the U19s.
-Strictly a catch and shoot jump-shooter. Doesn't have any real mid-range game
Outlook: Fundamentally sound SG who was a solid role-player for France. Very mature for his age. A year younger than competition, but already playing his third consecutive summer for French national team. Doesn't have the same upside you typically associate with French prospects, but could develop into an interesting 3'n'D candidate if he continues to grow.
Michalis Lountzis, 6'5, Panathinaikos, Greece, 1998
-Great physical profile. Very strong frame
-Very good athlete. Can play above the rim with ease. Quick first step
-Explosive straight-line driver
-Will make an occasional catch and shoot jumper
-Tremendous rebounder for a guard. 7.4 rebounds per-40 minutes in FIBA competition career
-Has great potential defensively.
-Plays with intensity
-Has already seen minutes in the Euroleague at age 16
-Does not possess a great feel for the game at this stage.
-Just an average ball-handler. Ball slows him down, which hampers him from fully utilizing athleticism
-Drives wildly into traffic. Picks up dribble unnecessarily
-Not a very creative or efficient finisher around the basket in half-court. Just throws ball up on rim
-Turns ball over excessively (5.3 per-40 in FIBA competition)
-Does not have the smoothest shooting stroke. Shoots a very high arching jumper
Outlook: One of the youngest players seeing minutes at this competition at just 16 years old. Was also a member of Greece's U19 World Championship team despite being three years younger than most of his teammates. Billed as a point guard in his home country, which looks like somewhat of a stretch at this point. Will likely receive very strong coaching in the next few years and will have a chance to develop nicely as an all-around player.
Luc Loubaki, 6'3, INSEP, France, 1997
-Huge frame. Already chiseled
-Very long arms
-Strong athlete. Very good first step
-A bulldozer in transition
-Very aggressive attacking the paint in the half-court. Draws fouls at a nice clip
-Tremendous defender with ability to guard three positions. Combination of strength, length and quickness is very impressive.
-Strong rebounder for a guard
-Makes a few more jump-shots than you'd think he would at times
-Undersized for a shooting guard at 6-3
-Has very poor shooting mechanics that don't leave much room for optimism long-term. Just flings ball at basket from fingertips with poor touch. Career 27% 3P%
-Career 53% FT%
-Doesn't have great court vision. Drives wildly into traffic
-Able to overpower weaker players at this level of competition with his advanced frame and strong athletic ability, but what will happen when everyone catches up?
Outlook: Billed as a point guard but really more of a small forward than anything right now. Has great potential defensively, but needs to polish up his offensive skill-set significantly, something he hasn't really done over the last few years.