U18 European Championships: Quarterfinals HeatJuly 26, 2006
The most prolific scorer of the tournament is, at the moment, the Bulgarian Chavdar Kostov. To say prolific doesn't really reflect the kind of scoring effort this guy delivers; Kostov is a voracious player capable of adding points in virtually any imaginable way that the game allows him to.
He was already the top scorer of the preliminary round, but he waited to face one of the best perimeter defenses of the tournament, Serbia and Montenegro, to erupt for a 39-point performance, going 12/19 from the floor. It could have been a higher mark; he was quite tired by the second half, and his teammates didn't really collaborate as much as it would have been desired looking for him in the offensive end. He single-handedly kept Bulgaria in the game (even if the usual ten-point difference didn't look realistically possible to overcome given the strength of the Serbian squad), feeding up the frustration of his defenders, who were incapable of containing him no matter how intense they were.
It's really not that much a matter of physical or athletic dominance. At 6-5, Kostov has just decent size and average athleticism for a wing. What makes him a unique player is his unbelievable array of skills to put the ball in the basket. Shooting, slashing, even posting up his defender, he plays all over the court. He can release his jumper from any place, in any sort of fashion. He finishes around the hoop with both hands and a great variety of layups.
You name it, he has it. Truly an amazing display.
Kostov doesn't care if he has a defender in his face; he will fake, change directions or just unexpectedly go up for the jumper. There seems to be a special connection between him and the net, to the point that most of his perimeter shots gently swish through the basket.
Still, Kostov has slowed down in the last two games. Turkey and Spain delivered special defensive attention on him, and while he did a good job passing the ball off the dribble against Turkey, he stubbornly and unsuccessfully looked for points versus the very strong Spanish defense.
Kostov's potential seems limited by his physical shortcomings and maturity, so talking about a hypothetical NBA future is not reasonable at this point. However, he should become a very nice player for Europe.
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