Moussa Diabate (’02) – 6’11, C, France
One of the most physical imposing players in the tournament, Diabate was highly productive in Volos, averaging 11.2 points, 11.5 rebounds (6.7 on the offensive end), 1.2 steals and 2.2 blocks. His game is built around his physical presence, athleticism and motor: he runs the court, crashes the boards, catches and finishes around the rim; he has big defensive impact thanks to his size, length and athletic tools. On offense he still lacks a proper array of solutions, scores mainly outpowering and outhustling players around the rim; his basketball IQ and ability to move without the ball also will require some work. Another major area of improvement will need to be his jumper and overall touch, he doesn’t have proper scoring range outside the paint and his shooting form lacks consistency and fluidity. He only shot an overall 9/22 (40.9%) from the free throw line.
Ariel Hukporti (’02) – 7’0, C, Germany
Hukporti had a solid tournament, making good use inside of his massive body, length and physical attitude. He’s willing to compete inside the paint and uses his body to overpower opposing big men in the paint, finishing strong at the rim. He’s still raw as a low post player: his touch is quite average, he tends to be left hand dominant, often puts his head down and takes slow decisions with the ball in his hands; he prefers situations in which he can get the ball on the move or in which he can just overpower his opponent to get close to the basket. His motor is improving but his intensity level is still quite erratic. He will also need to improve his jump shot, as right now he’s not a scoring threat outside the paint. On defense he has an impact thanks again to his intimidating presence inside, but he’ll have some work to do in terms of lateral mobility.
Franz Wagner (’01) – 6’8, SF, Germany
Wagner didn’t have his best showing in Volos, but was still able to perform some impressive flashes of his potential and to have a generally solid tournament. He showed the best things in transition, being able to push the ball hard right off the defensive rebound, attacking straight to the basket and finishing above the rim with some impressive plays. In the halfcourt he wasn’t playing much on the ball, and at the same time had a bad shooting stretch while playing off the ball, finishing with only and overall 3/24 (12.5%) from three point range and 15/24 (62.5%) from the free throw line. The length, athleticism and fluidity, together with his ball skills, make him a highly intriguing prospect, even though he still has an undeveloped frame and struggles to deal with physicality.
Nikolaos Rogkavopoulos (’01) – 6’7, SF, Greece
Named in the All-Tournament Team, Rogkavopoulos averaged 11.7 points, 8.4 rebounds, 2 assists and 1.1 steals for the host team, which ended up in the fourth place. Playing with the usual aggressiveness and activity level, he had another solid showing after the FIBA U19 World Cup, having in Volos more responsibilities with the ball in his hands than in Heraklion. His ball-handling is quite shaky though and under pressure he tends to overdribble and take slow decisions: he shows the best things when he can attack the closeout or put the ball on the floor on the move. His shot selection is up and down, he forces a good amount of shots and tends to rely too much on his jumper. On defense he left mixed impressions: he plays with good motor, aggressiveness and physical attitude, but his lateral quickness is average at best so far.
Gabriele Procida (’02) – 6’5, SG/SF, Italy
Procida was one of the most intriguing long-term prospects playing in Volos, as a late bloomer with good size, explosiveness and length for his position. A wing who is mostly productive as a spot up shooter and off ball playmaker, he has solid ball-handling for his size and good fundamentals using ball screens. He’s a confident and consistent outside shooter, not afraid to take shots from well behind the three point line, and showed some ability to pull up after couple of dribbles. With Italy lacking elite creation from his guards, he did a decent job when asked to bring the ball and create for his teammates too. He can make athletic plays at the rim, even though so far still struggles against contact because of his light frame. His defense is not reliable yet, as he tends to have a high centre of gravity and doesn’t have elite lateral quickness.
