Leo Menalo (Croatia) - 6'9, SF/PF, Stellazzurra Rome (Italy) – Weight: 191 – Wingspan: 7’1
Menalo had a very strong camp, establishing himself once again as one of the top prospects in his class. He plays between the two forward positions, having the size to play the 4 spot but the skills of a perimeter player. Has an elite physical profile: measured at 6’8 without shoes, he’s still growing and has enormous feet as well as a very long wingspan; his body is developing nicely, he has started to fill up his frame in the past year and his shoulders have become bigger. Despite having still a quite high centre of gravity, he has an excellent athletic profile too, with above average coordination and body control for a player his size, to go along with solid explosiveness and leaping ability. He was comfortable handling the ball and making plays on the perimeter, he can run the P&R and shoot off the dribble, even though his shot is still streaky. His body language and overall aggressiveness were also satisfying, something that didn’t always happen in the past, he had some good plays attacking the basket and finishing at the rim. The combination of handling, passing, shooting and ability to change speed with the ball is highly intriguing given his physical and athletic base.
Boris Tisma (Croatia) - 6'9, PF, Real Madrid (Spain) – Weight: 185 – Wingspan: 6’10
Tisma had another good showing in Riga, having once again the chance to display his combination of size and ball skills. His frame is still undeveloped, he’s skinny and doesn’t deal well with contacts; the mobility, coordination and body control are very good for his size, he moves very well despite lacking above average explosiveness. He’s comfortable handling the ball on the perimeter and has good vision and passing skills for a forward; his game is clean and fundamentally sound, but he tends to be passive on the court. Tisma is a lefty shooter with natural three-point range and quick release, he hit shots at a good rate in Riga, often taking what the offense was leaving him and not playing with much aggressiveness. Terrific shooter coming off screens, has excellent footwork for his size. He tends to be too shy on offense though, rarely taking over in a way his offensive talent would allow him.
Juhann Begarin (France) - 6'5, SG, Paris Basketball (France) – Weight: 195 – Wingspan: 7’0
Begarin had a strong showing in Riga and was named MVP of the camp. A very strong and long SG, uses extremely well his body to absorb contacts and create separation. Had the second best athletic tests of the camp, he’s quick for his size and has excellent leaping ability. Aggressive slasher who can easily make his way to the basket thanks to his strong body, didn’t find many players able to hold their own against his physical approach; explosive finisher around the basket, able to easily play above the rim, finishes effortlessly through contact. More powerful than explosive when beating his man off the dribble. Had some issues with his decision making and shot selection, sometimes just dribbling into the defense, but when playing under control showed to be a willing passer with very good vision, able to kick out the ball easily after drawing the defense on him. His outside shot is still a major work in progress. Disruptive defender who makes excellent use of his above average physical and athletic tools at this level of competition, he’s willing to take contacts and has quick hands.
Ibrahim Magassa (France) - 6'7, SF, Torrelodones (Spain) – Weight: 192 – Wingspan: 7’0
Tall wing with one of the best physical profiles in the camp, Magassa is still growing and filling up his frame, which is highly intriguing considering his size, length and athletic tools. His production was erratic in game situations, as he’s still building and improving his offensive game, but he showed some flashes of potential. He can handle the ball on the perimeter and change speed off the dribble, despite lacking some aggressiveness when attacking the basket. His shot is still somehow inconsistent and streaky, but he showed the ability to hit mid-range jumpers off the dribble with confidence and has natural range from beyond the arc. His basketball IQ is still raw and his decision making not always up to the task, he has the tendency to stop the ball a lot and took a good amount of bad shots during the camp. Despite lacking some consistency in his production, Magassa was among the players with the highest potential in Riga because of his combination of size, length and athletic tools.
Ariel Hukporti (Germany) – 6’11, C, Ludwigsburg (Germany) – Weight: 238 – Wingspan: 7’3
Among the top performers in the camp, he was named MVP of the All-Star Game. Physically developed center with very good wingspan, has the wiry body of a pro and doesn’t find much competition at the youth level of competition, from a physical standpoint. Uses well his size, strength and length to finish off power moves inside the paint, pushing back his defender to gain deep position in the pant. Runs the court extremely well and has very good explosiveness when running at full speed and with space. Finishes easily above the rim, had an impressive amount of dunks during the camp. His motor and focus on the court still come and go, particularly on defense where he also needs to improve his lateral quickness and his ability to defend out of the paint.
Lamin Sabally (Germany) - 6'6, SG/SF, Alba Berlin (Germany) – Weight: 179 – Wingspan: 6’10
Wasn’t among the most productive players in attendance but featured one of the most interesting physical profiles: he has good size for his position and a promising frame which should fill up extremely well in the future. He’s a solid athlete but doesn’t always show it in game situations. Only played off the ball, without having major tasks as a ball-handler. He’s still passive on offense, his activity level off the ball is still disappointing; lacks some aggressiveness and tends to hide at times, taking only what his teammates leave him. He had a solid showing as a shooter, looking comfortable and fluid hitting some shots either off the catch or after couple of dribbles.
