|Team: Real Madrid|
H: 6' 6"|
W: 172 lbs
(31 Years Old)
Current: SG |
Hometown: Palma de Mallorca, Spain
Drafted: Pick 24 in 2007 by Suns
Best Case: Kevin Martin
Worst Case: Sasha Vujacic
|Year||Source||Height w/o Shoes||Height w/shoes||Weight||Wingspan||Standing Reach||Body Fat||No Step Vert||Max Vert|
|2005||NBA Pre-Draft Camp||6' 4.75"||6' 6"||172||6' 7.5"||8' 5.5"||NA||26.5||35.5|
|Year||Source||Height w/o Shoes||Height w/shoes||Weight||Wingspan||Standing Reach||Body Fat||No Step Vert||Max Vert|
|2005||NBA Pre-Draft Camp||6' 4.75"||6' 6"||172||6' 7.5"||8' 5.5"||NA||26.5||35.5|
This Copa del Rey has just confirmed that Rudy Fernandez is head and shoulders above any other player in the ACB League, and one of the very top performers across Europe. He has blossomed this season into a massive scorer and a nightmare for opposing defenses, particularly relying on a fantastic shooting touch that allows him to put the ball in the net from anywhere on the court. He always had showed a nice stroke whenever he was left open, but this season he’s especially standing out by his ability to create his own shot (a la Belinelli, but the Spaniard actually makes them), being able to connect on some pretty wild jumpers.
You just can’t concede Rudy any opportunity, because he will bury you with a barrage of shots in the blink of an eye. Enjoying NBA range, effective off the dribble and even fade-away moves, and extremely quick with the release of the ball, the only way to stop Fernández is to make him pay for his relatively limited ball-handling skills, especially with his left, and slashing ability. Indeed, Rudy struggles in pure one-on-one situations if he’s pressured, as it was exposed particularly in the semifinal. Suffering against aggressive on-ball defenses, he struggled trying to get rid of his opponent off the dribble, and given his prominence in Joventut’s offense, it almost cost his team the game.
Rudy needs to be already in motion or to enjoy some kind of advantage (a screen, an unbalanced defense, a mismatch) in order to break that first defensive opposition—but once he manages it, he’s extremely difficult to stop, thanks to his long strides, good footwork, and crafty finishing ability around the rim. He doesn’t need to find the layup, as he can stop somewhere in the paint to release his mid-range jumper while hanging in the air. He delivered a lot of that stuff in the final, paving his way to an outstanding 32-point outing that crowned his MVP performance in the Copa.
Having a nice feel for the game (even if he might eventually force too much trying to create his own shot, as it happened in the semifinal), Rudy can also officiate as a creator for his teammates thanks to his passing game. He sees the court pretty well, and shows a quick mind to take decisions. He did nice work here in the quarterfinal game, throwing some excellent passes, including consecutive alley-oop lobs, which fueled the spectacular aggressive and up-tempo style that Joventut likes to put in practice. He outdid himself in the semifinal, though, coming up with 9 assists to make Real Madrid pay for the defensive attention he was receiving.
Defense doesn’t look like a high priority for Rudy at this point. He’s not the most aggressive on-ball defender, and he’s not putting much energy into stopping his matchups. Enjoying a much larger offensive role this year, he’s probably saving some efforts. He’s a skinny guy who might get eventually outmuscled, but his length and quickness make up for it whenever he’s focused on this department. He fully takes part in the intense gambling style of defense that his team employs, staying aggressive in the passing lanes at all times to come up with a large amount of steals each game. Joventut is by a huge margin the team with the best steal/turnover ratio in the ACB league, and Rudy replicates this trend by coming up with more steals than turnovers during the regular season. However, in this Copa he caused 13 turnovers, with only 3 steals to speak of.
Already one of the very top players in Europe, Rudy seems more than ready to take the next step to the NBA. Even if he settled down as a shooting specialist (and he’s capable of playing a significantly bigger role), he should emerge as a valuable piece for the Portland Trail Blazers.
A pretty nice sign of maturity is to show consistency throughout a season; with logical picks and valleys, Rudy Fernandez is delivering game after game, week after week, finally emerging as the go-to player for DKV Joventut, a top-16 team in the Euroleague this year and currently a top-4 team in the Spanish ACB League. No other young player in Europe can compete with these kinds of credentials this season.
