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FIBA U16 European Championship Scouting Reports

FIBA U16 European Championship Scouting Reports
Aug 22, 2016, 09:47 am
Scouting reports on 14 of the more notable prospects seen at the FIBA U16 European Championship (Divisons A and B) in Radom, Poland and Sofia, Bulgaria last week. Marko Pecarski, Luka Samanic, Usman Garuba, Arturs Zagars, Oton Jankovic, Theo Maledon, Joel Ayayi, Henri Drell, Szymon Janczak, Alexander Shashkov, Tomer Levinson, Luc Van Slooten, Kay Bruhnke and Tarik Biberovic.



Marko Pecarski, 6-9, PF, Serbia, 2000

Strengths
-Solid size for a power forward at around 6' 9”. Huge feet. Could still add another inch or two. Not a big body but he's wide-shouldered and should be able to fill out in time.
-One of the most skilled scoring bigs that the U16 Euros has seen in recent memory. Pecarski put together a historical performance on his way to a 37.1 PER and 28.4 points per 40 minutes on 52.5% from two and 38.5% from three.
-Elite offensive polish as a scorer. Can torch defenses in a variety of ways. Combination of shooting ability, footwork and overall touch make him nearly an impossible cover at the U16 level.
-Can space the floor out to three either as a spot up man or in pick and pop situations. Shoots a really easy ball. Comes off of his fingertips very naturally. Strong finish on his follow through. Excellent rotation.
-A threat as a short roller because he can shoot it, find a teammate (when he wants to) or put it down one or two times to score. Pecarski can make a one-dribble pull up or finish with either hand around the rim.
-Has a mid-post package that is quite impressive. Uses shot fakes, rip throughs, inside pivots and jabs all to set up his offensive attack. Shows solid fluidity on spin moves. Can make a one-footed Dirk-like fallaway.
-Comfortable with his back to the basket. Soft hands. Very patient. Can make a right handed jump hook. Capable over his right shoulder as well.
-Although he wants buckets more than assists, he shows some poise and vision on the block. Quite deliberate and calculated in his approach.
-Excellent instincts on the glass. Not a freak athlete but is quick to the ball. Anticipates misses off the rim. Knows how to box out. 17.0 rebounds per 40 minutes, #1 at the U16s.
-Very professional in his approach. Father was a well-known player.

Weaknesses
-Doesn't have elite size or length for a power forward at 6' 9” with a 6.8.5” wingspan.
-Not a great athlete. Mobile but lacks quick-twitch explosiveness. Doesn't cover ground all that quickly. So skilled, but will his effectiveness start to take a hit versus longer, more athletic bigs? Not very explosive off the dribble. Not going to sky and play above the rim regularly.
-Doesn't give you a ton on the defensive end. A bit upright defending ball screens. Struggles versus perimeter oriented bigs.
-More focused on grabbing rebounds than protecting the rim. Not all that quick or explosive off of his feet from a standstill.
-Should fill out just fine but is on the light side at the moment. Has some issues holding his own on the block against bulky bigs. Could use another inch or two to help him defensively. A little light in the rear and lower body.
-Has some feel but wants to score more than distribute (hard to blame him given how tremendously efficient he was scoring the ball at the U16s).
-Will his rebounding translate versus longer athletes? Average length and standstill leaping may hurt him a bit.

Outlook
Thanks to a barrage of contested threes, one-dribble pull ups, Dirk-esque fallaways, tough finishes and monster rebounds, it didn't take too long to realize that Pecarski was the best player (although not prospect) at the U16s in Radom. The 6' 9” Serbian big man displayed a level of skill that's almost unheard of for a 16-year-old, and the rate at which he's polished his game since we last saw him at the Jordan Brand Classic is extremely impressive. There's no question that Pecarski has some physical limitations that might hinder his long-term upside slightly, but his skill set, production and approach to the game make him one of the most intriguing prospects at the U16s. It will be interesting to see how Pecarski parlays this historic performance. One thing is for sure – wherever Pecarski ends up, he's well ahead of his peers in terms of skill development and the son of former Euroleague champion Miroslav Pecarski should be able to build on his very bright future.


