Luka Samanic, 6-10, Forward, Barcelona 2000
-Wide shoulders. Frame should fill out nicely in time. Super fluid for his size. Great feet. Can finish above the rim in space.
-Really stood out as a passer for stretches. Very patient on the block finds cutters and shooters. Can drive and dish or kick from the perimeter. Able to grab, go and facilitate in transition. Decision making can improve, but has the vision and feel to be an elite passer in time.
-Showed his touch as a shooter out to three. At his best picking and popping to space. 30% from three and 83% from the free throw line. Gets good rotation. Should develop into a very reliable shooter as he refines his mechanics.
-Comfortable straight line driving from the perimeter. Can mix in basic crossovers. Will be able to play off of closeouts comfortably as a perimeter four man, especially if his jumper becomes more reliable.
-Can operate on the block. Uses quick spins, stretch finishes. Very nimble feet.
-Shows flashes of physicality and toughness. Good instincts on the glass even though he doesn't always scrap like he could.
-Very impressive moments stepping out and defending the perimeter. Will be an asset as a pick and roll switch defender. Decent timing rotating from the weakside for blocks.
-Nice frame, but still quite thin. No chest or rear. Average length.
-Mental approach is still a work in progress. Doesn't always play with toughness or passion. Has a very apathetic demeanor at times. Wasn't all that excited when the team won the championship, possibly because he didn't play well. Very good when he plays with tenacity, but that doesn't always happen. Can be a better teammate.
-Decision making still a work in progress. Shows flashes as a passer then will play with his head down and go into his predetermined move. Learning how to play instinctually.
-Shooting mechanics break down when heavily contested. Forward lean. Can improve his shot prep and the speed of his release.
-Defensive toughness comes and goes. Doesn't have the length or body to bail him out right now. Needs to play with maximum effort to have an impact on that end.
-Doesn't always sit down in a stance when guarding the perimeter. Relies solely on natural ability, not technique. Coaches have to get on him to play with his hands up.
-Focus on the defensive glass can improve. Has instincts but doesn't always want to mix it up down there.
-Shies away from contact around the rim at times. Very right handed around the rim. Can improve his ability to finish in a crowd.
Samanic was arguably the best long-term prospect in L'Hospitalet by virtue of his size, fluidity, passing ability, shooting potential and switch-ability defensively. With that said, his inconsistency in the effort department was a bit concerning. There were times when he looked very uninterested on the floor and his body language and maturity have a lot of room for growth moving forward. He's most definitely a unique talent, and he's still 16 years old in a tough Barcelona environment. How he responds to the adversity he's facing with the Spanish club will go a long way in determining how likely he is to maximize his potential.
Luka Samanic, 6-10, Forward, Croatia, 2000
-Excellent physical profile for a perimeter four man at 6' 10 with a great frame, an 8' 10.5. standing reach and tremendous fluidity.
-Moves like a wing. Super light on his feet. Can get out and fill the lanes in transition. Finishes above the rim with ease in space off of one foot.
-Budding offensive skill set (20.0 points and 2.1 made threes per 40) that starts out on the perimeter. Although his mechanics could use some work he has soft touch out to 3-point range. Very good in trail situations. Gets great rotation. Can make a rhythm pull up as well.
-Excellent at attacking in a straight line going either right or left. Good body control. Can pick and pop to space and put it down going to the rim. Uses basic right to left crossovers or through the legs dribbles from the perimeter.
-Not a back to the basket player but has solid footwork and can make a right-handed jump hook. Will mix in an occasional quick spin.
-Knows how to play. Will force up tough shots at times but has a good feel and plays with patience more often than not. Has vision from the post and perimeter 3.1 assists per 40 minutes.
-Doesn't project as a defensive anchor but he has strong tools and instincts defensively. Understands positioning. Above average reach, quick leaping ability and strong timing allows him to protect the rim at a decent rate 3.2 blocks per 40 minutes.
- Light enough on his feet to step out and guard the perimeter. Covers ground quickly on closeouts. Blocks jumpers regularly. Should be able to be an asset switching ball screens in time.