That's why there weren’t many possibilities of being wrong this time: Rudy Fernandez has been head and shoulders the best youngster in the Euroleague, and he has been rightfully rewarded with the Euroleague Rising Star Trophy. This is the third edition of this award, and previous winners were Erazem Lorbek and Andrea Bargnani, both deservedly, although also not nearly such clear-cut picks, even to the point of being questionable selections.
To feed the intrigue, Rudy continued with his franchise-player impersonation in the ACB League. Just once has he missed the 9-point mark in the domestic competition, and this past week he just recorded his third back-to-back +20-point performance. Actually, he’s going through a nice run, as he’s averaging 23 points in the last four games.
The week started against arch-rivals F.C.Barcelona, the hottest team in the second half of the ACB regular season. Joventut trailed for virtually the entire game, with gross differences in the first half, but they fought their way back, only to lose it by 5 points. Rudy was part of that comeback, with a superb fourth quarter and plenty of activity throughout the game. He surely suffered on defense against Juan Carlos Navarro in the first quarter (actually, the entire Joventut team did, which is logical when we talk about arguably the best scorer in Europe), but Rudy gave some serious headaches to Barcelona’s defense himself, finishing with 20 points, 4 rebounds, 3 assists and 3 steals.
|Rudy has become a star in his own right on the Old Continent – Photo: Euroleague|
After overcoming an early injury that limited his productivity early to a certain extent, it quickly became obvious who the most productive under 22 player in the world is at the international level. Fresh off a gold medal with the Spanish national team in the recent World Championships, Rudy Fernández has been impressive and at sometimes unstoppable during the entire Euroleague season, erasing almost all doubts scouts had of him from his play in the past. There were question marks about his leadership skills, continuous stability, outside shooting stroke, and his ability to emerge as his team's first offensive option, but Fernández answered those with flying colors in emerging as one of the top players in the Euroleague period regardless of age..
In what has been a dream season so far for Rudy, there can't be a single doubter who won't admit that Rudy has improved dramatically, both on the court as well as in the mental part of the game too. Sure, his first step remains a liability and he still isn't a top player when it comes to creating his own shot. But this is finally the time that he is using his athleticism the way he should and he is emerging like a real scorer, a true star, not a simple contributor. And all that while being a rookie in such a competitive league.
Getting to his game, Rudy has created many headaches for opponents with his offensive presence. He is getting stronger, is mobile and athletic, focused, enthusiastic and highly competitive. He runs the floor particularly well, can cut impressively and has a great feel for the game, while his hunger for winning is only getting stronger over the course of the season. He slashes well, has some natural shortcomings with his dribble and some one-on-one difficulties, but finishes spectacularly well and, overall, knows how to use his body and pull out defenses. He shoots well behind the arc, although he has still a lot of work to do with his off the dribble jumpshot. He knows when to pass, when to ask for the ball and he can free himself with optimistic results.
Defensively, he has a "nose" for the ball and he has good footwork. He doesn't get beat laterally easily, is improving his body control, and is smooth and lanky in avoiding screens. He might not be quite quick enough to matchup up with all of the most athletic guards the NBA will throw at him, but he has the tools to contain and do a good enough job. His frame unfortunately hasn't grown much since 2004 when he was first recognized as a top prospect at the Copa del Rey, but he won't be facing significant physical problems in the NBA, if he keeps working the way he does.
Overall, this has been a great season for Rudy and much more intrigue is bound to come in the top-16 round with Joventut facing fair competition and seeking a surprising top-8 qualification. We are asking for more and will be looking to see him continue to make strides.
]This wasn't a good tournament for Rudy Fernandez. Perhaps suffering from the pressure of the high expectations everybody from him given the excellent season he has enjoyed, he looked a bit anxious and rushed things too much, trying to get in scoring rhythm early though his perimeter fire power, which is one of his main scoring assets, but eventually forcing too many shots. He did average 16.5 points in the two games he played, but it wasn’t a go-to scoring effort, and he often failed to provide points when his team needed them the most. As a result, and given that he’s the closest thing to a go-to player you will find in his team, DKV Joventut needed an overtime session to beat Akasvayu Girona in the quarterfinals and fell short against Winterthur FC Barcelona in the semifinal.
