The UMCOR U18 European Champion Men in Greece has showcased top basketball prospects across the continent.
With the help of Jeff LaMere, a former assistant coach at Virginia Commonwealth University, we break down some of the top talents in the tournament.
Baris Hersek, Turkey
In Turkey’s win over Bulgaria yesterday, Hersek blocked a shot down low. He out ran the entire defense, received a
|Baris Hersek (TUR)|
“He can create his own shot,” said LaMere.
“He can hit you from both inside and outside. He is extremely talented. He doesn’t play like his size. The only thing about him is that he doesn’t appear to be great teammate. But it is hard sometimes for kids that are used to be a star at the club level and then come and be a part of a team here where there are so many good players.”
Chavdar Kostov, Bulgaria
|Chavdar Kostov |
Stats don’t lie and when a kid is able to register three 30-point games and lead the tournament in scoring, there is no doubt he is a tremendous offensive talent. As Kostov put up 39 in a loss to Serbia & Montenegro, journalists sitting on press row were speaking about the last time they saw a guard able to score with such ease. Comparisons were being made to greats such Drazen Petrovic and Nikos Gallis.
Kostov has a lightning quick release, which has helped him register a three-point shooting percentage of over 40 percent. In the game against Serbia & Montenegro, Kostov dribbled the ball down court, crossed over to shake off a defender and with a split second of daylight, hit a three. Moments later, he made an acrobatic reverse lay-up and was fouled. Sending him to the line is not a good idea – Kostov is shooting 84 percent from the charity stripe.
“He is not a great athlete, but he shoots it so well and that is what makes him so effective,” said LaMere.
“He forces the opposition to revolve their entire defensive strategy on stopping him. He single handedly carried Bulgaria into the quarter-final round.”
Nicolas Batum, France
|Nicolas Batum |
The 201-cm guard-forward has treated fans in Greece to an array of acrobatic moves. In the quarter-final round game against Italy, he received an alley-oop pass, was fouled, but still managed to lay the ball in. Against Greece, Batum provided definition to the word “facial” by slamming it home in the face of Greece’s Alexandros Sigkounas. Besides the spectacular, Batum has the ability to score driving to the basket and shooting it from outside. For his size, Batum is a tremendous rebounder – he tallied 16 against Greece.
“He is so athletic and can do so many things,” said LaMere.
Miroslav Raduljica, Serbia & Montenegro
|Miroslav Raduljica |
As European centers have drifted further and further outside and thus changed the way basketball is played around the world, Miroslav Raduljica is an example of the traditional and modern big man. He has an array of low post moves and is a bruising force on the boards. But the 211-cm big man can also step out and knock down the open jumper.
“How many players do you see here that can score in the low post the way he does?” asks LaMere.
Vladimir Dasic, Serbia & Montenegro
|Vladimir Dasic |
“He does everything,” said LaMere.
“And he is only going to get better. He has a great body, and he can handle the ball and he can shoot it. I really like him as a player.”
Dasic has been the model of consistency in the competition, averaging 20.4 ppg. His low game was 16, while his highest total was 24.He is shooting over 50 percent on two-point field goals.
Oleksandr Kolchenko, Ukraine
|Oleksandr Kolchenko |
The 196-cm guard can be best described as a tremendous offensive player and a questionable teammate. At times, Kolchenko has demonstrated the ability to score at will. A strong player with a great shot, Kolchenko is aggressive and always looking to score when he touches the ball.
However, what is alarming about Kolchenko is his attitude. He has frequently been seen exchanging words with his coach Stanislav Shchypakin. At one point, after he was pulled out of the game, Kolchenko took off his shoes. When his coach brought him back into the game, Kolchenko didn’t even have his shoes on and wasn’t ready to enter. What is also alarming was his reaction after Ukraine won their first game over Germany. Kolchenko only played eight minutes and as his teammates were celebrating their first win, Kolchenko stayed behind on the bench.
“I would say he is the worst teammate here,” commented LaMere.
Victor Claver, Spain
“You don’t see too many guys that can do that,” said LaMere.
Claver has been a major reason for Spain’s success and he fits perfectly into their team concept.
“He’s lanky, he moves exceptionally well without the ball and he is a skilled basketball player.”
Jeff LaMere spent six years as the Director of Basketball Operations at Duke University and four years as an assistant coach at Virginia Commonwealth University. He is currently traveling around Europe to watch some of the best talents on the continent and plans to publish a newsletter in the near future on basketball prospects. He can be reached at email@example.com.