Luka Samanic, 6-10, Forward, Croatia, 2000

Strengths
-Excellent physical profile for a perimeter four man at 6' 10” with a great frame, an 8' 10.5.” standing reach and tremendous fluidity.
-Moves like a wing. Super light on his feet. Can get out and fill the lanes in transition. Finishes above the rim with ease in space off of one foot.
-Budding offensive skill set (20.0 points and 2.1 made threes per 40) that starts out on the perimeter. Although his mechanics could use some work he has soft touch out to 3-point range. Very good in trail situations. Gets great rotation. Can make a rhythm pull up as well.
-Excellent at attacking in a straight line going either right or left. Good body control. Can pick and pop to space and put it down going to the rim. Uses basic right to left crossovers or through the legs dribbles from the perimeter.
-Not a back to the basket player but has solid footwork and can make a right-handed jump hook. Will mix in an occasional quick spin.
-Knows how to play. Will force up tough shots at times but has a good feel and plays with patience more often than not. Has vision from the post and perimeter – 3.1 assists per 40 minutes.
-Doesn't project as a defensive anchor but he has strong tools and instincts defensively. Understands positioning. Above average reach, quick leaping ability and strong timing allows him to protect the rim at a decent rate – 3.2 blocks per 40 minutes.
- Light enough on his feet to step out and guard the perimeter. Covers ground quickly on closeouts. Blocks jumpers regularly. Should be able to be an asset switching ball screens in time.
-Good instincts on the defensive glass when he's fully motivated. Quick to the ball with soft hands. 9.5 defensive rebounds per 40 minutes.
-Has considerable upside given his age, tools, budding skill set and feel for the game.

Weaknesses
-Good reach but doesn't have elite length with a 6' 10” wingspan. Plays above the rim in space off of one foot but isn't quite as explosive off of two feet, especially from a standstill.
-Toughness and motor tend to come and go. Aggressive for stretches but will go through the motions from time to time. Doesn't always run the floor hard. Can pursue defensive rebounds more consistently.
-Allows paint touches without putting up much of a fight. Not the most naturally physical player. A little light in the rear. Can improve his ability to play through contact on both ends of the floor.
-Fundamentals guarding the perimeter have room to improve. Doesn't always recover with high hands out of pick and roll. Gets lost chasing shooters around screens. Can be a bit upright when defending on the ball. Somewhat foul prone at this stage.
-Budding offensive skill set but his shooting mechanics could use some fine-tuning – 33.3% from three. Forward lean into his jumper with an inconsistent landing spot. Has great touch but becoming more mechanically sound should improve his consistency.
-Good ball handler for his size but isn't quite polished enough to be a wing at this stage. Handle is a bit high and loose. Not quite comfortable enough to play with his head up when attempting to use advanced moves from the perimeter. Not going to create space and get into a jumper off the dribble while contested (although he can make rhythm pull ups with time and space).
-Nice feel overall but will turn right into help defenders when operating out of the post. Can be stronger with the ball versus double teams.
-Has a lot of natural talent and physical ability but is still putting it all together and turning it into consistent and efficient production – 43.8% from two.

Outlook
The 6' 10” Croatian forward was arguably the best long-term prospect at the U16 Euros given his blend of physical tools, offensive skills, and defensive instincts. The next few years will be crucial for Samanic's development as becoming more physical on both ends and refining his offensive skill set will play a big role in how he's able to maximize his impressive potential. Samanic is a unique and intriguing prospect whose overall profile suggest that he could very well develop into an eventual high draft pick who could have a positive impact at the NBA level for quite some time.


Usman Garuba, 6-7, PF, Spain, 2002

Strengths
-Outstanding physical profile considering his age – second youngest player at the tournament as he doesn't turn 15 until March 9. Could theoretically play in the U16 Euros for three consecutive years. Very mature frame. Proportionate upper and lower body. Around 6' 7” with long arms and big hands. Excellent runner who can finish above the rim in space.
-Very competitive in every aspect of the game. Plays with an edge. High-level rebounder who pursues the ball with aggression – 16.6 rebounds per 40 minutes. Strong hands. Carves out space thanks to his frame. Quick to the ball. Good instincts. 6.5 offensive rebounds per 40 minutes.
-Makes a lot of plays on defense due to his combination of tools and instincts. Defends multiple positions. Has the strength to defend the interior and the feet to guard the perimeter. Works hard to contest. Anticipates in the passing lanes. Recorded 10 blocks in the championship game and averaged 2.5 steals and 3.8 blocks per 40 minutes.
-Can grab and go in transition. Showed some potential as a ball handler in transition. Good passer while on the move. Likes to move it ahead quickly.
-Knows his strengths and weaknesses and plays a fairly efficient game – 71.6% from two and a 39.2 PER, the best at the U16s. Active cutter. Moves well off the ball.
-Very good operating inside of ten feet in the half court. Can straight line drive a bit and finish through contact regularly. Excellent in drop off situations. Uses both hands around the rim.
-High intangible player who doesn't need plays ran for him to have an impact.

