From September the 7th to the 10th, Finland has hosted his first Basketball Without Borders Europe camp, in the Kisakallio Sports Institute in Lohja.

41 players among the best in the 1999-born European generation were expected to attend the event, even though Croatian big man Kresimir Nikic and German guard Nelson Weidemann didn’t showed up. The remaining 39 players were divided in three positional groups for drills in the morning, while the afternoon sessions featured competitive games.


Arnas Velicka, who was named BWB Europe MVP, was one of the most vocal players on the court, showing leadership and using his strong body to attack relentlessly off the dribble, but was sometimes turnover prone dribbling himself into the defense. His fellow from Lithuania, Ignas Sargiunas, has good size and strength as well but different style of play being more a scoring combo guard. Andre Gustavson has still a skinny frame, but is a smart player with really good shooting skills who can play both guard spots. Amit Ebo was again one of the most fun players to watch on the court, because of his unbelievable aggressiveness, quickness and creativity, his size doesn’t stop him from being an impressive scorer with unlimited shooting range. Lachezar Dimitrov had a good camp while playing lot of minutes as a shooting guard in games, he’s another super aggressive guard with quick release in his shot and high motor on the court. Couple of impressive defenders among point guards were Aleksa Uskokovic and Alessandro Pajola: Uskokovic got plenty of deflections and put pressure on the ball-handler, he’s a mature player who can easily get into the paint and finish thanks to his strong body on offense; Pajola has uncommon defensive IQ and timing and never shies away from contact on defense, while on offense he looked more able of move the ball and create for his teammates and struggled to finish with contact in the paint. Hakon Hjalmarsson from Iceland is still skinny and struggled a lot to handle the physical level of the camp, something which hampered his overall performance on the court. Jakob Szkutta from Austria has instead a pretty strong body for his size: he wasn’t particularly effective as a scorer, but despite having the tendency to overdribble the ball he played safe halfcourt basketball. Hugo Erkmaa had a really good camp, showing good P&R fundamentals and playing lot of minutes at the shooting guard spot, coming off screens and hitting outside shots.


Even though he practiced with this group, Isaac Bonga played mostly as a point guard in games: he was surely the best prospect in attendance, playing well above anyone else on the court. His combination of length, athleticism and court vision were hard to match, and he also shot the ball really well in games. Lazar Nikolic also practiced with wings despite being more comfortable as a point guard on the court, he wasn’t at his best and missed some playing time, but still his size and passing skills are hard to find. Andrija Marjanovic was way more effective when playing as a shooting guard or coming off screens, and was hardly stoppable when attacking the basket both in transition or in the halfcourt. Andrija Slavkovic has still a developing frame and will need to add some pound on it, but his ability to handle the ball and create his own shot looks intriguing for a wing with his size. On the opposite side is Lazar Mutic, one of the best defenders in attendance, who is a really good athlete with a well-built frame but whose offensive skills are still quite raw. Darko Bajo was probably one of the most awaited players in Lohja, but he hadn’t a productive camp: his skillset and fundamentals are impressive for a player his size, but in games he struggled to perform against physical competition, and his IQ wasn’t always up to the task. Vladyslav Voytso is still transitioning as a full-time small forward, but he’s a solid athlete who can shoot off the catch, and played with very good motor while never going away from physical contact. Francis Gustavs Lacis is still raw and hasn’t always proper IQ on the floor, but playing at the wing spot he showed some promise thanks to his solid explosiveness, first step and shooting. Two of the most surprising players in the camp were Kristian Sjolund from Norway and Olle Lundqvist from Sweden: Sjolund has very good size for the small forward position, plays with great attitude and showed a complete array on offense, being both a really good shooter from beyond the arc and a strong slasher with excellent body control; Lundvqist is a really tough player who can do many things on the court, has very good size for the wing spot, soft hands and ability to attack the basket off the dribble. Dominik Wilczek didn’t particularly stand out on the court, but he’s a proper shooter who plays within his limits and rarely takes bad decisions. Onuralp Bitim was named MVP of the All-Star Game: he’s a strong and explosive player who can score in different ways, but he’ll need to further work on his decision making, and his body language wasn’t always the one someone would expect to see. Amit Suss didn’t impact the game much from a scoring perspective, but he’s a hard-nosed player who has good IQ and passing skills. Finland was represented by three players in this group: Elias Valtonen, Ricky Waxlax and Michael Besselink. Valtonen is a wing with excellent size and strength, he can shoot and handle the ball even though he lacks some explosiveness and change of pace; he was named Best Three Point Shooter of the camp. Waxlax was named Best Defender of the camp, guarding multiple positions and playing with great effort, but on offense he had a more limited role. Besselink looks like a late bloomer with still raw instincts and skinny frame, but while he wasn’t productive on the court it seems he has interesting upside from the way he’s able to handle, pass and shoot the ball. Nelson Boachie-Yiadom is a forward with nice length and athleticism, he’s transitioning pretty well to the small forward spot and his offensive skillset looks quite solid. Grantas Vasiliauskas instead looked out of position as a small forward and struggled to create against quicker defenders, but he was able to shoot the ball well. Nikola Miskovic often played along Vasiliauskas as a forward in games, looking more comfortable handling the ball and often pushing the transition straight from the defensive rebound; he’s still skinny, but has very intriguing face-up skills. Lukas Uleckas was probably the best shooter in the camp and his quick, smooth release allowed him to score with ease on different situations, even though he rarely went all the way to the rim to score; he has good size for the wing spot, and he showed as well nice instincts and vision as a P&R player.

Big Men

Goga Bitadze was one of the most intriguing prospects in attendance: his body looks really improved since one year ago, even though he’ll need to add some pound to his frame, he moves extremely well and has soft touch to score from different type of range. Tuukka Jaakkola didn’t play after the second day, but in his minutes on the court he was able to produce in the paint thanks to his motor and activity level, even though his frame is still raw and he still doesn’t always move properly. Michele Ebeling played both positions in the frontcourt, most of the times picking his shots and playing under control: he still lacks a properly muscular body, but was able to score both inside and outside thanks to his soft touch. Philipp Herkenhoff played most of the time as an inside player, in a different way than he’s usually used to: he was effective cutting to the basket thanks to his quickness and explosiveness, will need to further work on developing his body. Fryderyk Matusiak, an undersized forward, practiced with big men and still looked more as an inside player in Lohja, with good strength and nice activity level in the paint but poor scoring talent. Matthias Tass was one of the best in this group, a very fluid player for his size with impressive IQ, soft touch, above average passing skills and fundamentals. Guglielmo Caruso played more on the inside in games, but showed excellent shooting skills in drills; his motor is still questionable at times, but his body looks improved and he moves well. Kurt Cassar from Malta is raw in his game and lacks some quickness, but has solid coordination and body control for a player his size, and showed interesting touch and shooting skills. Danilo Petrovic was probably the player who put the maximum effort during the camp, relentlessly running the court and attacking the opponent on offense; he has great offensive rebounding instincts and showed solid face-up skills both as a shooter and as a slasher.