Germany came with a high energy team, proposing full-court press and zone defense. This allowed them to steal lots of balls from France and in consequence to score easy fast breaks. The performance of Karim Jallow (‘97) was remarkable, he scored 32 points in the first game with a tremendous shooting efficiency shooting (3/3 3pt; 7/8 FT), and ended up being named the tournament’s MVP. He was very good moving without the ball, he made some backdoors from the corner that make him able to take some easy dunks. Also, he had an amazing impact on the game with his intensity and quick hands on defense, which allowed him to run on the fast break and finish strong at the rim. He also was a key rebounder for his team. Moritz Wagner (‘97) was solid in the tournament too. He had some foul trouble with fouls but showed his ability to run the floor as a trailer in transition, receive the ball while running and finish with coordination and strength, which allowed him to score some and-one bucket. His shooting was remarkable as well, as he’s a well-known shooter from both mid-range and long range. On defense, Wagner played with energy and concentration and he was very intense on the P&R and helping from the weak side.
Sekou Doumbouya (‘00) was the best player from France. Despite playing with guys older than him, he was able to have a big impact thanks to his body and athleticism. He was highly efficient in the tournament, still leaving the feeling that he didn’t take too many responsibilities on offense, playing with poise and picking his shots. He finished his drives with power but also with balance and smoothness. Defensively, he can guard bigger and smaller players thanks to his body and quickness. Amine Noua (‘97) was excellent running the floor in transition and was able to finish some actions completely alone. He was also very effective receiving the ball after rolling off the P&R and spacing to make himself available under the basket on teammates’ drives. A positive note from Noua is his attitude and toughness when finishing at the rim. Elie Okobo (‘97) was a bit disappointing in the tournament, even though has to be said that he was still recovering from an injury. Sometimes he took some bad decisions that resulted in few turnovers and bad shot selection. However, he demonstrated some of his quality thanks to his court vision and ball-handling.
Spain was able to rebound well the ball in the tournament, which allowed them to have a relevant amount of second chances. Santiago Yusta (‘97) was their best performer and got them the first spot in the tournament with a crazy three at the buzzer in the final game against Germany. He got lots of easy points off fastbreaks, finishing strong at the rim and without shying away from contacts. In the halfcourt Yusta is deadly when he can attack the closeout and finish in the paint. Sergi Garcia (‘97) was great running the offense of his team during the tournament. Thanks to his nice ball-handling with both hands and his excellent court vision, he could find open shots from his teammates with ease. In addition he was highly effective starting the offensive transition, something which translated in lot of easy points for his team. The tremendous athleticism of Robinson Idehen (‘97) made him sometimes unstoppable in the tournament. The 6’9 center showed that despite his size, he can defend smaller players due to his quickness and agility, and also he can switch in any situation of P&R. He had a huge impact rebounding the ball and contesting shots on defense.
Czech Republic came in with a team with poor size, as their taller player was 6’9 Martin Roub (‘97) who played far from the rim: he’s a great shooter who loved to face up from the perimeter, but he wasn’t comfortable battling inside he paint. Guard Ondrej Sehnal (‘97) had good showing in the tournament: he was solid shooting the ball off the dribble after the P&R, and he competed hard every minute he spent on the floor, playing intense defense and being aggressive attacking the basket. David Jelinek (’97) showed nice post moves and the fundamentals to shoot in different ways, even though his jumper was not very effective in the tournament.
By Biel Colominas