Very inconsistent behind the arc (he went a combined 3/15), his production came in transition play and off-the-ball moves. Delivering a very nice defensive effort as all his perimeter teammates, Rudy is a big part of Joventut’s full-court pressure given his quickness and nice hands to come up with steals, ultimately allowing him to score easy points. Besides, in the quarterfinal game against Girona, he successfully anticipated the rival’s defensive transition to score in fast-break. His trademark dunks off alley oops were there too (two, truly spectacular, in the first game, one, actually more of a very forced layup, in the second). However, he wasn’t able to dissipate the doubts about his one-on-one game (particularly his first step and the real quality of his handles against close opposition), as he barely attacked his match-ups in pure individual sets.
Fernández had 17 points and 4 rebounds against Girona and 16 points, 2 rebounds and 2 assists against F.C.Barcelona. Despite the nice numbers, this Cup performance didn't help his draft stock, although barring buyout complications, he’s likely firmly planted in the first round thanks to his impressive outings in the Euroleague.
At this point, Rudy looks like our perennial “player of the week”, but it’s well a deserved honor. During our Christmas break he delivered back-to-back outstanding performances in the Euroleague, leading DKV Joventut to consecutive (and dramatic) victories that secured a spot for his team in the Top-16 stage.
Both games were within Joventut’s reach in advance, but still very complicated ones. Partizan is a very dangerous team at home in Hala Pionir, particularly when the court is packed with the very noisy and intimidating Serbian fans (as it happened this time). Meanwhile, Maccabi Tel Aviv is always a very competitive squad, indeed the main rival for Joventut in the hunt for second place in Group B.
As expected, Joventut struggled to beat its rivals. Partizan and Maccabi dominated their respective games for the most part, and it wasn’t until the last quarter when Joventut came back to claim the victory. The key player both times was no other than Rudy Fernández, quite a clutch guy who loves these hot situations. Three pointers, aggressive plays attacking the rim, ability to force fouls, great activity on defense, Rudy can operate at a different level in these final minutes to help his team prevail. After delivering a great three-point shooting exhibition, he virtually closed the game against Partizan with an impressive turnaround mid-range jumper over Predrag Drobnjak, finishing his performance with 26 points, his best Euroleague scoring effort.
We were warning people from the very beginning of the season (indeed in the preseason SuperCup) about Rudy playing bigger role in his team, assuming more responsibilities, and being much more of a leader. This has translated into both increased scoring production for Fernandez as an individual, and more efficient offensive play for DKV Joventut as a whole. Rudy is now prepared to emerge as one of the brightest stars in the European sky.
One reason Fernandez has been able to take his game to the next level is that his perimeter shots have been falling, which gives him an extra degree of confidence. Besides, he’s extremely active playing without the ball - cutting, using screens, and understanding how to set up favorable situations in which to receive the ball. He can score from just about anywhere on the court, with almost unlimited range. At the same time, his defensive effort is as good as always, if not improved. He’s currently in great shape, and the nagging injuries that slowed him down early in the season appear to be a thing of the past.
Rudy Fernández seems to have reached another level of play. He has become a much more active and decisive player on the offensive end this season, assuming responsibilities and leadership duties. He took over this week’s Euroleague game against Cibona with 22 points in only 18 minutes of playing time (beyond coach Reneses’ typical rotations, he was in foul trouble). With him on the court, Joventut enjoyed the best runs in the game and played the most fluid basketball. It has meant coming back to the winning path for his team, after a couple of losses with Rudy basically sidelined due to injury (he could only play 4 minutes in the second game, against Lottomatica Roma).
We can find the most noticeable areas of improvement this season in his shooting stroke and work without the ball. He’s nailing his three-pointers with good consistency, enjoying a 48.3% of accuracy from beyond the arc (4/7 vs. Cibona). It’s still mostly a static shot, as he struggles shooting off the dribble from that range, but Rudy releases it fast and he’s smart cutting and finding spaces to fire it. Actually, his movement without the ball also has the mid-range distance as an objective, as well as his trademark dunks off alley-oops. Against Cibona we could see Rudy cutting and coming off screens to receive the ball about 13 feet from the basket, turn around and shoot in fade-away fashion, all performed with great quickness. He’s very active looking for these kind of options and his teammates also look for him.
Besides, his good decision making is always there, although his assist numbers have dropped as he’s looking for the basket more aggressively (he’s been credited with only a single assist in the Euroleague since the opener against Panathinaikos). Rudy never forgets the rebounding department, and he looked particularly active against Cibona with 5 captures, as well as delivering very nice defense, becoming another piece of a quite aggressive perimeter game in Joventut, always searching for the steal (2 facing the Croatian team).
