By Artau Pascual

From December 6th to December 8th, Tarragona hosted the Qualifying round of Minicopa Endesa. The sixteen participating teams were divided into four groups, and at the end, FC Barcelona, Bàsquet Manresa, Bàsquet Girona, Joventut Badalona, Valencia Basket and Casademont Zaragoza,  earned a spot in the Minicopa final round, that will be held in Málaga in February. Our Director of Scouting, Artau Pascual, attended the tournament and tells us more about the top prospects of the event.

MVP: Arnau Cortijo

Below you can find some standouts of the tournament.

Jan Cerdán (‘10, FC Barcelona), 6’6, Wing, Spain

Best prospect in the event. Cerdán is a well-sized playmaking type of wing. While at this level, he still doesn’t need to show a high level of effort consistency because of how strong this FC Barcelona group is, his footwork in tight spaces and passing skills are off the charts. He can create his shot and the handles are tight. Cerdán takes advantage of his size and skill to be a difference-maker with the ball in his hands. The next steps of his development will be marked by his scoring growth, as well as his athleticism and competitiveness strides.

Joan Llompart (‘11, FC Barcelona) 5’6, Guard, Spain

Small and underage ball-handler. Joan Llompart earned a spot in FC Barcelona’s rotation because of his contribution as an on-ball defender. He was able to stay in front of the ball-handler and collected some steals and deflections. Slides really well his feet and has solid hand activity. On the offensive end, he demonstrated his potential at hitting tough shots and found ways to make an impact on the drive, although he was smaller than the defenders. Smart at relocating after touching the paint.

William Deng Maker Bol (‘10 FC Barcelona) 6’4, Wing, South Sudan

Ater and Juom’s brother was one of the brightest spots in the event. He led Barcelona’s full-court pressure and helped to create an insane number of deflections. Did a solid job on the ball as a defender, but he struggled a little more at covering backdoor cuts and overall in defensive rotations. On the offensive side, he was tremendous in transition and took advantage of his first step at attacking closeouts. He has plenty of room for improvement in terms of off-ball activity in halfcourt situations. His physical upside is encouraging.

Sadio N’Diaye (‘10, Casademont Zaragoza) 6’11, Big, Mali

One of the most intriguing prospects in the event. On the one hand, Sadio struggled to get involved in the game because he’s still learning the fundamentals of the game. On the other hand, it’s pretty easy to identify which are his areas of improvement and working on them is an affordable task: improving his coordination as a roller or not bringing down the ball after grabbing it will be considerable strides for him. He made an impact as a defensive rebounder and protected the paint with his presence. He has the foundation to be a solid player for the upcoming years.

Roland Osagie (‘10, Fundación 5+11 Baskonia) 6’6, Forward, Spain

Skilled forward with fair athletic potential. Showed some glimpses of his ceiling dribbling with either hand and built some paths to the rim for himself as a driver. A solid vertical athlete, was also a threat in the open court. He needs to keep working on his shooting mechanics. On the defensive end, he provided some versatility, but still has some ways to go to determine if he’ll be able to translate it to the next stages.

Carlos Elordi (‘10, Valencia Basket) 6’1, Guard, Spain

Elordi made a strong impression as an invited player. Even though he had to adjust to a secondary ball-handling role, he was able to fill the gaps and showed a nice level of activity as an off-the-ball threat. When he had to act as a ball handler, he showed some shades of his ceiling as a shot-creator by finding good spots for pull-ups off one or two dribbles. Carlos Elordi’s frame suggests he will still grow quite a lot.

Sergio Palau (‘10, Valencia Basket), 6’4, Forward, Spain

One of the most singular players in the event. Sergio Palau projects himself as an intriguing forward prospect. He was taller than most of the players, but in addition to this, he made an impact in the game by attacking relentlessly the offensive board, shooting the ball in spot-up situations and attacking the closeout fluidly. Sergio Palau also showed some flashes of lateral quickness and took advantage of his length to adjust Valencia’s defense. 

Arnau Escosa (‘10, Bàsquet Girona), 6’0, Guard, Spain

Arnau Escosa established himself as one of the most unpredictable scorers in the event. He mainly relies on his left hand to create offense for himself, but he showed some advanced footwork glimpses, and this made up for his lack of size and athleticism. Even though he sometimes overdribbled, Escosa hit some tough shots in most of the games. On the defensive end, he had some ups and downs in terms of engagement and awareness, but he did a solid job staying in front of ball-handlers and created some double-team deflections.

Arnau Cortijo (‘10, Bàsquet Manresa), 6’2, Forward, Spain

Immediate contributor with solid basketball fundamentals. Cortijo was able to score in multiple ways during all the event because of his mix of size, strength, and handles. He drove to the rim, taking advantage of his contact absorption ability and low center of gravity, and he also operated smartly as an off-ball threat to find some open spot-up looks. On the defensive end, he switched with physical opponents and helped with his size and activity. Fair MVP of the event.

Biel Santamaria (‘10, Joventut Badalona), 6’2, Forward, Spain

Fierce competitor with all-around skills for the current level. Was key for Joventut’s balance on the defensive end because of his size and ability to rotate and recover ground. On the offensive end, he showed some potential as a slasher and didn’t struggle to adjust to an off-ball role when he had to cut or relocate.