Azuolas Tubelis (’02) – 6’8, PF/C, Lithuania
A highly productive big man at the youth level of competition, Tubelis averaged 14.9 points, 12.6 rebounds, 2.4 assists and 3.4 blocks in Volos, and was the most consistent performer for Lithuania. He’s a solid athlete who is mostly comfortable in dynamic situations, running the court hard in transition or catching and finishing in the halfcourt; an extremely physical player, he uses well his developed body to bully opponents under the basket, getting deep position and creating space to score around the rim. He can play above the rim and made some remarkable highlights on both ends of the court. He’s not particularly skilled as a low post scorer and his jumper, which still has some potential to develop, is still highly inconsistent; he only shot a total 6/21 (28.6%) from outside and 16/41 (39%) from the free throw line. His efficiency as a scorer is also influenced by his shot selection, which is not always the best possible.
Bojan Tomasevic (’01) – 6’7, PF, Montenegro
Tomasevic ended up as the top scorer in Volos, averaging 21 points and 6.5 rebounds per game. He lacks an elite physical profile, not having a particularly gifted frame and lacking remarkable size, length and athleticism. What makes him an interesting prospect is his undeniable shooting ability: he’s relies heavily on his jump shot to score and can easily shoot from everywhere on the court; he has deep range, a consistent and quick release, unlimited confidence and a wide array of solutions. In general he’s a smart and fundamentally sound player, embraces playing through contacts and can make good use of his body around the rim, but his physical and athletic limitations make him a low ceiling prospect.
Tristan Enaruna (’01) – 6’8, SF/PF, Netherlands
Enaruna was the second-best scorer in the tournament and averaged 19.1 points, 8.7 rebounds, 2 assists, 1.6 steals and 1.3 blocks per game, even though Netherlands ended up in the second to last place and went back down to Division B. He played mostly at the 4 spot and mostly off the ball, being mostly effective attacking on the move and finishing off cuts inside the paint; he made good use of his elite physical and athletic tools, being able to score over the defense attacking the basket. His ball-handling is still shaky for a perimeter player, but playing at the 4 spot he was able to regularly put the ball on the floor to go finishing inside; he still has to improve his aggressiveness and his ability to finish through contacts though. His jump shot is still a major area of concern, as it’s too streaky and features an inconsistent and low release.
Samson Ruzhentsev (’01) – 6’7, SG/SF, Russia
At his first national team appearance, Ruzhentsev had a breakout tournament in Volos. A tall wing with excellent ball skills, he has impressive ball-handling for a player his size, playing under control, being able to naturally change speed and having very good fundamentals to use ball screens. He’s extremely fluid but needs to add a good amount of weight to his frame, right now still struggles a lot to deal with physical contacts, goes out of balance if pushed and doesn’t finish well in a crowded paint. His shooting form looks good, he can shoot off the catch or pull up off the dribble, but so far he’s still a streaky shooter if contested and lacks some strength in his legs. Defensively he shows solid footwork for his size, even though his lack of strength make him prone to be pushed around.
Aleksej Pokusevski (’01) – 6’11, PF, Serbia
A fairly unique prospect, Pokusevski had up and down moments but generally left a good impression, having to take some guard duties because of the lack of depth in the Serbian backcourt. It’s always quite impressive to watch a tall forward like him handling the ball naturally, passing off the dribble and coming off screens when playing off the ball; his frame is still really undeveloped and will require major work, something that so far gives him lot of troubles dealing with physical contact. He lacks explosiveness and has high centre of gravity, which limit his man-to-man defense even though he led the tournament in blocks per game thanks to his size, length, fluidity and reactivity. On offense he has improved a lot his outside shot but has still unorthodox mechanics and his efficiency comes and goes. He’ll need to improve his motor, which still comes and goes, and learn how to play through physical contact.
Ziga Samar (’01) – 6’5, PG, Slovenia
Named in the All-Tournament Team, Samar was the main leader for third-placed Slovenia. Averaged 11.6 points, 8.6 rebounds, 7.4 assists and 1.9 steals, with a triple-double in the quaterfinals against Great Britain. A big point guard with promising and still undeveloped frame, Samar is an average overall athlete and lacks elite speed, explosiveness and leaping ability. He plays with great poise and personality, keeping a high activity level and properly moving the ball. He’s a fundamentally sound player in the P&R, keeping his dribble alive, doing a good job changing speed and showing good timing and vision as a passer. As a scorer he’s limited inside the paint by his poor explosiveness, but he does a good job using ball screens to create separation and find gaps to score. His jump shot is still streaky and his form inconsistent, something which will need to be a key area of improvement.
