Another strong week for the Italian wonder-kid, Gallinari led Armani Jeans Milanos effort over Maccabi Tel Aviv with 20 points, 4 rebounds, 2 assists and 3 steals. Unfortunately for him and his squad, the Israeli team came away with a one-point victory, but it was still Danilo the one keeping the game in line for Milano.
Gallinari has scored in double digits in every single game he has played in, despite suffering an injury before the season started. Actually, he has clinched the 20-point mark in three out of the last five games he has taken part in. It shows his consistency, based on his willingness to get things done and his versatility, as he can either burn you from the perimeter or attack his opponents in order to look for layups or force fouls.
Anyway, Jonathan Givony attended Danilo Gallinaris last two games and has written an extensive report on him, so it wouldnt make sense to go into more detail here.
A Look at Mamadou Samb
Despite showing promise as always, Samb looks extremely raw. Hes being constantly outmuscled in a division that features plenty of veterans. Very skinny, Sambs physical development is taking time. His frame is not the worst around, and he seems to have already added some muscle from the last time we saw him, but theres a lot more work to be done.
It was very interesting to see him evolving in different situations, as Samb moved all over the court. Perimeter, high post, low post or transition. For a 6-10 kid, hes certainly very athletic, and particularly shows light feet, running the court like a deer. On the other hand, it wasnt pretty whenever he received the ball with his back to the basket, showing poor footwork and an ugly right-handed jumphook that didnt look reliable at all.
Samb delivered more intriguing stuff from the perimeter. He can shoot the ball with range out to the three-point line. His mechanics look decent, perhaps a bit slow, but anyway, he needs to gain consistency. Besides, he can put the ball on the floor showing nice ball-handling skills. He once attacked his match-up going right and performed a crossover between the legs to change directions, but unfortunately was called for travelling on the first step. Still the move looked great, showcasing excellent coordination and nice quickness. He was pretty active setting picks for his teammates, also rolling asking for the ball, but he was rarely rewarded with a pass.
Very foul prone, Samb suffers on defense due his physical shortcomings. He still cant keep up with any decent veteran low post players. Even worse, he was eventually caught off guard allowing slower opponents to take him off the dribble near the basket, probably because he was focusing on not being banged around. When it was time to clean the boards, even if his effectiveness is seriously hurt by his physical struggles fighting for position, Samb grabbed some very nice rebounds in traffic. He does seem to have good hands.
Barring dramatic progression, dont expect to see Samb in the draft or in top European competition for a few years. Right now, hes not even ready to play in LEB Oro (second division), and only averages 5.7 points and 3.7 rebounds in 17 minutes per game in LEB Plata. In a logical development of his situation, next year he should be establishing himself as a solid player in his current category, making the jump to LEB Oro for the 2009/10 season, and perhaps landing in the ACB in the 2010/11 campaign, right in time to be selected in the draft the year he becomes automatically eligible. However, you never know, as players rarely show a regular progressive evolution, particularly concerning their effectiveness on the basketball court, but instead stay pretty still or make big jumps depending on some key factors in their game. In Sambs case, the first (although not the only by any means) is likely his physical build.
State of the Prospect: Whos Hot
Semih Erden had a pretty strong showing against the almighty Panathinaikos, recording 15 points, 5 rebounds and a nice bunch of uncredited blocks, although his team Fenerbahce couldnt do anything against the Greek powerhouse. Erden showed a bit of everything, netting a nice mid-range jumper, scoring off a short left-handed hook in the low post after banging a rival, putting the ball on the floor with his left hand to attack his opponent and finish with a left-handed layup, dunking after receiving the ball on a continuation or running the floor extremely well for a one-handed dunk. He also delivered some nice blocks on the defensive end coming from the weak side. Still, even in a good game like this one, his performance was not steady. He depends too much on momentum, and whenever he gets frustrated (for whatever reason), he virtually gives up playing.
Nando de Colo led Cholet over AEK in the preliminary round of the FIBA Eurocup, averaging 21.5 points, 4.5 rebounds and 3.5 assists in the two-game series. The French guard continues his splendid season, becoming one of the most productive youngsters in his country (with the only possible competition coming from Nicolas Batum).
Andrija Stipanovic delivered his best game of the season, recording 20 points, 4 assists and a whopping 17 rebounds against Vojvodina in the Adriatic League. The 6-10 Croatian big man, born in 1986, is emerging as one of the key players in Split, and this season averages 12.8 points and 7.2 rebounds.
State of the Prospect: Whos Not
One of the most prolific teams producing young talent in Europe, FMP, is going through a roster crisis. The team announced last week that it has decided to part ways with Ivan Zigeranovic, Dorde Micic and Nenad Stefanovic. To replace them, five youngsters from the junior squad are being promoted to the first team. They are Stefan Zivanovic, Nikola Markovic, Ivan Smiljanic, Dejan Musli and Marko Gacinovic. The first three were members of the U-18 Serbian National Team, while Musli earned MVP honors at the U-16 European Championship, leading his country to the gold.
Regarding these changes president of FMP, Nebojsa Covic, said: This is just one step forward of making our team even younger. About our head coach Vukojicic, we support him 100%. We are not kind of the team who needs to win the trophies every season. No, we prefer to work and to base on a long term results so with these changes FMP will have much younger team and we expect a lot from them in the future.
Draft-wise, obviously the most interesting move here is the promotion of Dejan Musli, one of the very top 1991 international prospects, to the first team, which could provide him valuable experience, against excellent competition. Hes a guy who could probably hold his own on the defensive end against veterans. Offensively, he will likely struggle, but it can be useful for him in order to start getting used to bigger opponents, and develop a better skill repertoire to overcome them, as he wont be able to simply rely on physical superiority to score.
On the other hand, this revolution in the roster somehow breaks a trend the team had successfully followed in the past years, promoting their players step by step, never rushing on moving them to the first team, actually using Borac Cacak -playing in the Serbian first division- and FMP II -in the second division- as a bridge between the junior squad and FMP, so whenever a player finally made it to the first team, he would be ready to contribute at the top Balkan level.
The massive selling of players in the past few seasons has likely forced this measure. Actually, its pretty ironic that the teams president talks about the results of their long-term efforts. Thats half true. The main goal of this team is to make money by selling players. Period. Whenever these youngsters become good solid players, they will be dealt, which is of course a legitimate policy. The sale of Milos Teodosic, the cornerstone of the team with no possible replacement in the club, was the latest proof. He had too high a value in the market for FMP to risk waiting another season for the sake of the teams results.