From December 16th to December 18th, L'Hospitalet (Spain) hosted the L'Hospitalet Junior Tournament. The eight participating teams were divided into two groups, and at the end, Real Madrid won the title by beating FC Barcelona in the final game (53-73). Pietro Cristofori and Artau Pascual attended the event, and below they answer some key questions about the tournament.
Tournament MVP: Hugo González

Best five: Conrad Martínez, Dame Sarr, Hugo González, Mitar Bosnjakovic, Seydina Limamoulaye

The L'Hospitalet Junior Tournament was loaded of talent. Who was the best player in the competition?
Artau Pascual: It's difficult to stick with one player, but since I must decide, I go with Hugo González. We already knew he's a top-tier athlete and an awesome competitor, but in L’Hospitalet he showed improved shooting form and embraced more responsibilities as a halfcourt initiator. It's only a matter of time before this work begins to yield consistent results.
Pietro Cristofori: This year’s tournament was stacked with talent, and it’s really hard to pick one guy over others, but if I have to make the choice I go with Egor Demin. The 6’8 combo-guard showed some amazing flashes of talent. Really fluid, basketball IQ is sky-high and things come extremely easy to him. He does pretty much everything on offense and on defense his presence is there. After a tough 2021-22 season, due to injuries, Egor looks back strong.

Was there any under-age prospect that stood out?
Pietro Cristofori: Ian Platteeuw probably was the best talent in his age-group coming into the tournament, and he proved it. The 6’9 big-man had a solid showing in L’Hospitalet, coming off the U16 Tournament in Iscar played earlier in the weekend with the U16 Spanish NT. His development is eye-popping. Late-bloomer: his footwork and touch are above the average and his presence in the paint was felt in all the games. At the end of his development he will probably turn into a full-time PF. He has to start shooting threes in order to do so.
Artau Pascual: No doubt here: my favorite player of the 2007 generation in L'Hospitalet was Ian Platteeuw. Platteeuw flashed promising touch and showed great game perception. In addition, compared to last season, he looks stronger and plays with better motor. He had to slide to the big man role against older, more physical players and, despite this, he was able to find his place in every game.

Who was the most surprising player in the competition?
Artau Pascual: Rubén Vicente played a minor role for the Spanish NT in the FIBA U17 World Cup, but he is an important part of Unicaja's U18 core, and it’s safe to bet on him having a good career. In L’Hospitalet he had the chance to demonstrate that he is an ideal fit alongside dominant ball-handlers. He showed up as a reliable low-usage scoring threat: Rubén displayed a high level of activity without the ball in his hands and earned easy buckets by filling the lane in transition. Also, he flashed a good floater shot with his right hand. He needs to work on his lower body to raise his ceiling.
Pietro Cristofori: Dame Sarr's physical development has been the most surprising thing to me. The 6'6 SG is one to watch, and it looks like he hit another growth spurt over the last months. At the end, he made it to the “Tournament Best 5”, after he led his team to a win against Malaga in the semifinals. He still has to improve his touch from the mid-range level, and at times he relies too much on his three-pointer. But his combo of length and size are high level.
Who was the under the radar player that stood out the most?
Pietro Cristofori: Seydina Limamoulaye had a standout tournament where he averaged 19.3 PPG and 10.8 RPG in a four game sample, including a 28 points and 16 rebounds game in the semifinal against Real Madrid. Seydina showed his power and explosiveness on both ends, displaying above average footwork as well. Shooting efficiency's the most concerning thing about his game, along with decision-making. His development is worth keeping an eye on: combo of size, motor, and versatility is high level.
Artau Pascual: In the absence of Fevry, one of the Real Betis perimeter players who took a step forward was Gonzalo Fernández. Standing at 6’4, Gonzalo took on more responsibilities as a ball-handler than usual and was able to score at different levels. Also, he showed a nice level of commitment on defense, jumping passing lanes and being loud and communicative. Surely, he won’t be a primary creator, but for players like him being able to provide something off the dribble as a functional ball handler or in second-side actions ends up making a difference.