Player of the Week: Luca Vitali
One of the key pieces of the teams core is an unorthodox and versatile youngster who answers by the name of Luca Vitali, and who can play all three positions on the perimeter. Hes not athletic at all and doesnt deliver any flashy moves, indeed hes not a player whose game jumps out at you, but Vitali is one of the most solid youngsters you can find in Europe. He can shoot, he can pass, hes really smart, and he enjoys excellent size to play in the backcourt.
Coming off a 23-point performance in the Italian Cup, Luca completed his 20+ back-to-back effort with 21 points and 4 assists in a road victory over Scavolini Pesaro. He connected on the winning shot, an NBA-range three-pointer with 6 seconds to go that decided the game in Premiatas favor.
Vitali is averaging 11.2 points, 2.2 rebounds, 3 assists and 2.3 steals, coming off the bench to provide perimeter firepower and some real playmaking skills, easily leading his team in assists. Hes mature beyond his years and enjoys an excellent basketball IQ, emerging as a reliable player that nobody fears to put on the court.
Beyond that, theres not much NBA potential to speak of. His lack of athleticism is blatant in terms of the American league. But he should be able step up for some big team in Europe down the road.
State of the Prospect: Whos Hot
Check it out:
Joe Ingles followed his countryman with an excellent showing against the Sydney Kings, 24 points and 4 rebounds, that still were not enough to help the Dragons the bottom ranked team- beat the league leader. Although he only recorded 1 assist in this game, Ingles ranks 4th in the NBL with 4.9 per game, which is pretty impressive for a wing player. His season is now over, and from what weve been told, he is headed to the States next month to prepare for the draft.
Chen Jianghua delivered a couple of 17-point performances while helping Guangdong move 3 games up on Liaoning in the CBA Finals. Chen keeps playing an offensive spark role, but its interesting to note his terrific percentages. He credits throughout the season on making 64.5% in field goals, almost unheard of for a guard, including a superb 52.6% on three pointers. The trick relies in the huge amount of layups in transition that he scores regularly by taking advantage of his quickness. Still his behind-the-arc accuracy does show a nice improvement in his shooting stroke.
State of the Prospect: Whos Not
Rounding Up Cup Fever
While we were busy the previous week covering the Spanish Copa del Rey, we cant overlook what happened in other countries cups, especially when many youngsters emerged as very important players in their respective tournaments.
Two guys stand out above the rest: Nando de Colo and Milenko Tepic. Both earned MVP honors while leading their teams to the French and Serbian titles.
De Colo is one of the hottest names in Europe right now, and his performance in La Semaine des As, leading one of the bottom-seeded teams -Cholet- to victory, has created some serious buzz. In the three Cup games, he averaged 19 points, 6.3 rebounds (12 in the Final), 4.3 assists and 2 steals.
Meanwhile, Tepic seems to be rebounding after some sort of hiatus at some point of this season, right in time to shine at the Radivoj Korac Cup. His best game came in the semifinal against FMP, when he erupted for 27 points and 4 assists.
Closely following them, Anton Ponkrashov enjoyed a huge role in Khimkis shocking win in the Russian Cup (a Final Four tournament with a level only comparable in Europe to the Spanish Copa del Rey). In the semifinal against Dynamo Moscow, he dished out a whopping 12 assists, only to switch to scoring mode in the final and end up with 16 points and 3 assists in a very convincing victory against the almighty CSKA.
Back to the French Cup, Alexis Ajinca deserves a very special mention. For a guy who barely got consistent minutes during the season, to blossom for 14 rebounds and 7 blocks in the quarterfinal, is quite notable. He is apparently strongly considering attending the Nike Hoop Summit this year once again (along with possibly Serge Ibaka, Giorgi Shermadini and fellow Frenchman Nicolas Batumaccording to rumors)
It didnt finish there; other notables included Ante Tomic, Gasper Vidmar, Goran Dragic or the aforementioned Luca Vitali. It was a productive Cup week.
-This years Douai Tournament will be held in Douai, France from June 25th to 29th. The age groups represented will be from 1989, 1990, and 1991, from the following countries:
As part of the Adidas Nations program (which we attended in New Orleans), the US team will bring a pretty strong roster, featuring some top high school juniors like Tyreke Evans, Lance Stephenson, Luke Babbitt and others.
In addition to the seven teams mentioned above, Douai will also showcase a group of 12 African prospects also playing under the Adidas Nations umbrella. Youssoupha Mbao and Negueba Samake were two names mentioned already as participants.
Douais official website: http://www.tournoi-douai.com will be providing updates on the tournament over the next few months via a webcast.