Lovro Mazalin, 6-7, SG/SF, Cedevita, Croatia, 1997
-Great size for a wing player
-Very good athlete
-Can create his own shot effectively in the half-court
-Good potential on the pick and roll
-Highly creative player. Can find teammates in impressive fashion. 5.8 assists per-40
-Strong finisher around the basket. Can play above the rim
-Plays through contact
-Very good potential defensively. Gets in a low stance, moves feet and can stay in front of smaller player
-Gets in the passing lanes frequently.
-Fiery, competitive player
-A little wild at times. Tries to do too much. Turnover prone. 4.7 turnovers per-40 in Belgrade
-Inconsistent shooter for most of his career thus far. Showed solid mechanics and looks to be improving in this area. Still knocked down only 25% of his 3-point attempts in Belgrade and 67% of his free throws.
-Body language can be very poor at times. Blames, belittles, complains to teammates when things aren't going his way. Doesn't appear to be the most pleasant guy around.
Outlook: Looked to be the most promising long-term prospect at the tournament. Already seeing some minor minutes at the senior level with Cedevita in the Adriatic League and EuroCup, and clearly that's paying off. Size, athleticism, defensive prowess and ability to operate off the dribble give him excellent long-term potential. Needs to continue to improve as an outside shooter, but already appears to be making nice strides. On-court behavior and demeanor is somewhat of a concern, and somewhat scouts would certainly like to see him improve on as he matures. MVP of the Jordan Brand Classic International game in 2013.
Dragan Bender, 6-11, SF/PF, Cedevita, Croatia, 1997
-Very interesting physical profile. Around 6-11, with long arms and a frame that should fill out nicely in time
-Smooth, fluid player. Long strides. Very mobile
-Excellent feel for the game. Makes highly intelligent passes. 4.9 assists per-40
-Uses length to make plays defensively. Averaged 2 steals and 2.3 blocks per-40 (and 10 rebounds) in Belgrade.
-Ridiculously young. Won't turn 17 until November
-Passive player with questionable mental and physical toughness
-Very deferential on the court even against clearly inferior competition. Looks to be a little too nice at times
-Not much of a scorer, somewhat by choice, but also due to an average skill-level
-Streaky outside shooter
-Doesn't have the strength or footwork to use his size to score inside the paint over smaller opponents
-Struggles to play through contact around the basket
-No real position or role right now. Is he a big small forward or a lanky face-up power forward?
-Can make plays defensively with length and feel, but will have to work hard to continue to improve in this area
-Struggles to get low to the ground and thus gets blown by very easily. Gets backed down inside when guarding stronger big men
Outlook: Tremendously unique and talented young prospect who has a long ways to go to realize his terrific potential. Fairly well known in Europe already, despite his age. Was invited to Croatia's U16 National team already at the age of 14. Started to see some minutes in the Croatian league as a professional at age 15. Played in the Jordan Brand Classic international game in 2013. May join Croatian legend Nikola Vujcic at Maccabi Tel Aviv next season. Could go many ways with his development long term, as he's so incredibly young still.
Vojislav Stojanovic, 6-6, Shooting Guard, Red Star, Serbia, 1997
-Solid height for a wing
-Possesses a strong, mature frame
-4th leading scorer in the entire NIJT at 26.7 points per-40
-Very aggressive player
-Attacks in transition. Bounces off opponents. Finds a lot of easy baskets
-Smart player. Knows how to play
-Can create for teammates. Good in drive and dish situations. Can play a little pick and roll
-Likes to play with his back to the basket. Bullies weaker opponents
-Shows some potential as an outside shooter. Can shoot with his feet set. Solid mechanics
-Not particularly athletic. A little bit upright or stiff in his stance
-Lateral quickness is average
-Streaky outside shooter. Takes a lot of 3-pointers, made only 32% in Belgrade. Hit 25% of his attempts at the U16 European Championships last summer, and 44% of his free throws
Outlook: MVP of the Tournament. Tough, aggressive wing player who is incredibly mature for his age. Tremendous scorer at youth level. Attacks in open floor, crashes the glass, posts up, and finishes very well around the basket. Has already seen some minor minutes with Red Star's senior team at the Adriatic League level, which is impressive considering he's still only 16 years old. Extent of his upside remains to be seen as he's not exceptionally athletic and a lot of his production comes off his sheer strength and aggressiveness. Continuing to improve his outside shooting is certainly a must.