Weaknesses
-More of a slightly undersized power forward at this stage. Although he's young, he's very developed for his age. How much more will he grow?
-How is he going to score in the half court as the size, length, athleticism and level of play increase?
-Really can't shoot at all at this stage. Stiff, funky mechanics with very little touch – 8-for-23 from the free throw line and took only three jumpers all tournament.
-Over 75% of his offense came from transition, offensive rebounds, and cuts. Not a guy who's going to go get you a bucket at the end of the clock.
-Relies more on his tools around the rim. Can improve his touch versus length.
-Ball skills are average in the half court. Limited to strictly straight line drives, although he shows some potential in transition.
-Checks quite a few boxes but is missing some important ones (namely shooting). Projects more as a high level role player right now. Is his production mostly a product of his physical gifts and motor in comparison to where most 15-16-year-olds are physically?

Outlook
There's a whole lot to like about the Real Madrid product given his age, physical tools, motor, intangibles, and feel for the game. He won MVP of the tournament as the second youngest player to take the floor and played a huge role in leading Spain to a U16 Euro Championship. At the very least, he figures to be an excellent role player who checks a lot of boxes and brings a level of toughness to the floor. With that said, Garuba is being hyped as much more than that, and his statistics from the U16s would support the notion that he may very well be a future star in the making. The key to unlocking Garuba's potential will be either adding a few more inches or developing his shooting stroke and half court scoring ability (preferably both for Garuba). Regardless of what his upside may be, for Garuba to come in and produce the way he did at age 14 says a lot about his ability to impact the game on both ends of the floor at a very high level.


Arturs Zagars, 5-10, PG, Latvia, 2000

Strengths
-One of the most polished guards at the U16s from a pure skill set standpoint
-Impressive combination of scoring and playmaking ability – 20.2 points and 5.8 assists per 40 minutes on 55.6% from 2-point range and 39.2% from 3-point range
-Slick ball handler who uses advanced combo moves to get his defender off balance. Changes speeds and directions regularly. Not a freak athlete but has solid burst that when coupled with his change of pace, allows him to get into the paint.
-Has all types of subtle, veteran-like tricks to get his defender off of him and alleviate pressure. Mature game.
-Able to create space for pull up jumpers – three or mid-range – with relative ease despite his lack of size.
-Low release point but has excellent touch from the perimeter both off the catch or bounce. Ball comes out smoothly with good rotation.
-Knows how to manipulate a ball screen. Can snake pick and rolls. Freezes the big and forces him to guard two players.
-Lacks tools but is crafty around the rim – uses same hand-same foot speed finishes and floaters. Capable with either hand. Shot 13-of-20 on at rim finishes plus floaters in the half court.
-Very confident playmaker who doesn't need to get into the paint to find a teammate. Delivers the ball equally well with either hand. Can make all of the necessary reads out of ball screens – roll man, pop man, opposite wing shooter circling up.
-Plays with a level of confidence and poise that's rare for his age


Weaknesses
-Very underwhelming physical profile. 5-10 at best with narrow shoulders, a frail frame and a very young face. Behind from a physical development standpoint. How much will he mature?
-Lack of tools hurt him on the defensive end – opponents are able to go right at him and get basically wherever they want on the floor. Defensive toughness comes and goes.
-Struggles a bit versus pick and roll blitzes. Can be a bit too loose with the ball at times – 4.0 turnovers per 40 minutes. Size hurts his ability to pass over the top versus longer defenders.
-Has some burst, but isn't a freak athlete both in terms of quickness and leaping ability around the rim. How will his game translate as the level of competition continues to rise?
-Impressive shot maker but his low release point and size will make it tough to make shots as consistently with longer athletes defending.
-Super impressive skill set, but his upside is a bit limited at this stage given his lack of tools

Outlook
Physical tools aside, Zagars was one of the best pure basketball players at the U16 European Championships. Unfortunately, he's quite behind physically and will have to grow and develop to be seriously considered as a legitimate NBA prospect, but it's impossible to ignore his advanced skill set, creativity and poise for a player his age. For Zagars to stand out like he did given his lacking physical profile is a testament to the type of player he is. It remains to be seen what Zagars will do moving forward as he'll likely garner offers from larger European clubs. Wherever he ends up Zagars is most certainly a prospect to track as it's extremely rare to see players his age with his level of skill and poise.


