• Hello Hoop Ballers and welcome back to our offseason International Spotlight feature. The NBA offseason has been quiet the last couple weeks and I had the opportunity to visit my homeland and specifically the city of Volos in Greece where the U-18 European Championship took place. The mountainous area of Volos is famous from Greek mythology as it is the birthplace of the legendary Centaurs. The organizing committee capitalized on the opportunity to come up with a beautiful logo for the tournament:

    FIBA ran a couple of simultaneous tournaments for the U-18 teams as there is a Division A and a Division B competition due to the plethora of participating countries. Some of the best basketball prospects gathered in two different countries as Spain won the A Division in Volos, Greece and Israel won the B Division, which was played in Oradea, Romania.

    A few college coaches were present in their continuous effort to recruit the best available international talent, with Juwan Howard (Michigan), Dusty May (Florida Atlantic) and Tavaras Hardy (Loyola) all taking a seat courtside.

    The MVP

    Santiago Aldama, 18 years old, SF, Spain, Committed to Loyola Maryland

    18.0 points, 7.6 rebounds, 2.6 assists, 1.9 steals, 2.3 triples and 2.3 blocks in 28.1 minutes

    Santi led his team to the gold medal and distinguished himself as the most complete prospect at his age. The Spaniard has good size and athleticism while his length allows him to play the power forward position at stretches. His versatility is special as he can shoot the three or dominate against bigger opponents in the paint while he is an above-average rebounder as well.

    Aldama has grown up idolizing Pau Gasol, Rudy Fernandez and Juan Carlos Navarro and it’s clear that the kid has a great feel for the game. I’m looking forward to watching him develop next year in the collegiate level while he will be closely monitored by NBA teams.

    The All-Tournament Team

    Nikolaos Rogkavopoulos, 18 years old, SF, Greece, AEK B.C.

    11.7 points, 8.4 rebounds, 2.0 assists, 1.1 steals and 1.1 triples in 30.4 minutes

    Rogkavopoulos is a lanky kid with the ability to create his own shot from anywhere on the floor and he led a Greek team that overachieved and finished fourth in the tournament. He was able to create separation against most defenders but settled for the outside shot when he got tired.

    A smart prospect who knows how to use screens to his advantage, he also showed flashes of passing skill. Rebounding needs to improve and defense is not where coaches want it to be but the combination of size, quickness and shooting versatility have put him on the NBA radar already. Rog is an integral part of one of the Greek powerhouses and he has gained far more experience playing at the highest level than many of the kids his age.

    Ziga Samar, 18 years old, PG, Slovenia, Real Madrid of Liga ACB

    11.6 points, 8.6 rebounds, 7.4 assists, 1.9 steals and 1.3 triples in 31.6 minutes

    Samar was by far the best floor general of the tournament, leading Slovenia to the third place while averaging more assists by any other player. He is a modern playmaker who has been building his game on the footsteps of Goran Dragic and Luka Doncic but he doesn’t have the size to play off-ball. He recently got promoted to the main squad of Real Madrid and a lot is expected from the kid next year when he will compete for minutes in Europe’s best domestic league and in the EuroLeague.

    Usman Garuba, 17 years old, C, Spain, Real Madrid of Liga ACB

    15.6 points, 12.9 rebounds, 2.3 assists, 1.6 steals and 2.1 blocks in 27.7 minutes

    Garuba dominated the interior and literally had no one that could guard him across the entire competition. He is not only a strong kid but a very smart individual who understood positioning and was able to read plays and make defensive contributions against top talent. He is also going to play for Real Madrid next year and it will be interesting to see if he is able to develop any kind of an outside shot.

    Alperen Sengun, 17 years old, PF, Turkey, Bandirma Kirmizi of Turkish League

    11.9 points, 9.0 rebounds, 2 assists, 1.6 steals, 1.7 blocks in 23 minutes per game

    The Turkish guard was one of the highlights of the championship after scoring 28 points in his second game against the team of Germany. Sengun is a traditional power forward who took advantage of his quickness and was able to hit the mid-range shot consistently. He is not an elite athlete and might have to adjust playing as the small forward if he doesn’t grow more but the fundamentals are there and the future looks promising for him.

    Other Elite Talent

    Moussa Diabate, 17 years old, PF, France

    11.2 points, 11.5 rebounds, 1.2 assists, 1.2 steals and 2.2 blocks in 26.5 minutes per game

    Diabate was the best player on a loaded French team that disappointed and ended up getting eliminated in the Semifinals. The 6’9” forward was very active on both sides of the floor, taking advantage of his quickness and athleticism and creating matchup problems as teams had to double-team him occasionally. He is currently being recruited by Florida State, Michigan and a few more programs and I can already see a clear path to the NBA for him.

