DZMITRY RYUNY (‘00) - 6’9, PF, Belarus
Power forward with promising frame, which still has range to bulk it up and add some weight. He is an outstanding athlete who is very coordinated and fluid with his moves, has nice explosiveness and is pretty light on his feet. Ryuny played many minutes at the 5 spot, being the tallest player of his team, and took good advantages of that by attacking big opponents off the dribble. He is not able to absorb contacts while driving to the basket though. His ball-handling ability is good considering his size, being able to grab and go after defensive rebounds and push the ball in transition. He is able to shoot from mid and long range; has consistent form, quick and fluid release and he is able to shoot off the catch and after a couple of dribbles. His mobility and quick feet allow him to switch properly with smaller players. He is an excellent shot blocker thanks to his instincts, length and leaping. His averages were 14 points, 11.1 rebounds and 2.3 blocks per game.
VRENZ BLEIJENBERGH (‘00) - 6’10, SF/PF, Belgium
He was named in the All-Tournament Team after averaging 9.3 points, 6.6 rebounds, 5.6 assists and 2.6 steals for third-placed Belgium. Forward with excellent athleticism, coordination and mobility giving his size. His frame is narrow and still very skinny: he cannot handle contacts and shies away from them too much. He played mainly as SF, handling the ball on the perimeter, showing his above average ball-handling ability to create off the dribble especially in the P&R. Bleijenbergh is a high-level passer with good feel who has the ability to easily find his teammates while driving, after turning the corner or just staying in the perimeter waiting for their off ball movements. He is able to hit long range shots; but he is a bit streaky and needs to work on a higher point of release. On defense, he disappointed due to an excessive low motor and his poor willingness to play against contact.
HARIS BRATANOVIC (‘01) - 7’0, C, Belgium
Huge center who has a big body, he’s tough to match inside the paint. He has below average athleticism, doesn’t run the court and struggles with high pace basketball. Bratanovic has high basketball IQ in halfcourt basketball, plays with poise and is able to create for himself and others from the low post. He does an excellent job getting a deep position near the basket, sealing his man to receive the ball as close as possible to the rim. He has solid footwork to beat his man in the low post, can finish with both hands and has soft touch; he struggles a lot to score against length and against more explosive players though. He is able to hit 3-point shots in spot ups or after P&P (44.4% with 2.6 attempts per game), his shooting arc is a bit flat though. His high IQ makes him effective on weak side helps on defense, but he struggles a lot if he has to step outside the paint.
TSVETOMIR CHERNOKOJEV (‘00) - 6’10, C, Bulgaria
Big man with a strong body, he can handle physical contacts on both ends of the floor. He runs the court extremely well in transition, showing solid mobility and quickness giving his size. Chernokojev plays very tough inside the paint, he plays through physical contact, is aggressive on the offensive glass (averaged 5.9 offensive rebounds per game) and gets lots of second chance points. In P&R sets, he is able to roll thanks to his good coordination to catch the ball while running, but he can also pop and receive the ball at the top to shoot or to attack off the dribble in a straight line to the basket. He shows smart moves off the ball inside the paint, being a good option as a catch-and-finisher, even though he lacks some explosiveness to score and only uses his right hand to finish. His decent footwork and mobility allow him to be aggressive in P&R defense and be able to stay with smaller players as well. He had a breakout tournament, averaging 21.2 points, 11.7 rebounds and 2.9 assists.
VIT KREJCI (‘00) - 6’7, SG, Czech Republic
Krejci earned a spot in the All-Tournament Team after averaging 14.9 points, 5.1 rebounds, 5.1 assists, while shooting 70% from the field for second-placed Czech Republic. Long guard with promising frame which still has range to fill up his body, he has excellent physical and athletic profile for a backcourt player, with high-level coordination and body control. Krejci covered the three backcourt positions for his team, handling the ball a lot and creating at a good rate for himself and others. He is a very good ball-handler, able to change pace and direction with the ball and scoring at the rim with excellent body control. He lacks some burst though, sometimes needs a ball screen to create. He displayed an amazing feel and touch as a passer: driving and kicking out the ball, finding baseline cuts, hitting spot up shooters of the weak side and with full court passes in transition. His shooting ability is still inconsistent, and he needs to work on game through physical contact.