Oton Jankovic, 6-10, SF/PF, Croatia, 2000

Strengths
-Excellent physical profile for 16-year-old combo forward at 6' 10” with an excellent frame that is mature, yet still has room to grow
-Super fluid athlete who is very quick off of his feet. Doesn't need much time and space to play above the rim.
-Doesn't need plays ran for him to have an impact offensively. Loves to crash the offensive glass – 4.5 O-Boards per 40. Moves really well off the ball. Puts himself in position to have an impact.
-Best as a straight-line slasher. Good timing attacking closeouts. Gets low to the ground. Can put it down going right or left.
-Solid finisher around the rim thanks to his ability to handle contact and rise up in traffic. Can punish smaller wings on the block. Has a right-handed jump hook in his arsenal.
-Although not overly long he has the tools to defend multiple positions. Can sit down on the perimeter or use his frame well enough on the interior to get by. Good instincts in the passing lanes. Light on his feet. Likes to rebound.
-Can be a bit turnover prone but seems to have a pretty good feel for his strengths and weaknesses. Plays within the flow of the offense.
-Very professional in his approach. Plays with toughness.

Weaknesses
-Doesn't have great length with a 6-10 wingspan
-Really struggles to make shots with consistency – 1-of-21 on jumpers at the U16s. Hasn't made any strides since we last saw him at the Jordan Brand Classic. Stiff, mechanical stroke without much fluidity throughout his body. Has a long ways to go with his feet set. Not a threat to make shots off the dribble. Really lacks confidence in his jumper.
-Limited to mostly straight line drives. Doesn't change speeds or directions. Without a jumper or ball skills, how will he score consistently against better competition?
-Has some feel but isn't all that talented as a passer. Will barrel into help side defenders at times. 5.1 turnovers per 40 minutes.
-Checks a lot of boxes but isn't exactly great in one area.

Outlook
Jankovic, who's currently in the Cibona Zagreb youth system, certainly has some flaws but there's a lot to like about his blend of physical tools, toughness, and versatility on both ends. He can play either forward spot on both ends and is a jump shot away from being considered a very intriguing NBA prospect. At the very least, the Croatian 16-year-old forward has excellent role player potential and is most definitely a name worth tracking as his skill level develops, wherever that may be.


Theo Maledon, 6-3, PG/SG, France, 2001

Strengths
-Excellent physical profile for a lead guard prospect at 6' 3” (likely still growing) with a great frame, a 6' 7.5” wingspan and above average explosiveness
-Plays a little bit bigger than he is. Covers ground with his dribble. Long strides. Not a great finisher or overly polished ball handler, but can get into the paint off the bounce. Uses hang dribbles. Can play out of ball screens.
-Capable spot shooter – 41.4% from three. Crouches down and doesn't have the quickest release but the ball comes out really smoothly. Good wrist action, crisp rotation and soft touch.
-Takes pride in stopping his man. Very good defensive potential given his tools and foot speed. 3.5 steals per 40 minutes.
-Has some passing instincts although he has a ways to go before developing into a full time point guard
-Youngest player on the team by almost six months and was still able to have a fairly major role. Doesn't seem to be very afraid of the moment. Wants the ball in his hands late in games.

Weaknesses
-More combo than point guard right now. Really struggles to handle it and make decisions versus pressure. 3.9 assists and 4.4 turnovers per 40. Should improve with added experience. Very quiet on the floor.
-Has quite a bit to add to his pick and roll game, especially as a facilitator
-A bit raw as a ball handler. Likes to use straight line hang dribbles but doesn't have much change of direction.
-Can improve his off hand around the rim and add more of a floater. A bit out of control going to the rim at times. 33.3% from two.
-Streaky shooter who isn't all that dynamic of a shot maker given the nature of his mechanics. Lacks the ability to create space to get to his jumper off of the dribble.
-Gets lost off the ball on defense at times. Still very young.

