By Rafal Juc
After really exhausting previous day of men’s basketball on Saturday there were only 2 games scheduled. It allowed Eurohopes staff to visit National Museum of Sweden as well as The Royal Palace instead of seating another all the time in Solnahallen. We opened Saturday with Iceland’s U16 win (66-58) over Denmark. To be honest, the level of competition was not too entertaining, but it was another occasion to see perspective Danish players. This time we paid attention on Mathias James Kelly (’96). Standing around 6'3'' and being the really strong-built one, guard is really tough to stop in 1-on-1 isolations. He impresses with his length and well-polished offensive skills. He can be typical finished, waiting for spot-up, but he showed already also ability to create players for teammates. Kelly seems to be early-developed boy, so there is not so many room ahead him to improve. However, it could be worth solution to develop him into point-guard with his creativeness, court-vision, ball-handling and size.
Then we continued our scouting with U16 game between Sweden and Finland, but it has figured out as extremely one-sided (45-69). Hosts one more time confirmed that they are the most perspective team of Nordic Cup, while we think that all one from Swedish starting five have got chances to continue game on quite satisfactory level in couple of years. Being sure of victory, Swedish coach gave chances to all players. However, one more time the most productive on court was bulky, but mobile power forward William Skagius (’96). He can knock down pull-up midrange shoot, but his main weapon are posting-up and post-movies. Playing back to the basket at this level of competition he is just unstoppable. Couple of good moves under the basket showed also 6'9'' Sebastian Brusewitz (’96). Still immature center with great size - by his generation standards - despite being somehow bulky, impresses with the fluidly how he run the court. He is undeniably long-time prospects and could be intriguing target for some European clubs. With his size, understanding of game, really promising frame, quite soft hands and ability to play back to the basket, he could turn out top Swedish prospects in 1996 generation.
Because of lack of emotions in half-time we moved to second gym to take a closer look on U18 national teams of Denmark and Norway. This game was also not too exciting, while Denmark easily won (77-55), however it was worth to follow this game. Why? Mainly because of two promising big guys from 1995 generation. We have on mind once again 6-9 Matz Stockmann ('95) -at the pic- and for first time 6'7'' Rasmus Stolbjerg Hansen. Hansen gave amazing substation finishing with 15 points and 10 rebounds in just 11 minutes of action! Hansen, who last summer played really satisfactory at European Championships U16, impresses with rare combination of size, more than average wingspan, jumping abilities, timing and smartness. Being used by coaches mainly as power-forward Hansen on offensive end is really mobile, playing well without ball and taking advantage of better setting up in paint. Must be noticed that quite versatile Danish forwards avoids posting up and scores most of his points being face-up: aggressively rolling after pick&roll, cutting off well or after offensive rebounds. Thanks to high release points and ability to "stay" in air for a longer while his shoot is really hard to block.
However, the more perspective seems to be Stockmann. Left-handed power forward looks like a being a bit out of team. In addition his teammate are undeniably not used to play with him by low-post. Really calm and patient Norwegian is all the time focused and it all helps him to make good decision in most of time. Today he was 6 on 6 from the field, showing really efficient midrange jumper. Stockmann is one of the Scandinavian prospects participating in this year’s Nordic Cup, who has got amazingly big room ahead him to improve and chances to play somewhere abroad at senior level. Mobile power forward, who can knock down midrange jumper with smartness, his size, soft hands and ability to play duo actions could adapt at higher level. In addition he shows amazingly soft hands, being able to finish on different ways with both of them. Not many 17-year player are able to finish with hooks and floaters from so high release points as he. However, Stockmann lacks character of fighter and his mentality is questionable. It does not change fact that he still is one of top prospects of whole tournament. Now it is time for him to improve his frame, what looking at his shoulders, should not be a problem. It would help him to better post-up, because at this moment of lack of bulk Stockmann is easily to push out from low-post.
Twitter of the author: @rafjuc
Photo: Barum Basket (Matz Stockmann)