MIKK JURKATAMM (’00) – 6’5, SG/SF, Estonia
Jurkatamm started slowly in the tournament but quickly picked up his game as he earned more minutes in the second part. He’s a wing with good size who lacks elite athleticism but moves fluidly and naturally on the court. His game is centered around his basketball IQ and basketball fundamentals, he mainly plays off the ball but can also make plays off the dribble, even though his below average explosiveness most of the times requires him to attack on the move or using a ball screen. He can play some P&R and shows good feel and decision making in these situations. A high-level shooter with deep range, he moves extremely well without the ball, can shoot coming off screens and is comfortable hitting pull up shots after couple of dribbles. Whether he can guard or not at high level of competition is the main question he’ll need to answer in the coming seasons.
MATTHIAS TASS (‘99) - 6’10, C, Estonia
Big man with a really solid and strong body but just average length. He is mobile and pretty quick for his size, especially considering how he moves his feet. Tass has an outstanding basketball IQ and feel for the game, being smart moving off the ball inside the paint and always being a clear option for catch and finish solutions; his lack of explosiveness sometimes doesn’t allow him to score easily under the basket if he is contested. He is a high-level passer from high and low post area, where he is able to feed spot up shooters on the weak side and cutters as well. Despite lacking some explosiveness and length, he is an excellent shot blocker thanks to his good positioning, instincts and timing coming from the weak side. His quick feet allow him to step out and recover quickly in P&R defense, and sometimes to contain on smaller players. He needs to improve on closeouts, as he tends to bite too much on fakes and is not able to keep a low stance.
RATI ANDRONIKASHVILI (‘01) - 6’4, PG, Georgia
Skinny point guard with good size and length. He is a crafty playmaker who easily finds his way to the basket thanks to an excellent use of hesitations and change of pace, despite lacking solid burst off the dribble. Andronikashvili has a ridiculous ease to create scoring options for himself, driving to the basket to either ways and showing a high-level ability to find angles using his length to finish at the rim. He is a great passer on the P&R, being able to hit spot up shooters of the weak side when turning the corner. He’s heavily turnover prone though, as his decision making is shaky and he tends to overdribble (5.6 turnovers per game). His shooting is still a work in progress too, even though he has displayed some decisive improvements lately. He plays defense with poor focus and extremely low motor; sometimes looks like he allows his man to beat him and just tries to steal the ball. Body language and attitude on the court are terrible and will need major work.
HILMAR HENNINGSSON (‘00) - 6’4, PG/SG, Iceland
Guard with a strong frame and pretty good legs, played both backcourt positions for his team. He is a generally decent athlete who has the ability to absorb physical contact on both ends of the floor. Henningsson is at his best if he can create off the dribble in halfcourt offense, where he shows good ability to play the P&R thanks to his shooting off the dribble, ability to keep his dribble alive and especially to his court vision after turning the corner. He has excellent shooting tools, very consistent, fluid and a high point of release. Defensively, he struggles guarding faster players due to his lack of lateral explosiveness.
QUINTEN POST (‘00) - 7’0, PF, Netherlands
Long big man with a still strengthless body. He has above average coordination, agility and mobility giving his size, looks quite fluid on the court. His playing time was irregular in Matosinhos, there were games where he barely played. Post likes to play far from the paint: he has natural and quick shooting form, is able to put the ball on the floor and attack closeouts. He should be more aggressive while driving to the rim though, as he usually drives shying away from contact. Court vision and touch as a passer were intriguing when driving at the basket and also from the perimeter. Post should work on his body since he cannot play through physical contact, being easily pushed around on both ends of the court. It is important to mention his willingness to keep a low stance on defense and his overall good motor on the court.
