2 game totals: 17 points, 13 rebounds, 3 steals, 1 assist, 3 blocks, 3 turnovers, 7/10 2P
You can really tell that he uses his size, not being afraid of mixing it up inside, looking for low post positions, chasing the offensive glass, going towards the rim whenever he gets the ball in his hands within 10 feet from the basket, often for the dunk regardless of whether he faces opposition or not.
Taking contact from rivals is not a problem for him at all. He's still a bit robotic, but he showed some decent low post moves and promising jump-hook ability with both hands. He enjoys some touch in his huge hands, and indeed looks pretty decent from the charity stripe. He tried shooting from the mid-range distance in in-game situations, and regardless of the misses, wasn't completely off. Yesterday he had problems securing the ball in his hands, as he fumbled it a couple of times after he had already caught it.
Marjanovic is not an athletic player, but he runs the floor quite well for a player his size, and you can see he's a work-in-progress in terms of his quickness and coordination. And still, he surprises with some moves, like a perfectly executed dribble (against opposition) and layup after receiving the ball in transition. It's really interesting to stress that he moves on court with nice criteria, with a solid understanding of the game. On top of that, he seems like a really nice guy, joking with everybody (which doesn't mean that he isn't serious about the game) and perennially in a good mood. In a basketball world where most 7-foot plus players seem to be playing the game solely because of how tall they are, you can tell that Marjanovic really likes being on the court.
Saul Blanco, 6-5, Shooting Guard, Fuenalabrada, Spain
13 points, 6 rebounds, 1 steal, 1 assist, 2 turnovers, 3/3 2P, 2/4 3P, ½ FT
Its not hard to tell that Blanco is coming off an excellent season playing in the best league in Europe, as he looks like a consummate professional who knows how to play the game. He even left a good impression with the part of his game that is considered weaker than othershis perimeter shootinggoing 2/4 from behind the arc, even if his inconsistent release point and the quickness in which he gets his shot off still leaves something to be desired.
He may have also been a little too unselfish on some of his drives (something that plagued him even before in the previous day), getting to the rim nicely with his excellent first step, but preferring to dish off to the perimeter rather than use his solid leaping ability to finish strong at the hoop. All in all, though, this was a very strong showing from the Spanish shooting guard, one that made us ponder hard whether he might be a guy who is worth an NBA team investing a late 2nd round pick in, just to see how he continues to develop down the road. There are a few things to his game that remind you of a slightly taller Jose Calderon.
Rudy Mbemba, 5-11, Point Guard, 1987, Frankfurt Skyliners, Sweden
13 points, 2 rebounds, 4 steals, 15 assists, 3 turnovers, 2/4 2P, 3/6 3P
He particularly excelled in transition, almost always delivering the ball for easy baskets, but also did a nice job on the pick and roll or feeding cutters, actually completing some spectacular assists. He's a player that looks for the definitive pass, but was pretty effective doing itfinishing with an excellent 15 assists on the day, compared with just two turnovers. Mbemba keeps showing his nice deep touch, especially whenever he goes up for the pull-up jumper (actually he air-balled a fairly open three-pointer in catch-and-shoot fashion). Rudy was also pretty clutch, knocking down a couple of extremely important threes, even if he missed two free-throws that put the game in jeopardy. He also showcased his ability to finish near the rim with creative layups using his strong body to gain room and force fouls, and his quickness on the defensive end.
Ali Traore, 6-9, Power Forward, 1985, Le Havre, France
14 points, 4 rebounds, 1 assist, 6/9 2P, 2/2 FT, 26 minutes
Luigi Datome, 6-9, Small Forward, 1987, Montepaschi Siena, Italy
18 points, 8 rebounds, 5 steals, 2 assists, 4 turnovers, 6/7 2P, 2/6 3P
Datome showed most of his array of weapons here. He was incisive attacking the basket, showing a good first step, excellent quickness and a nose for looking for the rim. Indeed he drew a consensus "oooh" with a one-handed reverse dunk off a baseline drive. He also showed his deep touch, even if he was inconsistent from the perimeter. We missed a bit of his mid-range game, where he's pretty effective in off-the-dribble jumpers, although he knocked down a nice short bank shot after hanging up in the air.
Even if not a great creator on the offensive end, he surely understands the game and passes the ball pretty well within the offensive flow. Very active in the rebounding department, his uses his athleticism, reactivity and length to come up with rebounds on both ends of the court, actually providing him with a few second-chance points from the offensive glass. His activity extended to the defensive department, either on his man or in rotations, staying alert in the passing lines. He's a competitive player that barely saves any degree of intensity to get the job done.
Anton Ponkrashov, 6-7, Point Guard, 1986, CSKA Moscow, Russia
2 game totals: 20 points, 4 rebounds, 7 assists, 10 turnovers, 3 steals, 5/8 2P, 2/7 3P, 52 minutes
Ponkrashov showed off his full capabilities as a big point guard in the first game, doing a terrific job getting everyone involved. He made crisp passes around the perimeter to find open shooters spotting up on the wing, and also got to the basket despite his underwhelming first step to force rotations and then find the holes in the defense. Ponkrashov is not the most explosive guy finishing around the basket, but he was able to knock down a couple of shots from mid-range or from behind the arc today. He also utilized his size nicely on one occasion to post up a smaller guard and then kiss the ball off the glass.