This last weekend, in the ACB League, he had 17 points, 3 rebounds, 2 assists and 3 steals in 25 minutes playing against Tau Vitoria. It was a loss for Joventut, but it’s pretty clear that Rudy has stepped up in terms of leadership for his team.
Despite still drawing doubts about his NBA potential (particularly concerning his physical build and ability to create his own shot), performances like this one will really come in handy for Rudy in order to get a spot in the first round of the next draft.
When Rudy Fernández decided to withdraw from last year’s draft, besides the low chances he had to land somewhere in the first round, an important factor was the possibility to play in the Euroleague after his team DKV Joventut earned its spot by reaching the semifinals of the ACB League. Well, the moment has arrived and he should be prepared to make some noise. But is he?
Rudy is coming off a magical summer after having conquered the World Championship in Japan while enjoying an important role off the bench for the Spanish squad. Still, he wasn’t a difference-maker, and his prominence decreased as the rival’s level increased. The beginning of the ACB league has brought us quite a similar Rudy to last season’s. He’s yet to make that definitive jump that should make him the clear-cut go-to player in Joventut. However, he seems to have taken a few more responsibilities, while he remains that heady and complete player that helps in all departments of the game, truly one of the most important pieces on his team.
A quick and quite athletic shooting guard, Rudy is also a fundamentally sound player who displays the basic skills of the game and a high basketball IQ. A solid ball-handler, he can easily slash towards the basket even if his first step is a bit average. Also a nice shooter, he enjoys three-point range and shows good consistency shooting in static situations, but still struggles whenever he needs to get his shot off under pressure or in off-the-dribble fashion. His mechanics are actually pretty good, and he still can become a much better shooter. Considering that he’s a wing, Rudy is also a remarkable passer, either in slashing situations, on the fast-break or just in static settings. A very solid defender, he shows quick lateral movement and the right attitude, even if his limited strength sometimes hampers his effectiveness. That’s one of his biggest problems when we think about a hypothetical NBA future: he’s still a rather skinny guy, while his playing level is not on a high enough point to make up for it.
However, Rudy is a smart young player still with some serious potential to fulfill, and nothing should motivate him more than playing in the top European competition with Joventut.
Finally Rudy Fernández seems to be fitting in the Spanish engine filling the role of offensive spark off the bench, as he has emerged as the prime scorer of the second unit (and fourth overall in this very strong squad) with 9.1 points per game. He enjoyed some excellent perimeter shooting streaks, finishing with a nice 40.7% of accuracy, while also pleasing the crowd with his trademark alley-oop dunks and very solid defense. Still, as the competition grew stronger, his offensive performance level got weaker. After all, he hasn't showed much production off the dribble and he’s usually entered the games with Spain comfortably leading in the score, as the starting five has pretty much crushed every opponent but Argentina. He wasn’t a factor in the Final game against Greece, but the Spanish team has plenty of room for optimism regarding their mid-long term future with Fernández on board.[Read Full Article]
Still 21 years old, Rudy Fernández has already some significant experience with the Spanish National Team. After the 2004 Olympic Games and the 2005 Eurobasket, this will be his third major international tournament with the senior squad. And it’s about time for him to start playing an important role in the team, as much as he might be overshadowed by Juan Carlos Navarro, the starter at his position and main offensive reference in the backcourt.
However, so far the preparation games haven’t shown us any improvement in this regard. He’s not managing to provide consistent offensive punch, sticking to a very complimentary role. Although on a different level, it was a bit of the same story at DKV Joventut this past season: where he played extremely well, but mostly as a complimentary guy. We’re waiting for him to step up, both in the National Team and his ACB team, especially this following season, with Joventut playing in the Euroleague and Rudy being automatically eligible in the draft. He has the tools to be a go-to guy; he just needs to believe in it.
And which are those tools? As repeated on DraftExpress.com many times, Rudy is a very complete player. He’s a nice shooter, even if he’s struggling a little bit lately from three-point range; a productive slasher who takes advantage of his ball-handling skills, quickness and leaping ability; an excellent passer who understands the game; and a reliable backcourt defender. He’s very fundamentally sound and is very active for the most part. Active in every department, but in taking over games; which he has eventually showed in Joventut to be capable of doing on occasion.