RAFAEL LISBOA (’99) – 6’1, PG, Portugal
Lisboa was named MVP in Matosinhos, after leading Portugal to the title while averaging 17.4 points, 3.1 rebounds, 4.9 assists and 1.7 steals and establishing himself as the emotional leader of the team thanks to his strong personality. He’s a combo guard with good strength who plays with constant aggressiveness and physical attitude, which help him playing bigger than his size. He showed impressive awareness on the P&R, being able to play with poise, change speed, keep his dribble alive while creating for both himself and his teammates; his decision making is still up and down, he has stretches where he becomes turnover prone and ends up in some bad shot selections, but he’s not afraid of taking responsibilities as a scorer and has good vision and passing skills too. He can also play off the ball and is a good shooter either off the catch or off the dribble, shooting a total 17/43 (39.5%) from beyond the arc throughout the tournament.
NEEMIAS QUETA (‘99) - 6’11, C, Portugal
He was placed in the All-Tournament Team after averaging 14.3 points, 11 rebounds, 2 blocks and shooting 69.8% from the field. Center with wiry frame and huge length, he has an intriguing athletic profile considering his solid mobility, leaping ability and quickness, despite not having above average explosiveness. Queta brings huge impact on the defensive end thanks to his intimidation, shot blocking instincts and ability to switch and step out in ball screens. He is efficient when running the floor in transition, looks very fluid quick, even though doesn’t always have the motor to do it on a constant basis. His offensive game is still a bit raw, being above all a scorer off dynamic situations who can easily play above the rim or finish with quite soft touch. However, he showed some glimpses of a better footwork near the basket, showing nimble feet to blow by his man. He lacks range as a shooter even though may have potential to expand his range.
MAKSIM KARVANEN (’99) – 6’9, C, Russia
Karvanen was named in the All-Tournament Team after averaging 11.7 points, 8.1 rebounds and 1.6 steals for fourth-placed Russia. He was the most consistent and reliable option inside the paint for his team: he has average size and athleticism, but showed excellent coordination, footwork and fluidity. He plays with physical attitude, not shying away from competition inside the paint and always keeping a high motor in his game. He’s not particularly skilled, relying mostly on dynamic situations and second chance points to score, but showed good use of the pivot foot and soft touch around the rim. He rolls hard and attacks the basket without the ball, which together with his solid ability as a screener make him a good target in P&R sets. A terrific offensive rebounder, he has a nose for the ball, great timing on the second jump and quick hands around the rim. So far he lacks any scoring range outside the paint, with his shooting mechanics looking slow and not fluid.
DANIIL KOCHERGIN (‘99) - 6’9, PF, Russia
Lefty power forward with remarkable wingspan and still thin body; his shoulders are width though and have potential to fill up nicely. He is an outstanding athlete: mobile, coordinated with above average explosiveness. Kochergin loves to attack off the dribble from the perimeter: he has strong first step to beat his man, drives fearlessly and aggressively to the rim always willing to finish with dunks, as he can naturally play above the rim. He should improve his decisions while driving though, as sometimes shows tunnel vision and drives straight through the defense. He has nice footwork in the low post, able to turn around his right shoulder and finish with smooth lefty hook shot. He is extremely strong hand dominant and should improve off hand. He can shoot from mid and long range but needs to work on a quicker shooting motion. On defense, he plays with high motor and shows impressive shot blocking ability thanks to his explosiveness. His overall game is conditioned by a tendency to shy away from contacts though, he doesn’t like physical competition and tends to disappear if someone puts a body on him.
OLLE LUNDQVIST (‘99) - 6’8, SF, Sweden
Lundqvist has excellent size for his position, his frame is interesting and has margin to add strength in the future. He is a solid overall athlete with excellent coordination and body control, despite lacking some explosiveness and likely being limited by his recent injury history. What really makes him special is his elite basketball IQ and instincts, making him kind of a point forward who reads the game extremely well on both ends. He is able to create for himself and others: dribbles with both hands, has excellent use of hesitations to blow by his defender and gets easily inside the paint to score or to find the best option with above average court vision. His shooting ability is not the most natural, but he can shoot efficiently from beyond the arc (finished with 37.9% from 3-point line in Matosinhos). Despite lacking explosiveness in his lateral mobility, he is able to match smaller players on defense thanks to his instincts and solid footwork. He is also excellent in off ball defense: helps when necessary, knows when to doubleteam and has amazing feel to play in the passing lanes. Lundqvist proved to be a very good leader for his team, being very vocal and positive on the court.
Photo by fiba.basketball
By Biel Colominas