Outlook
The 2001-born INSEP product didn't put together a super consistently productive tournament but he showed more than enough flashes to gain notoriety from scouts and media members alike as one of the better long-term guard prospects in attendance. Although he still has almost three years until he turns 18, Maledon has placed himself on the radar among the top prospects in the 2001 class.


Joel Ayayi, 6-5, PG, France, 2000

Strengths
-Impressive physical profile for a point guard prospect. Appears to have grown to around 6' 5” and may still be growing. Solid frame up top that should continue to fill out. Above average length with a wingspan somewhere around 6' 7”.
-Quick in the open floor. Loves to push in transition. Good burst in the half court. Can change speeds with force. Doesn't need a ball screen to get into the paint.
-Willing passer. Will move it ahead in transition. Capable in drive and kick/dish situations. Shows the ability to use both sides of the floor out of pick and roll at times.
-Outstanding rebounder for his position. Not afraid to mix it up inside and ignite the break himself. Averaged 10.6 rebounds per 40 minutes at the U16s.
-Streaky shooter but shows potential with his feet set. Solid wrist action. Not a non-shooter by any stretch. Will make an occasional mid-range pull up if given time and space. Mechanics are fairly sound. Has improved since Adidas Eurocamp. Made 8-of-26 threes (30.8%).
-Pesky defender with quick-twitch instincts. Excellent feet, active hands and good anticipation. 3.8 steals per 40 minutes. Gets a lot of steals roaming off the ball and making plays.
-High intangibles with a good pedigree

Weaknesses
-Good size and frame up top but is a bit light in the lower body
-Streaky shooter. Sound mechanically but doesn't have the most natural stroke. Shot preparation and speed of his release can improve.
-Still a bit raw as a ball handler. Relies more on natural quickness than advanced combo moves to get into the paint. Would benefit from sharpening his ball skills.
-Can improve his playmaking ability and floor general skills. Tends to kill his dribble in traffic. Throws high risk-low reward passes a bit too often. Can do a better job of managing the game. 4.7 turnovers per 40 minutes.
-Not super savvy in the pick and roll. The pace at which he operates out of ball screens can get better. Would be able to create more offense for himself and his teammates if he did a better job of holding the big defender and making him guard multiple defenders or snaking ball screens/keeping his defender on his back. These things should come with more experience.
-Could use a more reliable floater game as he struggles a bit to finish through contact at this stage. Quick and shifty but not a freak leaper.
-Overall still trying to find the right balance between scoring and playmaking and putting together his nice combination of skill and tools

Outlook
After getting a fairly brief look at Ayayi during 2016 Adidas Eurocamp, an extended period of time scouting him at the U16s confirmed our initial evaluation – Ayayi is a very intriguing point guard prospect who should continue to gain more and more notoriety sooner rather than later. It will be interesting to see where Ayayi ends up as the INSEP product will likely have a whole host of high level clubs after him, but regardless of his landing spot his combination of tools, skills and intangibles make him a legitimate future NBA prospect at the ripe age of 16 years old.


Henri Drell, 6-6, SF/PF, Estonia, 2000

Strengths
-Intriguing physical profile for a wing prospect – at least 6' 6” (likely still growing, huge feet) with long arms, a very projectable frame and impressive fluidity. Long strides. Can play above the rim in space.
-Aggressive going to the rim both in transition and the half court – 22.4 points per 40 minutes. Best as a straight-line slasher, Tools allow him to finish from different angles.
-Plays with a high motor on both ends. Excellent rebounder for his position – 11.3 per 40 minutes.
- Has the tools and fluidity to be a versatile defender. Makes a lot of plays on the defensive end – 3.6 steals and 0.9 blocks per 40 minutes. Covers ground quickly on closeouts.
-Can make a spot three – 1.1 per 40. Has room to improve mechanically but he gets decent rotation and is especially good from mid-range spots.
-Very wild overall but can pass when he wants to. Didn't have a lot of help with a fairly underwhelming Estonia roster. Can find teammates over the top of the defense thanks to his size. Has some vision.
-Has some upside considering his tools, motor and budding skill set