Ante Zizic, 6-10, Center, Cedevita, Croatia, 1997
-Physical specimen of a big man. Long arms. Excellent frame. Good athlete. Huge hands. Big shoulders. Well proportioned
-Highly competitive inside player. Doesn't back down from contact. Likes to play in the paint
-Excellent shot-blocker. Led the entire NIJT at 6.6 blocks per-40
-Has a little bit of a back to the basket game. Can establish position and score around the rim. Solid touch. Draws plenty of fouls
-Good finisher. Can catch, gather and dunk off two feet in one motion
-A 6-10 center. Will he grow another inch or two?
-Needs to continue to fill out frame and gain strength
-Only made 45% of his free throw attempts
-Still working on developing his footwork and post moves
Outlook: Very promising big man prospect, particularly if he's still growing. Very effective at this level of competition, but shows plenty of upside to continue to improve as he matures. Will be an interesting player to track down the road.
Cyrille Eliezer-Vanerot, 6-7, Small Forward, INSEP, France, 1996
-Good size, length and frame for a small forward
-Can beat opponents off the dribble with a quick first step
-Good shooting mechanics with feet set
-Shows potential as a catch and shoot threat. Made 1.6 3-pointers per game
-Very good potential defensively
-Does a great job getting in the passing lanes
-Still transitioning to playing on the perimeter full time
-Poor ball-handler in half-court. Struggles to create his own shot effectively. Low 2-point percentages. Doesn't get to the free throw line very often
-Extremely turnover prone
-Doesn't create offense for others
-Shooting mechanics are inconsistent under duress. Possesses a slow release. Sometimes elevates and shoots ball on way down with a very flat arc. Struggles to make shots off the dribble.
-Doesn't rebound the way you would expect at this level of competition considering his physical tools.
-Feel for the game is questionable
Outlook: Looks the part of a classic 3'n'D prospect with his size, length, athleticism, defensive potential and ability to make shots with feet set. Has made legitimate strides with his game since we last saw him a year ago, far more than many of his teammates. Has plenty of work to do to continue to improve, but has many of the tools scouts look for in a small forward prospect long-term.
Ywen Smock, 6-9, PF/C, INSEP, France, 1996
-Phenomenal frame for a player his age. Chiseled physique
-Excellent timing as a shot-blocker. Legitimate rim protector. Ranks 3rd in all NIJT play with 4.7 blocks per-40
-Very good finisher around the basket. Explosive
-Solid offensive rebounder
-Quick feet defensively. Can step out and hedge the pick and roll with
-Surprisingly good passer. 4.1 assists per-40. Somewhat of an outlier for his career so something to track
-Has the size of a power forward but the game of a center
-Very raw offensive player. Skill level is poor. Struggles to do much offensively outside of catching and finishing around the basket
-Footwork is poor. No left hand
-Shot-selection is questionable. Doesn't really know his limitations
-Extremely turnover prone
-Made just 38% of his free throw attempts
-Not as good of a defensive rebounder as you might expect considering his physical tools. 4.9 rebounds per-40
-Extremely emotional. Bad temper and body language. Constantly complaining to coaches and teammates. Maturity level is questionable at best
Outlook: Undersized center with excellent athleticism and a terrific frame. Talented player who leaves serious question marks about his long-term potential due to his poor on-court behavior and demeanor.
Norbert Janicek, 6-10, Center, Canarias Basketball Academy, Slovakia, 1996
-Good size and strong frame
-Extremely effective scorer at this level of competition. Posted over 30 points per-40, tops amongst all players in NIJT competitions.
