This controversial Russian prospect Slava Fedorchenko (’95) cannot leave my head, so I decided to put some lines down on his behalf to get rid of this illness. It looks like 6’3’’ Slava can play ball and is constantly trying to prove he can do better. His game is not so bad and some people even say very good, but still there is no one firm trend in opinion. This is his “road of Glory” and this road prevents him from improving. But things were always paradoxical concerning Slava Fedorchenko.
His story reminds me of the movie "Groundhog Day." He is sure to be highlighted from all the Russian prospects of his age but he is stuck between the levels of basketball and this comes more due to maturity and wisdom. And you can’t claim these things from him at the age of 19. Slava is often overwhelmed with wrong emotions prior to a game, during warm-up or even at breakfast. A game for him is a SHOW first of all, not a BATTLE. As a result his game behavior is unpredictable. But Slava is in general unpredictable and uncontrollable –inside and out. Someone simply would be afraid to put such a player in the roster.
His is evaluated as scoring oriented Guard, - a freelancer with orchestrating tasks. He can actually cover positions from 1 to 3 (can play SF under some circumstances) but prefers to be with the ball himself and decide for the others. Being athletic enough for his size he will need to work on his body anyway in the future. His body is flexible but it needs power as USA players of his type have 83-90 kg. He has intriguing offensive skills and solid talent with the ball in his hands. His dribbling ability is his first distinctive feature. With his quick first step, he changes speed and direction nicely, sitting low enough to maintain tempo with his eyes up. Step back, fade away… he is crafty in traffic. He’s got excellent drives towards the hoop, but he doesn’t share the ball in time upon penetrating. He can run nonstop 40 minutes, just run with the ball, shooting or passing. His decision making leaves much to be desired but it looks like he doesn’t realize his problem with that.
The other problem noticed is that Slava has a habit to take the ball into 2 hands at the wrong time. I can’t say he is unable to keep the ball alive but it happens suddenly when Slava takes a ball in both hands and then starts looking for an opportunity to hand off or pass somewhere often being almost blocked by his opponent.
His shot is set and is dependable on his mood and spirit, you can observe his long range and he has a really rich arsenal of floaters and jumpers. He has short memory for misses and likes to take initiative (either right or wrong). He has an in time release point; his arc and rotation hardly need corrections. His Jump shot – is his second strongest skill.
Slava can be a marvelous PG and immaculate passer. On the other hand his passes can all be wasted as they are late by a half second. Fedorchenko's passes – is a separate story. Sometimes they are simply magic, - especially transition ones. But in a second Slava can dish the most inconvenient pass ever seen. And this again concerns his decision making. Some experts consider that this component of the game in general can't be trained because it is biological in nature. Slava is like "Golum" from the movie the Lord of the Rings, all the time at cross minds. He keeps in his head to many variants playing out the one which is often wrong. This fact very strongly disturbs Fedorchenko’s game.
-Defense and rebound
Defensively Slava cannot boast of anything extraordinary, but he has always “sudden pressure moves” which result in steals and some rebounds here and there.
His ultimate wish is to rebound the ball on both ends and his progress in that element is vivid. His in-time vertical leap allows him to grab balls from the guys who are much higher than him. He has a fighter nature and that adds some quality to his actions. His footwork is above average but you can’t say he is the one to shutdown someone with ease. He is emotional and doesn’t hide it, which sometimes helps him. (A rare quality for a Russian player.) He is stubborn and sometimes too selfish which hampers his progress. He can loudly shout, squirt out his emotion a sound or gesture during game. Usually such things are inherent in foreign players. Whether these features help his road to Glory is difficultly to tell.
Slava is more poser (show – off), than a plowman. This is, in part, because the game is given initially to him more than to others. He needs to wake up and progress. He needs to surprise everybody around and to benefit from it. The bigger game is calling you, Slava! When we watch basketball, we, anyway, get to an assessment/evaluation of personalities and talents. Fedorchenko as a basketball figure has to turn it into the basketball personality.
Photo: FIBA Europe / Romans Koksarovs