    Tibet Gorener, 17 years old, SF, Turkey, Montverde Academy (US)

    8.3 points, 2.0 rebounds, 1.3 assists and 2.0 triples in 22.8 minutes per game

    Gorener was another integral piece of a Turkish team that, in my eyes, deserved to win the tournament due to its consistency across the entire event. The Turkish guard is a modern sharpshooter with great size who should develop into a nice prospect in the coming years. His has a beautiful stroke and a quick release while it’s obvious that he is trying to mimic Steph Curry’s shooting range, not hesitating to launch his shot from anywhere in the court. He is currently being recruited by Nebraska and UCSB.

    Franz Wagner, 17 years old, SG, Germany, University of Michigan

    13.0 points, 4.8 rebounds, 1.8 assists and 0.5 triples in 20.8 minutes

    Franz Wagner, Mo Wagner’s little brother, was one of the kids most scouts had their eyes on in the tournament. A shooting guard with great size for his position, he had a slow start with a minor injury that caused him to miss a game in the preliminary round, but his performance improved and he showed great maturity and basketball IQ for his size. Wagner likes to create for his teammates but he is also able to take over the scoring burden when needed, and even though he didn’t shoot the ball well from behind the arc his stroke is solid.

    Tristan Enaruna, 18 years old, SF, Netherlands, Kansas

    19.1 points, 8.7 rebounds, 2.0 assists, 1.6 steals and 1.3 blocks in 33.4 minutes per game

    Netherlands was never considered to be a favorite in the tournament but Enaruna was a bright spot, scoring more points than any player in the event with 134. He is another big versatile forward who already has the size to compete with bigger bodies and can score efficiently. His versatility is intriguing as he can score in a variety of ways and even possesses range while he doesn’t neglect to rebound and was a positive on the other side of the floor as well.

    Samson Ruzhentsev, 17 years old, SF, Russia,

    12.3 points, 3.2 rebounds, 1.0 assist, 1.2 steals and 1.0 triple in 22.1 minutes per game

    Russia was pretty much a disappointment in the tournament and Ruzhentsev lacked the necessary consistency even though his scoring ability and potential was on display. He has great size at 6’7” and likes to attack the rim and shoot from deep, even though he struggled with his percentages in Volos. The Russian swingman is being recruited by Ole Miss, Florida, Illinois, TCU, Oregon, Georgia Tech and a bunch of other schools.

    Adem Bona, 16 years old, C, Turkey, Pinar Karsiyaka Izmir

    4.9 points, 5.1 rebounds and 1.7 blocks in 18.5 minutes per game

    One of the most sensational prospects of the tournament was clearly Nigerian-born Adem Bona who played limited minutes but showed tremendous defensive instincts. The kid is only 16 but has long arms and exceptional quickness for his size, making him a name that NBA scouts already have in their plans. Bona clearly lacks the awareness to play team basketball and only had a few highlights as a help defender so it will be interesting to see how he develops playing for one of the second-tier basketball clubs of Turkey.

    The Second Tier

    Princeton-bound Tosan Evbuomwan from Great Britain impressed with his size, length and versatility, while Drexel commit Mate Okros is a long-range shooter with size.

    Slovenian Maj Dusanic, a versatile and hard-playing forward who can guard multiple positions proved to be a capable shot blocker and an efficient scorer in the paint.

    Jamie Bergens from Netherlands played a lot with the ball in his hands mixing scoring and facilitating.

    Pelle Larsson of Sweden helped his stock as much as anyone in the B Division, averaging 15.8 points, 7.1 rebounds and 5.5 assists and he is currently being recruited by Stanford, BYU, San Diego, UCSB, Western Kentucky, UC Davis, Florida Atlantic, LMU and Cincinnati. He is a big combo guard with a strong frame and a high basketball IQ that allows him to play off ball often while he can score or create for his teammates.

    Rati Andronikashvili of Georgia is a natural point guard with impressive vision and the necessary length to compensate for the lack of a strong frame. His jumper is still questionable but he showed an ability to finish through contact adoring the basket.

    Some other names to keep an eye on were Matej Rudan of Croatia, France’s Malcolm Cazalon and Juhann Begarin, Ariel Hukporti and Len Schoormann of Germany, Lithuania’s Augustas Marciulionis, Bojan Tomasevic of Montenegro, Djordje Pazin of Serbia and Turkey’s Mustafa Kurtuldum.

    Here is the top-10 of the tournament in Volos:

    Thank you for reading this week’s article and please make sure to check us again in the next couple weeks where we will be previewing the FIBA World Cup which is set to take place in China at the end of the month. Stay up to date on all the breaking news and rumors posted on our website and on our Twitter account @HoopBallFantasy.

Fantasy News

  • Victor Oladipo
    SG, Indiana Pacers

    Victor Oladipo had little to say about his rehab process (ruptured quad tendon) at his basketball camp in Indiana.