-Extremely efficient at 67% from the field
-Can score with his back to the basket
-Terrific coming off pin-downs and cuts
-Scores with both hands and excellent touch. Uses the glass well
-Solid rebounder. 12.7 per-40 at the NIJT. 12.6 per-40 at U18 European Championship Division B.
-Not particularly fluid or athletic
-Doesn't possess a diverse back to the basket arsenal. Could stand to improve his footwork and post moves against higher level competition
-Made just 43% of his free throw attempts in Belgrade. 58% in U18 last summer.
-Average defender at best. Lacks great awareness or athleticism on this side of the floor. Did not get a single block or steal in nearly 100 minutes of action in Belgrade.
Outlook: Very effective player at this level. Scored in simple fashion off seemingly the same play over and over again. Will need to improve his versatility to translate his effectiveness playing against better big men competition than he saw here, but is undoubtedly a solid prospect for almost any level of college basketball.
Stephane Gombauld, 6-8, Power Forward, INSEP, France, 1997
-Long wingspan and gigantic hands
-Very good athlete. Quick and explosive
-Terrific transition scorer and all-around finisher around the basket. 59% 2P%
-Can attack opposing power forwards from the elbow or short corner with a quick first step
-Draws fouls in bunches thanks to activity level and quickness around the basket. 10 free throw attempts per-40 minutes
-Excellent rebounder on both ends of the floor
-Has the potential to defend multiple positions. Gets in the passing lanes frequently
-Just turned 17. Extremely young
-Body looks virtually the same as it did last year. Hasn't grown or filled out
-Still more of an inside player at 6-8, which raises some question marks about his tweener status
-Skill-level is fairly limited. Poor ball-handler in half-court court. Looks out of control whenever he needs to dribble more than once or twice
-Cannot shoot at all seemingly. 0/5 from beyond the arc. 61% FT%
-Size of hands and grip on basketball could make it difficult to develop his outside shot
Outlook: Young, athletic forward who was one of the most productive scorers at the NIJT at 26 points per-40 (5th best in competition). Too long, quick and aggresive for most European big men his age inside the paint at this level of competition. Missed a significant part of the year with a hand injury and hasn't done much to improve his body or skill-level from the perimeter. Will he continue to be as effective inside the arc as other players catch up physically?
Yankuba Sima, 6-10, Center, Canarias Basketball Academy, Spain, 1996
-Very athletic big man with an excellent wingspan and a frame that will fill out nicely in time
-Tremendous rebounder. 15 per-40 in Belgrade
-Excellent timing as a shot-blocker. 5.3 per-40. Legit rim protector
-High energy player who competes admirably
-Very limited offensive player. 6.1 points per-40 minutes shooting 33% for 2
-Doesn't really know his limitations. Settles for some highly questionable shots. No ability to operate with his back to the basket. Shows limited touch.
-Made 25% of his free throw attempts
Outlook: Spanish big man of African descent who appears to be on the college track. Can be a very useful rotational piece for a good college team as he has excellent length, athleticism and timing as a rebounder/shot-blocker. Will need to develop the rest of his game to improve his NBA prospects, but he's only 17 so time is on his side.
Milos Glisic, 6-8, Power Forward, Partizan Belgrade, Bosnia, 1998
-Very strong frame for his age
-Only 15 years old at this tournament, but one of the most productive players (18 points, 9 rebounds per-40) nevertheless.
-Excellent scoring instincts
-Not particularly skilled in any one area, but finds ways to put the ball in the basket
-Very good offensive rebounder
-Makes strong cuts off the ball
-Can attack opposing power forwards from the elbow or short corner with a strong first step
-Good touch around the basket
-Doesn't turn the ball over
-Made 87% of his free throw attempts
-Good feel for the game. Really knows how to play
-Competitive, no-nonsense guy
-Doesn't have a great body
-Doesn't show great range on his jumper yet. 1/8 3P
-Struggles on defense. Poor lateral quickness
-How much upside does he still have?
Outlook: Bosnian Serb playing for Partizan. Was two years younger than most of the players here. Extremely precocious. Brutally effective considering his age. Already saw minutes for the U16 Serbian National team at the age of 14 in the European Championships. Is he simply more mature and physically developed than everyone else? Only time will tell.