Besides that extra scoring punch, Rudy should bring Spain better ball movement coming off the bench. He’s a player who usually makes good decisions, and the Spanish team sometimes gets in offensive jams. If he starts playing well, expect coach Hernández to play him even at the small forward position for some stretches of the game, sharing the wing with Navarro. He’s still a skinny guy, but in international competition it's not rare to see three guards filling the perimeter.
However, it was enough time to show some of his skills, particularly what concerns to his slashing game. He was rather active getting into the lane with his excellent first step, quickness and handles. He also showed good resources finishing near the basket against opposition, and his willingness to involve his teammates in the game. However, he also suffered on defense going through screens, allowing Serkan Erdogan to string together consecutive baskets.
Losing in the first round, there wasn’t time for much more. Rudy’s stock hasn’t suffered any significant variation after this tournament. He’s still a legit first round prospect, although it would be nice to see him assuming more of a leading role in DKV Joventut at some point of this season. He has the talent and maturity to do it.
Rudy is an incredibly reliable player. It’s amazing to see a 20 year old kid who is so cerebral and focused playing the game. He contributes only good things to his team in all departments, rarely forcing the issue or committing mistakes, and showing superb decision making in the process. Having a top veteran point guard in Europe such as Elmer Bennett certainly helps. Bennett is the true leader of this team and takes a lot of pressure off his teammates’ shoulders.
An intriguing prospect because of the many different skills he brings to the table. Fernandez is a 6-5 shooting guard with a point guard's mentality and feel for the game, who always looks to get everyone around him involved, but shows the ability to put the ball in the basket as well. His ball-handling skills are excellent, which combined with a large assortment of strong head and body fakes, allow him to get into the lane and either finish himself with an emphatic dunk or find the open man.
He's the type of player that plays for the team, unselfishly and always within the context of the offense, never letting the ball movement stop and showing outstanding court vision to come up with some very flashy assists. He is a very efficient player, mature beyond his years and oozing with talent and elegance. His outside shot compliments his slashing ability, as he has a quick release and picture perfect stroke.
In terms of weaknesses, his physical attributes would probably be the biggest one. He looks very frail at the moment, with a thin frame that doesn't appear to be able to handle much more weight. As a slightly undersized SG, that's somewhat of a concern. Rudy's athleticism did not look off the charts to me, possessing an average first step and footspeed for an NBA shooting guard. He makes up for it with his smarts and skills, but the 2 guard spot is a position in the NBA that is all about athleticism. Make no mistake, he is no stiff, but does he have enough of it? Adding strength will certainly help, but there is a good reason why there are practically no successful European shooting guards in the NBA, and that in itself is a reason to be a bit sceptical. Manu Ginobili (who is Argentinean but really became an outstanding player in Europe) is the exception to this rule, but we don't have to tell you what a great athlete he is. The assessment made by NBA teams of this aspect of Rudy's game in the combine and private workouts will probably be the difference between Fernandez being drafted in the 20's this year or being drafted in the teens.
(2005 draft scouting report, see player blog tab for much more recent updates)
Rudy Fernández is a talented and skilled shooting guard who shows almost every characteristic that a player at his position should display. He's very intense and plays the game with passion. Gifted with very nice athleticism, his main strength is his versatility in the offensive end. The kid can flat out shoot the ball, including three-pointers, with polished mechanics and a good quick release. A clear clue of his ability is his remarkable free throw percentage. Also, his shot selection is very efficient.
Perhaps, more than shooting, Rudy likes to penetrate to split defenses. With his amazing handles and great first step, he puts the ball on the floor, fakes and then dribbles easily past his defender using his quickness, sometimes finishing with a nice dunk or a variety of lay-ups. He also has the ability to dish off to the open man with great accuracy or perhaps to stop and release a mid-range jumper. He's very hard to stop and seems to have an answer for any difficulty. He also has good court vision and knows who give the ball to. He definitely understands the game, usually taking the best option when the ball is in his hands. His great wingspan, nice vertical and great desire allows him to grab a good amount of rebounds, even on the offensive end, and he can also block some shots when given the chance. Rudy is a good defender, being very active in this department. He has the right attitude, and can steal some balls with his quick hands, long arms and ability to see the passing lines.
The kid shows an uncommon maturity for his age, he's a very hard working player (reportedly, he was attempting over 300 shots a day in practice last year) and he's playing big minutes in a very tough competition. He's already shown the ability to step up and score clutch baskets. He always manages to keep his cool under pressure, and he loves big games, never feeling intimidated. He's a special player, truly competitive, and despite his great present ability, there's still room for big improvement.
