By Reinaldo Bessa
With plenty of rising names on the European basketball scene, Portugal is making itself a name putting up good generations that can drive the country back to the big stages. Being Neemias Queta (Utah State) the biggest name of the pack, these are the best Portuguese players in Europe that we should be on the lookout for in the upcoming years:
Vladyslav Voytso ('99). SF. FC Porto
Being part of the victorious 2019 U-20 European Championship Division B team, Voytso had a huge role in that success. After the tournament, he cemented himself as a key part of FC Porto rotation. Being pointed since a very young age as the future of Portuguese basketball, with already four seasons of professional basketball under his belt, Voytso is built for the pro level. His physical build makes him a two-way threat being able to lock down the other team's best player and also produce at a very high rate offensively. He possesses very solid footwork and good explosive power. Likes to play off the ball and is a big threat from 3 point range. His pro experience and constant production earned him a spot on the Portuguese National Team roster for the World Cup 2023 Pre-Qualifiers.
Rafael Lisboa ('99). PG. Benfica
After a great performance in the 2019 U-20 European Championship Div. B (17.4 PTS, 4.9 AST, and tournament MVP), Lisboa solidified his position in Benfica’s rotation for the 19/20 season with 15 minutes per game and showing signs of evolution and improvement every day. In the 20/21 season, Rafael rocketed all the way up into starting minutes for Benfica. With a tremendous ability to read the game and pure point guard passing skills, Rafael makes amazing reads of the pick and roll and also added to his arsenal a very solid three-level scoring ability, some defensive awareness, and a really good physical build which made him a staple in Benfica’s rotation and earned him a call up to represent the National Team in the World Cup 2023 Pre-Qualifiers (15 points and 2 assists against Cyprus). As it goes right now Rafael is set to be the future point guard for Portugal National Team in years to come.
Ruben De Oliveira ('05). C. Joventut Badalona
Ruben is the main name to look out for the future in Portuguese basketball. Standing at an impressive 6’8, he possesses a huge frame that stills needs to be developed physically. With still a lot of skills to add to his arsenal, he is a very mobile player, can run the floor at a fast pace, and is very agile. He also possesses the rare trait of being able to switch into guards on screens. Needs to improve his body motions as he is too stiff right now which makes his moves very mechanic. Unorthodox shooting form but stills sink shoots at a decent rate when open. Overall, a player that has a huge ceiling and a lot of room to develop. Always shows an aggressive approach to the game leaving all in the court.
Francisco Amarante ('00). SG. FC Porto.
The third biggest figure for the 2019 U-20 European Championship Division B's success was Francisco Amarante. A pure off-ball shooting guard with already three years of first league experience, Amarante is the type of player that will always play a key part of the rotation in every roster he is included in. With great footwork and good defensive skills, he still lacks the explosive power to finish. Besides that, he is a constant producer from three-point and mid-range being able to knock shots at a very efficient rate. He is also the third player of the winning generation who won a place on the Portuguese National Team roster for the World Cup 2023 Pre-Qualifiers.
Tiago Almeida ('03). SG. FC Porto.
At 17 years of age, Tiago Almeida is the second rising prospect on the national scene. With a huge ceiling, he is breaking into the professional scene at a very early age with already two games for FC Porto's first team. Standing at 6’3 and with a big frame, Tiago stills needs to build his physical tools so he can completely translate to the professional world. Besides that, he possesses good instincts for the game and can score at all three levels. Still needs to develop his passing game and defensive stance. In the 2019 U-16 European Championship Division B, he was Portugal’s best producer (15,8 PTS and 6 REB).
Gustavo Teixeira ('00). PG. Esgueira.
Also part of the successful run in the 2019 U-20 European Championship Division B, Gustavo is a late bloomer that last season earned some minutes in the first league. After a huge summer of improvement, Gustavo is now playing 26 minutes per game and is a key part of the Esgueira system. He is a point guard with a lightning-quick first step and huge penetration ability. Stills needs to develop his reads and needs improvement on his shooting motion because he is still very inconsistent.