Weaknesses
-Lacks polish offensively. Wants to handle it in isolation situations but is very high and loose with the ball. Has the handle of a face-up four, not a traditional wing.
-Very erratic decision maker. Tries to do way too much offensively resulting in wild shots or bad turnovers. All in all he plays a very inefficient game – 39.3 from 2-point range and 6.8 turnovers per 40 minutes.
-Drell is far from a reliable 3-point shooter (29.4%) as his mechanics are more consistent from mid-range spots. Can improve his shot preparation. The ball doesn't always come out all that smoothly. Banked a few threes from straight away.
-Not going to create much space off the dribble to get to his jumper at this stage, although he has the size and mid-range stroke to be a threat in that area in time.
-Very fluid but not a freaky leaper. Lower body is quite thin.
-Struggles to maintain concentration in finishing situations versus contact. Will fill out no problem but is on the light side at the moment.
-Doesn't have the best discipline defensively. While he plays hard overall, he can be more focused on getting steals than staying solid and keeping his man in front.

Outlook
Drell, who recently agreed to a six-year deal with German league champions Bamberg, proved to be one of the more interesting wing prospects at the U16s despite his lack of polish and wild nature. In Germany Drell will have to learn how to play a more patient, efficient game, which should slow things down for him and improve his long-term potential as a pro. If Drell can shoot it more consistently, improve his handle and play with more discipline, he has a real chance to eventually become the first NBA player from Estonia since Martin Muursepp, who was drafted in 1996 and played a career 83 games.


Szymon Janczak, 6-10, PF Poland, 2000

Strengths
-Good size for a stretch big – at least 6' 10” in shoes and may still be growing. Solid base considering he's a bit on the lighter side in his upper body.
-Super fluid for his size. Can get out in transition. Light on his feet. Finishes above the rim in space.
-Showed that he'll be able to turn into a legitimate stretch big option in time – 35.5% from three on 34 attempts. Excellent rotation and soft touch from three. Potentially fluid enough to operate off of screens in time.
-Can pick and pop to space and attack a closeout. Gets low to the ground going to the rim.
-Not a super comfortable playmaker but he seems to know who he is. Doesn't play too outside of himself, especially considering that Poland wasn't exactly loaded with talent. 1.6 turnovers per 40 minutes.
-Not the toughest guy out there but his fluidity and size allow him to make plays on defense – 1.1 steals and 1.1 blocks per 40. Good instincts and timing.
-Should be able to be an adequate perimeter defender versus stretch and face up fours due to his fluid nature as he continues two improve his fundamentals and discipline.

Weaknesses
-Frame is good not great. Hips are a little wide. Shoulders are slightly on the narrow side. Doesn't seem overly long.
-Very poor defensive rebounder – 3.7 per 40 minutes. Doesn't always pursue. Shies away from physicality. Not overly bouncy from a standstill.
-Projects as a stretch big, but is a bit on the streaky side. Slow getting into his jumper, shoots off the side of his hand at times.
-How does he score if you take away his catch and shoot jumpers? Doesn't have many ways to create offense (from the interior and perimeter) at this stage. Shot 42.9% from two. Can attack in space but not when pressured.
-Rarely gets to the free throw line – 2.8 per 40. Shies away from contact. Very right handed around the rim. Doesn't like physicality.
-Not the most creative playmaker – 3 assists in 209 minutes – or willing passer. Settles for a lot of contested threes. Doesn't always make the extra pass.
-Who does he guard at a high level? Can make some plays and should be adequate in time but he struggles a bit on the perimeter at this stage isn't quite tough enough to have a huge impact on the interior.

Outlook
On a Poland team that was fairly underwhelming in the talent department, Janczak couldn't quite assume the role as “go-to guy” and consistent producer, but he did show enough skill, size and fluidity to make him a prospect to keep an eye on, especially given the way that basketball has trended in recent years. In theory Janczak fits the mold of a modern day stretch big, but he has yet to put it all together and turn that potential into regular production that impacts winning. Janczak also has to improve defensively and on the glass, but it's not easy to find 6' 10” players with his type of fluidity and shooting potential, making him a somewhat under the radar prospect to keep an eye on as he develops.