Luc Van Slooten (Germany) - 6'8, SF/PF, Rasta Vechta (Germany) – Weight: 219 – Wingspan: 6’11
An early bloomer who has developed very young both physically and in terms of skills. He had an up and down camp, showing some interesting flashes but also some of the same weaknesses he has had in the recent past. His body language and overall attitude have improved but they’re still below average. His decision making is very inconsistent, and he can go in any moment from a great play to a bad mistake. From a physical standpoint Van Slooten is a strong and physical forward with proper length and an already developed body. He’s a solid athlete with very good leaping ability, able to play above the rim on both ends of the court, but he lacks some burst and doesn’t change speed very well off the dribble. His shot is also quite inconsistent: he has the ability to shoot from beyond the arc, but his mechanics tend to change and he’s not reliable in terms of accuracy; his shot selection is also quite bad. He has undeniable skills in terms of handling and passing, he can play the P&R as a ball-handler, shoot off the dribble, and when he has space to attack the basket he’s also a strong finisher at the rim. But he shows his best things when playing the 4 spot, where he has an edge on his defender in terms of mobility and skills, which he hasn’t when playing on the perimeter.
Matthew Marsh (Great Britain) - 6'11, C, FC Barcelona (Spain) – Weight: 229 – Wingspan: 7’0
Coming from a poor basketball background, two years ago was still playing at an amateur level of competition. Had a strong showing in Riga. Powerful player with excellent size and strength. He’s a little bit stiff, doesn’t flex much his legs, but has interesting mobility for his size. A very good overall athlete, runs the court very well and has good coordination, he’s a quick leaper in dynamic situations. Can easily play above the rim on both ends of the court. Still a quite unskilled player on offense but showed good footwork and some improvements in his array of moves, has decent touch to score around the rim even though prefers to dunk the ball. At his best as a cutter and in catch-and-finish situations. Defensive factor at the youth level because of his size, reactivity and athleticism, needs to improve using his body in the low post.
Zsombor Maronka (Hungary) - 6'10, SF, Joventut Badalona (Spain) – Weight: 173 – Wingspan: 6’10
One of the most impressive players in Riga. Maronka is a forward which has been measured almost 6’9 without shoes; he has a really skinny and undeveloped body which is slowly starting to fill up. He’s a mobile and fluid player on offense, lacks elite explosiveness, his legs are still weak. A pure shooter with excellent form, he has a high and quick release, very extended shooting range and elite footwork for his size; he scored consistently from beyond the arc and made some big shots. At his best with his feet set, he shows natural ability to shoot coming off screens and to hit one/two dribbles pull up shots. He’s not a ball-handler but can push the ball in transition and is improving his ability to put the ball on the floor to attack a closeout. His defensive position is still a question mark, but his attitude was solid on both ends of the court.
Abramo Canka (Italy) - 6'6, SF/SG, Stellazzurra Rome (Italy) – Weight: 173 – Wingspan: 6’8
Canka had an impressive showing during the camp too: a wing with solid size who still hasn’t filled up his frame, he had the best results in athletic tests and played the whole camp with his usual high-level motor. Extremely intense and aggressive, he makes sometimes mistakes because plays at too high speed on both ends of the court, needs to learn to slow down at times. On offense he’s best if he can attack on the move, either off the dribble or without the ball, he’s fearless attacking the basket and can play above the rim; he can handle the ball in the halfcourt and play some P&R, but he’s not a major creator. His shot has improved, he can hit shots from beyond the arc and get into a hot streak but has still work left to do to become a reliable shooter.
Yannick Kraag (Netherlands) - 6'8, SF, Triple Threat (Netherlands) – Weight: 168 – Wingspan: 7’0
Kraag helped himself a lot in Riga: measured between 6’6 and 6’7 without shoes, he has an extremely intriguing frame which is still far from being developed but will likely fill up extremely well. A good overall athlete with elite fluidity, quickness and coordination, he fared well in athletic tests. He showed impressive potential on defense thanks to his elite defensive footwork and lateral quickness, being able to stay with smaller players. His offensive game is still in the making, he hit some jumpers and showed some potential as a shooter but right now is mainly a slasher in dynamic situations and he’s highly strong hand dominant as a ball-handler and finisher. His body control, ability to change angle in the hangtime and to play against physical contact are extremely interesting though, also giving his size and length which allow him to score over the defense.
Luka Tarlac (Serbia) - 6'7, SF, Partizan Belgrade (Serbia) – Weight: 192 – Wingspan: 7’0
Tarlac got injured during the second to last day in Riga, but he left very good impressions before being sidelined. He’s a big wing with elite physical and athletic potential, extremely fluid and quick for his size and able to comfortable playing above the rim. He has high defensive potential thanks to his elite footwork, size and length. On offense his shot is still broken and will need major work, but he looked more comfortable and aggressive attacking the basket off the dribble: he can naturally push the ball in transition and is a solid ball-handler in the halfcourt, has a strong first step which makes him a threat when attacking on the move and good explosiveness to finish at the rim. He’ll still need to work on his ball skills, particularly his jumper, but his upside is highly intriguing.
Luc Van Slooten
The 18th edition of Basketball Without Borders Europe took place in Riga, Latvia, from the 9th to the 12th of June. 40 of the top prospects of the 2002-born class attended the camp. Here are our top performers from the four-day event.