Dragan Bender at the NBA Basketball Without Borders Global Camp February 23, 2015 An interview and highlights of 7-foot Croatian PF Dragan Bender from the 2015 Basketball Without Borders Global Camp in New York City during NBA All-Star Weekend.More NBA Basketball Without Borders Coverage -Rosters, Preview and Camp Analysis -Jamal Murray Highlights -Lauri Markkanen Interview and Highlights Bender, who just turned 17 three months ago, was named the MVP of the Basketball Without Borders Global Camp, after a very unselfish performance where he displayed his impressive versatility for a player his size. Bender played all three frontcourt positions over the course of the weekend, showing terrific ball-handling skills, passing ability and an emerging (albeit) streaky jump-shot. His body looks to be progressing under the careful watch of Euroleague defending champions Maccabi Tel Aviv, where he signed a seven year contract (with comfortable NBA out clauses) this past summer.
Bender is playing 28 minutes per game for Maccabi's second team, Ramat Gan, which competes in the Israeli second division. He's averaging 10 points (51% 2P%, 24% 3P%, 69% FT%), 8 rebounds, 3 assists, 3 turnovers per game on the year. He's expected to join Maccabi Tel Aviv's senior team next season and see minutes in both the Israeli first division and the Euroleague.
While his body and outside shot still have a lot of room for improvement, and he's still in the process of finding his role on the basketball court (particularly defensively) due to his uncommon combination of size and skills, he's one of the most unique prospects in the world in his age group.
[Read Full Article] 2015 Basketball Without Borders Camp Roster Analysis February 5, 2015 -The most recognizable name on this year's roster is likely Dragan Bender. After signing with defending Euroleague champions Maccabi Tel Aviv last year, fresh off an impressive performance at the FIBA U18 European Championship, the superbly talented Croatian forward has spent this season playing for Ramat Gan in the Israeli 2nd Division where he's averaging 11.1 points and 8.3 rebounds per-game. An impressively skilled, skinny 6'11 combo forward who can do a bit of everything on both ends of the floor, including handle, pass, shoot and make plays defensively, Bender's long-term position remains a bit of a question-mark, but he's widely considered the top 1997-born prospect in the world. His presence alone makes it worth the trip for NBA decision-makers, as he could certainly factor into the 2016 NBA Draft should he elect to. [Read Full Article] Nike International Junior Tournament Belgrade 2014 Scouting Reports March 7, 2014
-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. [Read Full Article] 2013 adidas EuroCamp: Day Two June 9, 2013 Croatian forward Dragan Bender has an impressive frame and showed the ability to handle the ball. Able to play inside, outside, and use his length defensively, he is an interesting talent worth tracking. [Read Full Article]