Imports in Spain, every time younger
By Juan Cobos
Prior to the celebration of the 2013 FIBA Europe U16 European Championships starting this week, we have taken a look at the preliminary rosters published at both de division A and division B websites, and have notices the extraordinary amount of players listed there that are currently playing in Spain, or that have been close to sign with a Spanish club, after been trying out with them for a while.
There are many reasons to explain why talent is detected in earlier stages now, as there are a lot of international tournaments for clubs and national teams all around Europe in the u14-15-16 levels, maybe no more than in the last years, but definitely a bigger number than those back in the day (like a decade ago or so). Also, the communication era has really affected the way information quickly travels around, when every promising prospect in some small town in Eastern Europe becomes largely known for basketball professionals in the top western clubs.
Besides, professionalism has promoted the role of scouts, people traveling around Europe for clubs or talent agencies working only on detecting the most promising prospects and trying to attract them to their clubs or network.
And of course, scouting services like Eurohopes.com, covering players since their early days, with a vast network of contacts throughout Europe that, helped by the information era, distributes every kind of information almost instantly. Finally, the fact of having u16 ECs every year really cooperate in the promotion of every class. But, not surprise at all, it looks like as if only Spain is taking advantage of these new days. In my opinion, there are a few factors involved in this trend:
1. Economic crisis / Basketball crisis in Spain. Clubs must look at younger and obviously cheaper imports, as an idea to grow through their youth systems.
2. Talent agencies. In Spain there are big names there, with their own professional scouts, and a strong influence in many clubs, bringing in their young commits.
3. The new legal frame of professional basket in Spain. This could be the key. Because there have always been (in the modern days) lots of imports in Spain, but they were coming to the country mainly as juniors, when they are better known and it is easier to detect their true upside. I don’t want to talk about LatAm prospects, a quite forgotten trend, by the way, but that were hot back in the day because of their knowledge of the language and easiness to get a Bosman passport (Spanish, Italian) or African prospects (always more present than future, even after having seen the likes of Serge Ibaka and Bismack Biyombo ending up playing in the NBA), only Euros.
These guys would see benefit for been raised in Spain, as they would compete in Spain as if they were Spaniards, in case they play 3 years in the country before they turn 20. That means, it makes no sense to bring an import after the u18 level, to play for a B team, unless it’s really promising, and the hunt begins the earlier the better.
As we’ve said previously, there are a lot of names at the preliminary lists of the u16 ECs tan show this trend. Here you have it :
Domagoj Proleta (’98, 6’8’’ PF). Real Madrid – Croatia.
Dzeiks Krumins (’97, 6’5’’ SG). Gran Canaria – Latvia
Tadas Sedekerskis (’98, 6’7’’ SF). Baskonia – Lithuania
Stefan Peno (’97, 6’4’’ PG/SG). Barcelona – Serbia
Bojan Nesic (’98, 6’2’’ PG). Cai Zaragoza – Serbia
Ioannis Michaloutsos (’97, 6’7’’ SF/PF). Estudiantes Lugo – Greece
Luka Doncic (’99, 6’3’’ SG). Real Madrid – Eslovenia
Simon Pursl (’97, 6’8’’ PF). Cai Zaragoza – Czech Republic
Nenad Dimitrijevic (’98, 5’7’’ PG). Joventut Badalona – FYROM
Oliver Dvojakovski (’97, 6’8’’ C). Cajasol Servilla – FYROM
Lukas Pigliafreddo (’97, 6’8’’ C). Canarias Basketball Academy – Slovakia
Menno Dijkstra (’97, 6’11’’ C). Canarias Basketball Academy – The Netherlands
Rares Uta (’97, 6’10’’ PF). Unicaja Málaga – Romania
Bogdan Popa (’97, 6’11’’ PF). Unicaja Málaga – Romania
Nedim Dedovic (’97, 6’7’’ SF). Barcelona – Bosnia & Herzegovina
Bartek Pietras (’98, 6’7’’ PF). Estudiantes – Polonia. After trying out with the team last year, it looks like the Polish prospect will be playing for Madrid powerhouse next season. Pietras will miss the u16 EC due to injury.
Malick Eichler (’97, 6’9’’ PF). Real Madrid – Great Britain. Eichler, who used to play with Germany at the u15 level, switched to GB at the beginning of the year and even played for them a couple of games in Spain during Easter. His LOC case with the German Federation is not solved yet, so he will not be playing any official competition this summer.
Borisa Simanic (’98, 6’8’’ PF/SF). Baskonia / Barcelona – Serbia. Top prospect played the 2012 Mini Cup with Baskonia. Afterwards, Barcelona brought him in for a tryout last fall and has been on their radar for the whole season. Nevertheless, word is the player will join Red Star Belgrade instead.
1999: The new class!
Luka Doncic has dominated the u14 category this year in Spain, and will not be the only ’99 born player next year in the country.
Lazar Mutic (’99, 6’5’’ SF). Real Madrid – Bosnia.
Dino Radoncic (’99, 6’4’’ SG). Barcelona – Montenegro.
Furthermore, it was said too that Mihailo Jovicic (’99, 6’2’’ PG), from Serbia, could also land in Spain.
*This does not mean that all these players actually received a called up for this summer’s different training camps, and of course a few of them will not be finally suiting up with their national teams at the competitions starting this week. Also, the list might be incomplete. We would really appreciate if you know any other name in Spain not listed.
Twitter: of the author @juan_cobos