Alexander Shashkov, 6-9, C, Russia, 2000

Strengths
-Nice physical profile for a 16-year-old center at 6' 9” with a developed frame, average to above average length and solid mobility.
-Impressive offensive skill set for his age – 23.1 points per 40. Excellent shooter out to three when given time and space. Ball comes out really cleanly with excellent rotation. Shoots it the same way every time. Great pick and pop target. Shot 35.7% from 3 on 42 attempts.
-Smart high-low passer. Has vision and is willing to give it up.
-Soft hands and touch around the rim. Can make a right-handed jump hook from short range. Uses floaters in the lane. Knows how to deep seal, turn quickly and finish. 67.3% from two and 35.8 PER.
-Will crash the offensive glass – 4.4 O-Boards per 40. Good instincts. Doesn't fly around like crazy and have wild spurts of energy but he plays with a consistently solid motor throughout the course of a game.
-Excellent defensive rebounder at the U16 Division B level – 10.9 per 40. Knows how to find a body. Has the natural size to hold his own. Good instincts and pursuit. Soft hands.
-Good positional defender. Understands how much space to give himself when guarding ball screens. Not a quick-twitch athlete, but he has good feet in ball screens. Can protect the rim a little bit – 3.3 blocks per 40. Good timing and instincts around the rim.
-Seems to care about winning. Led his team to a Division B title. Good teammate who plays the right way and will lift up his teammates when they're down.

Weaknesses
-Good not great size for a center prospect at 6' 9”. Does he have another inch or two in him?
-Not an elite athlete. Moves well but isn't quick twitch and won't play above the rim all that often, especially in a crowd.
-Didn't show much in terms of off the dribble game. Given his shooting stroke more teams figure to run him off of the 3-point line (which they didn't do at the U16s) so he'll have to be more comfortable reading a closeout and playing off of that.
-Not going to go create a shot from the perimeter or in the post. Can score on the block against smaller defenders as he has some touch but he'd rather operate out on the perimeter. Not overly advanced on the block.
-Doesn't get to the line at a high rate. Not overly aggressive in the paint offensively. A little light in the rear.
-Needs time and space to get his shot off. Goes into a bit of a crouch before getting to his release. Great touch but could stand to speed things up a bit.
-Capable high-low passer but isn't going to dazzle with advanced reads from different spots on the floor. Plays a fairly simple game overall.
-Very sound defender at this stage, but his lack of elite explosiveness, quick twitch and good not great length may limit him on that end a little bit as the level of competition and athleticism rises. Average leaper from a standstill – misses out on blocks at times. Not going to be a guy who switches ball screens regularly.
-A little methodical in his approach. Not the type of guy who's going to be the first one down the floor every possession or fly around on both ends. Plays mostly at one speed.

Outlook
The Russian big man led his team to a Division B championship and proved to be the best player and arguably the most intriguing long-term prospect along the way. As a stretch five who's also sound in other areas, Shashkov fits the current NBA mold very well. Already fairly physically mature, it will be interesting to see what Shashkov looks like a couple of years from now as adding an inch or two could help his NBA prospects given that he's more of a center athletically. All in all Shashkov would have likely shined even in Division A as players with his size, mobility and skill level aren't easy to find. Currently with Helios Domzale of the Slovenian League (played with both the U17 and U19 teams last year), Shashkov is without a doubt a player worth tracking after putting himself on the map as a legitimate NBA prospect in Sofia.


Tomer Levinson, 6-8, PF, Israel, 2000

Strengths
-Mature frame. Around 6' 8” in shoes.
-Fluid for his size. Excellent footwork on both ends.
-Very impressive skill set offensively. Was playing out of position as a center (plays both the four and even some three according to his Israeli League coaches) but was still able to show what he can do as a scorer – 20.2 points per 40 minutes.
-Soft touch and strong mechanics out to three – can pick and pop or even make an occasional pull up. Can attack a closeout after popping to space.
-Very effective in mid-post isolation situations. Has an inside pivot face up jumper, a rip through, a rip through spin move and a couple of other counters off of that. Super advanced for his age.
-Can play with his back to the basket a little bit when necessary. Has a running right handed hook, a jump hook, a quick spin, and a back shoulder fadeaway in his arsenal.
-Soft hands and nice touch around the rim. Doesn't shy away from contact – 7.4 free throw attempts per 40 minutes.
-Doesn't play outside of himself. Adapted to his role as a center and didn't try to play like a wing. High IQ player who can pass out of the post and from the perimeter. Impressive court vision.
-Competitive on the glass – 15.4 rebounds per 40. Good instincts and a high motor. Uses his strength to carve out space. Pursues his own misses.
-Good fit in modern basketball given all that he can do skill wise at the four spot
-Has some limitations defensively but understands positioning