    We weren't expecting earth shattering details while Oladipo was busy overseeing his basketball camp, but more information about the Pacer would be most welcome. It is hard to know what you will get from Oladipo on draft day, but you have to figure someone in your league will be interested in taking a gamble on him. He is still not scrimmaging with other players, and whenever he does return to game action this season, it is unlikely he will resume being a top player in the early going.

    Source: The Athletic

  • Briante Weber
    PG, International

    Briante Weber, after spending the end of last season with the Greek club Olympiacos, is joining the Metropolitians 92, based in Boulogne-Levallois, France.

    Weber attended free agent mini-camps in June with the Raptors and Wolves, and spent time in the G-League last year, but has never been able to catch on long-term with an NBA team. He has had brief stops with several NBA squads over the years, so it is possible he could return to a roster at some point this season. There is nothing to see here in terms of fantasy though.

    Source: BeBasket.com

  • Rui Hachimura
    PF, Washington Wizards

    Rui Hachimura showed off his scoring prowess with 31 points in Japan's comeback victory over Germany on Saturday.

    After a nice string of Summer League performances, Rui Hachimura is continuing his strong play in FIBA World Cup exhibition games for Japan. He can clearly get his own look in the mid-range, and the rookie should get a chance to perform for the Wizards this year. Keep an eye on Hachimura's preseason opportunities, as the competition for the Wizards' power forward minutes isn't fierce. He could be worth a late-round flyer in standard league-drafts.

    Source: Mike Schmitz on Twitter

  • Robert Covington
    SF, Minnesota Timberwolves

    Robert Covington (right knee) is not expected to have any limitations heading into training camp.

    Covington had arthroscopic surgery in April after missing 47 games last season due to a bone bruise on his right knee.

    Source: Chris Hine of the Star Tribune

  • Jeff Teague
    PG, Minnesota Timberwolves

    Jeff Teague (left ankle) is not expected to have any restrictions for training camp.

    Teague had a left ankle debridement procedure in April to help alleviate inflammation. Teague's ankles have given him trouble throughout his career and he only played 42 games last season. With a clean bill of health Teague will be looking to bounce back from a disappointing season.

    Source: Chris Hine of the Star Tribune

  • Derrick White
    PG, San Antonio Spurs

    Derrick White has reportedly passed the first concussion test after taking a nasty fall in Team USA's tuneup game vs. the Australian Boomers on Saturday.

    This is good news. White has worked hard for his Team USA roster spot and should provide some guard depth for them once he clears concussion protocols. He was an eye-opener last season and should still hold some fantasy value despite the return of a now-healthy Dejounte Murray.

    Source: Tom Orsborn on Twitter

  • Kyle Kuzma
    PF, Los Angeles Lakers

    Kyle Kuzma (sore left ankle) will not take part in the FIBA World Cup as Team USA announces its final roster.

    Kuzma sat out Team USA's final tuneup against Australia on Saturday as Marc Stein reports that he is flying back to Los Angeles to get treatment. We should still expect him to be ready for training and congrats to Mason Plumlee for making the team as many speculated that he would be the final cut.

    Source: Marc Stein on Twitter

  • Kemba Walker
    PG, Boston Celtics

    Kemba Walker scored 22 points on 7-of-15 shooting with four rebounds with two assists as USA Basketball had it's 78-game winning streak in tournament and exhibition games snapped on Saturday.

    Walker continues to assert himself as the team's best player but USA losing to Australia was the much bigger story in this one. Harrison Barnes also played well as he chipped in 20 points on 7-of-12 shooting to go with six rebounds. USA will take on Canada on Monday in their last exhibition before taking on the Czech Republic in the first official match of the tournament on September 1.

    Source: USAB.com

  • Derrick White
    PG, San Antonio Spurs

    Derrick White left Saturday’s game after tripping and hitting his head on the floor.

    White left without help but there is no word yet on whether he is dealing with a concussion. He finished with eight points, hitting 6-of-7 three throws in nine minutes with another update sure to come. The third-year guard put up top-125 per-game value, playing 25.8 minutes in his second season. Even with the return of Dejounte Murray, White should still be worth a roster spot in most standard leagues.

    Source: Jeff Garcia on Twitter

  • Marcus Smart
    PG, Boston Celtics

    Marcus Smart, sidelined for almost three weeks with calf tightness, returned to action on Saturday as USA lost to Australia in their exhibition.

    Smart only played nine minutes in this one but still managed to score 7 points with three assists days after being named one of the team’s co-captains. Coming off an NBA All-Defensive First Team selection, he produced top-100 per game fantasy value as it seems he may have finally fixed his shot after shooting under 40 percent from the field in his first four seasons. He also produced a career-high in both steals and triples with 1.8 and 1.6 respectively as his career seems to be on the up and up.

    Source: USAB.com