In the second game Ponkrashov clearly suffered matching up against a similarly big guard in Daniel Hackett who did not allow him to survey over the top of the defenses the way he is usually accustomed to. He looked tired and very frustrated, visibly disappointed in himself everytime he went to the bench. There are still plenty of question marks amongst the scouts we spoke to regarding whether he has the athleticism or perimeter shooting skills to find himself a true position in the NBA, although there is no doubt that hes clearly one of the most talented guys here, especially in terms of his feel for the game.
Ivan Paunic, 6-4, Shooting Guard, 1987, Vojvodina, Serbia
9 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists, 4 turnovers, 2 steals, 2/2 2P, ¼ 3P, 2/5 FTs
Miroslav Raduljica, 7-0, Center, 1988, FMP Zeleznik, Serbia
14 points, 6 rebounds, 2 steals, 1 assist, 1 turnover, 2/5 2P
Mantas Kalnietis, 6-5, Point Guard, 1986, Zalgiris, Lithuania
2 game totals: 13 points, 5 rebounds, 5 assists, 6 turnovers, 5 steals, 4/7 2P, 1-3 3P, 48 minutes
He knocked down a few nice shots, for example a pull-up jumper to start off the game and then a very difficult 3-pointer at the buzzer as the first quarter came to a close. On the pick and roll he did a solid job, although he still has a ways to go in terms of learning to read defenses and responding to what is thrown at him. At the end of the day, Kalnietis possesses overwhelmingly more tools than almost any other guard here, and therefore has to be considered one of the most intriguing players weve analyzed in Treviso so far, even if he still has quite a ways to go to polish up his skill-set and decision making.
Romain Duport, 7-1, Center, 1986, Le Havre, France
2 game totals: 9 points, 5 rebounds, 1 steal, 3/4 2P, 1/4 3P
Nikita Shabalkin, 6-8, Power Forward, 1986, Samara, Russia
2 game totals: 20 points, 10 rebounds, 7 turnovers, 8/13 2P, 1/3 3P, ½ FT, 53 minutes
Shabalkin has been awfully quiet throughout the entire game so far, and the first game started exactly the same way Treviso has gone all along for him. The fact that he was barely getting any touches didnt help matters too much obviously. Shabalkin really came alive in the decisive fourth quarter though, scoring on a swooping hook shot, playing the pick and roll nicely to receive and finish quickly inside, and putting the ball on the floor. He wasnt very active besides that, though, only coming up with 2 rebounds in 28 minutes of action.
In the 2nd game of the dayagainst the Italian U20 team, Shabalkin did a much better job. He showed off his nice shooting touch with a baseline jumper and then a catch and shoot 3-pointer, while also displaying extra soft hands make tough passes around the basket and pulling down 8 rebounds in 23 minutes. Shabalkins biggest issues revolve around his lack of quickness and explosiveness finishing around the basket, often getting caught in no-mans land around the many 7-footers here when he tries to go up at the hoop without a pump-fake. Hes really the kind of guy that needs to play in a system alongside a good point guard to really be effective, as hes not the most naturally active guy in the world who will go and look for his own stuff. All in all we expected a bit more from Shabalkin based off the tape we watched coming in here, although he certainly hasnt played poorly.
Dusan Mladjan, 6-4, Shooting Guard, 1986, Reggio Calabria, Swiss/Serbian
11 points, 4 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 turnover, 1/3 2P, 3/7 3P, 27 minutes
Marko Keselj, 6-9, SF/PF, 1988, Akasvayu Girona, Serbia
10 points, 5 rebounds, 1 steal, 1 assist, 3 turnovers, 3/4 2P, 0/3 3P
Victor Claver, 6-9, SF/PF, 1988, Pamesa Valencia, Spain
5 points, 5 rebounds, 1/3 2P, ¼ 3P, 22 minutes
Vladimir Dasic, 6-9, SF/PF, 1988, Buducnost, Serbia
2 game totals: 22 points, 13 rebounds, 6 steals, 2 assists, 2 turnovers, 9/13 2P, 1/8 3P
Inconsistent shooting the ball from the perimeter, he succeeded basically only in catch-and-shoot mode. Very active on defense, his strength, length and quickness are adaptable to the three frontcourt positions at this level. Actually, he spent many minutes guarding centers and did a terrific job anticipating and being physical on them.
Joao Gomes, 6-6, Shooting Guard, Barriense, Portugal
2 Game Totals: 7 points, 8 rebounds, 3/8 2P, 0/3 3P, 2 turnovers, 40 minutes
Daniel Hackett, 6-5, Point Guard, USC, USA
14 points, 4 rebounds, 4 assists, 5 turnovers, 8 steals, 3/13 2P, 2/5 3P