Weaknesses
-Average tools for a power forward prospect. Frame is a bit limited. Doesn't have great length. Fluid but not super explosive in traffic. Will he grow any taller?
-Struggled with length against Russia. Lack of elite size and leaping ability hurt his finishing potential versus longer, more athletic bigs moving forward. Will have to rely on skill, which he has a ton of. 45.2% from two.
-Smart and tough but doesn't give you a whole lot on the defensive end. Was slow getting out to shooters regularly, is a bit on his heels when he is defending on the perimeter and doesn't quite have the size or length to hold his own against legitimate post scorers.
-While he put up tremendous rebounding numbers at the U16s, his so-so tools limit his upside on the glass a little bit. Not all that bouncy from a standstill. Lacks length.
-Shows great potential as a 3-point shooter but can continue to become more consistent as he'll likely have to be very reliable in order to play at the highest level – 3-for-12 from three.
-Can improve his handle versus longer athletes. Able to put it down in a straight line but he's not a guy who's going to change speeds and direction all that often.
-Would benefit from improving his ability to pull up off the bounce from mid-post spots as it adds another element that defenders have to respect (has the footwork and stroke to do it more consistently).
-His upside may be a bit limited by his average tools and athleticism. Can he develop into more than an eventually high level European player?

Outlook
Levinson, who was the youngest player ever to play in the Israeli League (age 15 with Ironi Nes-Ziona), is an extremely talented and polished prospect. His skill level, IQ and maturity at 6' 8” are tremendous for his age and make him a must-follow prospect who could have an impact at the European pro level sooner rather than later. Regardless of where he ends up, the highly skilled Levinson has worked his way onto the eventual NBA Draft radar even if his long-term upside may be a bit hampered by his average physical tools.


Youngsters to Keep an Eye on for 2017 U16s

Luc Van Slooten, Germany, 6-6 SF, 2002

Outlook
The youngest player at the U16s at the ripe age of 14, Van Slooten didn't get much burn early on in the tournament but went out with a splash as he scored 13 points in 15 minutes including a buzzer-beating, game-winner in Germany's final game versus Serbia, finishing with a 28.1 PER overall. A 6'6” wing with a great frame, long arms and fluid athleticism, Van Slooten is certainly an interesting prospect from a physical standpoint. Skill wise, he's a very capable standstill shooter, can attack a closeout and has some feel, giving him an excellent foundation to develop as a wing prospect. Given his intrigue and the fact that Van Slooten can play in the U16s two more times, he's most certainly a name to know moving forward.


Kay Bruhnke, Germany, 6-6 SF, 2001

Outlook
2001-born Bruhnke didn't have a monster tournament by any stretch (11.0 PER) but the 6' 6” wing who recently turned 15 in July showed enough flashes to solidify himself as one of the top prospects on the German team. Bruhnke has very good size for a wing along with good length, a developable frame and above average athleticism. He's super fluid in transition and can finish above the rim in space. Bruhnke also shows a nice foundational skill set as he's a capable spot shooter (despite a somewhat low release point with the ball coming off the side of his hand at times) and can play out of ball screens quite comfortably as well. He made an effort to change speeds and directions at times, mixed in a few Eurosteps and played with a level of confidence rare for his age. The German wing has the tools to be an adequate defender and the budding offensive game to turn in a strong tournament in 2017 as he continues to develop as a prospect.


Tarik Biberovic, Bosnia and Herzegovina, SF, 2001

Outlook
Like most 2001-born prospects in Division A, Biberovic struggled to get much going production wise (4.2 PER), but his combination of size, strength and budding offensive game make him worth keeping an eye on moving forward. Although not a great athlete, Biberovic is a legitimate 6' 6” (maybe still growing) with a very mature 200-pound frame – he may very well eventually develop into a combo forward in time. His most translatable skill is his shooting stroke at the moment. He catches on the hop, can make shots well beyond the international line, and displays excellent footwork pulling up off the dribble. Biberovic has also improved as a ball handler, although his decision making has room to improve. He's most definitely not a flawless prospect but with his size, frame and shot making ability, Biberovic should be poised for a big 2017 U16s as Bosnia barely escaped relegation with a win over Estonia.

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