Aleksandar Novosel, 6-3, Point Guard, Buducnost, Montenegro, 1996
-Good size for a point guard at 6-2 or maybe 6-3
-Good quickness. Solid first step
-Very effective in transition
-Can create his own shot in the half-court. Drives left or right. Solid ball-handler.
-Finishes well around the basket
-Good pick and roll potential
-Can make shots with his feet set. 44% 3-point shooter in Belgrade. 90% FT%
-Puts solid pressure on the ball defensively. Good lateral quickness
-Doesn't have a great frame
-Wingspan is average
-Played both guard spots for his team, relied on more for scoring than distribution
-Needs to improve his left hand for finishes
-Only 4/9 from beyond the arc at the tournament, is his outside shot for real? He struggled badly from beyond the arc, and even the free throw line, at the national team level in the past.
Outlook: Speedy scoring point guard who had a very nice tournament in Belgrade. Someone to keep an eye on as he makes the transition to the senior level to see how his tools translate.
Stefan Lazarevic, 6-6, SG/SF, Red Star, Serbia, 1996
-Good size for a wing. Solid athlete
-Acted as a pseudo point guard in the half-court for Red Star. Averaged 7.6 assists per-40 with a 2/1 assist to turnover ratio
-Smart player. Makes extra pass. Understands limitations
-Good footwork. Attacks opponents with both hands.
-Tremendous rebounder. Hauled in 14 rebounds per-40, second best at the NIJT Belgrade.
-Extremely poor shooter. Didn't make a single 3-pointer at the tournament. Made just one 3-pointer in 250 minutes at the U16 European Championships. Made 50% of free throw attempts at the NIJT
-Somewhat of a jack of all trades, master of none
Outlook: Impressed with his motor and ability to get teammates involved, but like many Red Star/FMP players, is mainly taking advantage of his superior strength, maturity and aggressiveness at this level to overwhelm weaker and more naïve opponents, sometimes from the power forward position. Very effective at this level of competition. Will have to improve his outside shot significantly to find a role at the pro level.
Jonathan Jeanne, 7-0, PF/C, INSEP, France, 1997
-Has great height and length
-Very mobile for a player his size
-Surprisingly skilled for where he's at in his development. Scored 19 points per-40 shooting 77% for 2.
-Can step outside and make an outside shot with excellent touch
-Very fundamentally sound
-Shows nice footwork and some post moves, just too frail to execute them against contact on a regular basis
-Very good feel for the game. Makes extra pass. Smart outlets
-Looks competitive and hard-working
-Incredibly frail, particularly in the lower body. Many many years away from physical maturity
-Very raw prospect. Struggles badly to play through contact.
-Extremely poor rebounder. 4.7 rebounds per-40. Did not block a single shot or draw a free throw in his 60 minutes on the court
-Can't stay on the court for very long
Outlook: A long ways away from making serious contributions at most levels of competition, but he's just a baby at 16 years old. Shows some very interesting potential that simply can't be taught with his size, length and budding offensive skill-level, provided he's developed carefully. INSEP's track record in that regard isn't the best, though. How much weight he can add to his frame long-term?
Chris Tang, 6-4, Shooting Guard, Canarias Basketball Academy, China, 1996
-Excellent scoring instincts
-Highly aggressive player
-Very good shooter with feet set or off the dribble
-Can finish with floaters around the basket
-Will create for teammates some in drive and dish situations
-Average size and frame for a shooting guard
-Shoot-first player who plays a low-efficiency style of basketball
-Settles for tough shots
-Doesn't see the floor very well
-Struggles to create good shots for himself in the half-court. Doesn't get all the way to the basket
-Rarely gets to free throw line
Outlook: Chinese player with an American style game. Plays with personality and has good instincts for putting the ball in the basket. Highly aggressive player who primarily looks for his own shot and doesn't do much else at this stage. Will need to round out his game at the college level to improve his pro prospects in Europe, but will certainly be a hot commodity among CBA teams.