-Good instincts on the defensive glass when he's fully motivated. Quick to the ball with soft hands. 9.5 defensive rebounds per 40 minutes.
-Has considerable upside given his age, tools, budding skill set and feel for the game.
-Good reach but doesn't have elite length with a 6' 10 wingspan. Plays above the rim in space off of one foot but isn't quite as explosive off of two feet, especially from a standstill.
-Toughness and motor tend to come and go. Aggressive for stretches but will go through the motions from time to time. Doesn't always run the floor hard. Can pursue defensive rebounds more consistently.
-Allows paint touches without putting up much of a fight. Not the most naturally physical player. A little light in the rear. Can improve his ability to play through contact on both ends of the floor.
-Fundamentals guarding the perimeter have room to improve. Doesn't always recover with high hands out of pick and roll. Gets lost chasing shooters around screens. Can be a bit upright when defending on the ball. Somewhat foul prone at this stage.
-Budding offensive skill set but his shooting mechanics could use some fine-tuning 33.3% from three. Forward lean into his jumper with an inconsistent landing spot. Has great touch but becoming more mechanically sound should improve his consistency.
-Good ball handler for his size but isn't quite polished enough to be a wing at this stage. Handle is a bit high and loose. Not quite comfortable enough to play with his head up when attempting to use advanced moves from the perimeter. Not going to create space and get into a jumper off the dribble while contested (although he can make rhythm pull ups with time and space).
-Nice feel overall but will turn right into help defenders when operating out of the post. Can be stronger with the ball versus double teams.
-Has a lot of natural talent and physical ability but is still putting it all together and turning it into consistent and efficient production 43.8% from two.
The 6' 10 Croatian forward was arguably the best long-term prospect at the U16 Euros given his blend of physical tools, offensive skills, and defensive instincts. The next few years will be crucial for Samanic's development as becoming more physical on both ends and refining his offensive skill set will play a big role in how he's able to maximize his impressive potential. Samanic is a unique and intriguing prospect whose overall profile suggest that he could very well develop into an eventual high draft pick who could have a positive impact at the NBA level for quite some time.
Luka Samanic, who won't turn 16 until September, measured a whopping 6'9 without shoes, with an average 6'10 wingspan, but his 33.5 inch maximum vertical leap is terrific for a European forward regardless of age. A strong athlete with a budding skill level who can shoot the ball with some range and attack off the bounce a bit, Samanic is an exceptionally sized wing player with a very bright future.
Luka Samanic, 6'9, Small Forward, Croatia, Barcelona, 15 years old
One of the most highly touted prospects in his generation (2000), Luka Samanic did not disappoint with what he showed at the adidas Next Generation portion of the EuroCamp. Only 15 years old, Samanic already stands a towering 6'8 if not 6'9 in shoes, but is clearly a wing player at this point in his development. The son of a former basketball player who played in Germany and Slovenia and is now the GM of a team in the Croatian league, Samanic grew up breakdancing, but decided to focus solely on basketball not too long ago.
He's a fluid athlete with some impressive explosiveness for a player his age, and a frame that should fill out extremely well in the not too distant future. He can handle the ball creatively, including to push the ball in the open court, play pick and roll, create in one on one situations, or find the open man. He also demonstrates nice potential as a shooter with smooth and consistent mechanics, even if he's not what you could call a knockdown guy just yet, particularly off the bounce.
Samanic is still figuring out how good he can be at this stage, and doesn't always bring a high level of intensity or the most consistent approach to the game, which is not a shock considering how young he is and how little experience he has. That is particularly noticable on the defensive end, where he seemingly just goes through the motions and doesn't really show great toughness, physically or mentally, which might not cut it down the road considering his average length. His body langage is not the best at the moment, as he can get a bit aloof at times, but that might be a byproduct of the amount of hype he's already generating for himself at such a young age.
Samanic recently signed a two year amateur contract with Barcelona, which gives him the flexibility to decide what his next move might be at the conclusion of his high school career. That may include the possibility of attending a US college depending on how things play out.