Rudy is 6-5, which isn't that bad for a shooting guard, but also not the ideal height for a player at this position. Nevertheless, he plays bigger with his remarkable wingspan and desire. Defensively, Rudy has to improve. His present level is quite good and he has the right attitude, but needs to develop this department along with his own body, which is still raw physically. He's very skinny right now and, for example, has a hard time fighting through screens. He still has a long way to go in terms of physical development.
He led the Spanish National Team to the Bronze medal in the 2001 European Cadets Championships.
Being only 18 years old, he played a big role with DKV Joventut in the 2003-2004 season, averaging 11 points, 3.9 rebounds, 2.4 assists and 1.6 steals in 28.1 minutes per game, and helping his team to qualify for the playoffs in the Spanish ACB League. In the King's Cup, featuring the best teams of the ACB competition, Joventut advanced to the final and Rudy averaged more than 14 points and 5 rebounds per game to become the key player for his team's success, which was rewarded with the MVP trophy. At the ULEB Cup, he averaged 9.9 points and 4.1 rebounds, but DKV Joventut could not get past the quarter-finals.
During the summer of 2004, he got a spot on the strong Spanish National Team to play in the Olympic Games, truly an achievement for such a young player.
In the current season, he has slightly improved his stats despite some minor health problems. Through 11 games in the ACB League he's averaging 12.4 points, 3.1 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 2 steals in 29.7 minutes per game. Although he's struggling a little bit in the ULEB Cup, with 9.8 points, 2.8 rebounds and just 1.6 assist in 23.2 minutes per game after 5 contests played.
It's not clear at all if Rudy will declare for the 2005 draft or if he will still wait. There's some kind of disappointing sense, as small as it may be, about his progression from the last season to the current one. His evolution during the year will be important to take a decision, and I expect him to step up any time. Nevertheless, it seems he's comfortable in Badalona with his team Joventut, and I think he won't rush things unnecessarily.
Whenever he decides to declare, he's first round material, talented enough even to sneak into the top-20. But it won't be easy for him to get into the lottery, considering we're talking about a slightly undersized Euro shooting guard.
The best shooting guard of his age group in Europe. Rudy Fernández is a true talent devoted to the game and a smart player, with enough athleticism to make it to the NBA. You don't find everyday such a combination of skills, athleticism, and understanding of the game mixed with a hard-working attitude. It's really a winning mixture. I'm pretty confident in him, and I think he could be a special player, although his height limits his potential a bit. The hype in Spain around him is getting a little out of control after his King's Cup performance. Let's hope he keeps cool.
Earned MVP honours at the Spanish King's Cup of 2004, becoming the youngest player to ever achieve this award. Made the second team of the 2001 European Cadets Championships. Although very different from him, Dejan Bodiroga is the player Rudy uses as a reference. He's such a basketball junkie that has already coached children. His parents also played basketball and his sister Marta Fernández is one of the best players in Spain.
Amazing, unbelievable, there are no words to describe the impact of Rudy in this tournament considering his age. In fact, he was selected MVP (on a controversial decision, the media opted for the local and more popular choice) despite losing the final. Every scout present at the Cup will leave with his name written in big letters. He had already been drawing attention for some years with great performances in youth tournaments, and the focus on him had already been heightened because of the incredibly fast way he has been adapting and producing in a League as tough as the Spanish one, where he's ranked third in efficiency among Spanish players. But his exhibition at the Cup exceeded all expectations. He has proved to be an all around shooting guard who can do everything on court. Great athleticism, amazing skills, high basketball IQ, surprising maturity, competitiveness and mental toughness, everything already in a teenager who only lacks a little bit of size (although he plays bigger than 6-5) and some strength as he's very skinny. He started the Cup with a solid performance at the quarterfinals crowned with a couple of key baskets in overtime. In the semi-finals against the powerhouse F.C.Barcelona, he was one of the main reasons for his team's victory, breaking again and again the rival defenses with his quick penetrations. In the final against the other Spanish powerhouse Tau Vitoria he did a little bit of everything, scoring in a number of ways, including three treys, rebounding, blocking shots and defending. The inability of his teammates to give him the ball down the stretch may have been one of the reasons for the loss in the finals. He had the best play of the Cup, a reverse dunk off an alley-oop which brought the house down. I think he has definitely earned a place in the first round when he decides to declare. And at the age of 18, this teenager can only go up from here.[Read Full Article]