Santiago Aldama (’01) – 6’11, PF, Spain
Named MVP of the tournament, Aldama had a great showing in Volos, leading Spain to the 1st place. He averaged 18 points, 7.6 rebounds, 2.6 assists, 1.9 steals and 2.3 blocks per game. A late bloomer from a physical standpoint, he still has a light frame which will need to properly fill up; he’s very fluid for his size and moves well on the perimeter, displaying excellent body control and quickness. On defense he can be pushed around inside by stronger players with a lower centre of gravity and will need to further improve his lateral quickness to stay with smaller players, but shows already good footwork and excellent balance and stance for his size; he continuously flies around to rotate and is highly effective contesting shots. On offense he’s a terrific shooter off the catch: he can naturally score from well beyond the arc, either with his feet set, in P&P sets or even coming off screens as a perimeter player. He’s not a low post threat and other than with his jumper he scores mainly out of dynamic situations, catching and finishing inside or attacking his defender with few dribbles; his footwork, coordination, body control and balance are evident also on the offensive end, he’s natural putting the ball on the floor, can change direction and score off the dribble.
Usman Garuba (’02) – 6’8, PF/C, Spain
Garuba had another impressively productive tournament and was named in the All-Tournament Team after averaging 15.6 points, 12.9 rebounds, 2.3 assists, 1.6 steals and 2.1 blocks per game. His skillset hasn’t significantly improved over the last couple of seasons: he’s still largely right hand dominant, his ball-handling is shaky and his touch average at best. He has good vision as a passer, but his decisions with the ball are not always quick enough; his jumper has improved over the years but is still largely inconsistent, particularly from beyond the arc. He’s still a disruptive player who is highly productive thanks to his athleticism, physicality and motor: he runs hard the court and cuts hard at the rim, enjoys playing through contacts and can easily overpower opponents to make his way to the basket; he can grab and go in transition and can easily put the ball on the floor for couple of dribbles in the halfcourt; he has quick feet for his position and can easily blow by his man either on the perimeter or in the low post. A terrific rebounder, he has impressive reactivity and quickness to chase the ball outside of his area and contest rebounds even on the second or third jump. His defensive versatility is his main asset so far: he has elite footwork, quickness, reactivity and length; he brings high-level intimidation in the paint and has quick hands to attack the ball.
Adem Bona (’03) – 6’9, C, Turkey
The second youngest player in Volos, Bona only played 18.5 minutes per game but was still able to help himself a lot, being highly productive in his time on the court and showing his highly intriguing combination of length, quickness and explosiveness. He averaged 4.9 points, 5.1 rebounds and 1.7 blocks per game, with a key performance in the semifinal against Slovenia. Was strictly used as a role player, as his ball skills are still very raw: he was effective crashing the glass, running the court and finishing at the rim, being disruptive thanks to his athletic profile. On defense he doesn’t always understand what to do, but had an impact thanks to his motor and good footwork, also bringing valuable intimidation in the paint.
Alperen Sengun (’02) – 6’8, C, Turkey
Named in the All-Tournament Team, averaged 11.9 points, 9 rebounds, 2 assists, 3.3 turnovers, 1.6 steals and 1.7 blocks for second-placed Turkey. Undersized big man with strong body, extremely physical attitude, high basketball IQ and good fundamentals: he lives out of his ability to move without the ball and his low post skillset. Makes good use of his strong body to take deep position inside, has quick feet to score around his defender, can face up and attack him with couple of dribbles; below the rim finisher, but has good touch with both hands and is crafty to find angles inside. Good vision, always sees the whole court, can pass out of the low post or from the perimeter. Terrific offensive rebounder thanks to his positioning and his ability to use his body, very reactive on the second jump. He lacks a reliable jump shot right now, his scoring range is limited to the paint, something which limits a lot his upside considering his poor size and athleticism.