In the latest edition of ‘P.I. Pulse’, Pro Insight’s Jason Filippi compiles his scouting notes after spending multiple days evaluating the top prospects playing in ANGT Ljubljana:
I recently ventured my home base in Bologna, Italy, for the final leg of this year’s Adidas Next Generation Tournament, a top-notch event filled with talented young prospects from all over the world (note: in case you missed our ANGT Belgrade article, check it out here; for my breakdown of the top prospects from ANGT Patras, click here; for our most recent recap on ANGT Varese, click here). This most recent trip provided the opportunity to get updated in-person evaluations on aspiring college and pro players and write up detailed reports for the Pro Insight database. I’ve included a distilled version of those reports below for the purposes of this article. I’ve also included C-RAM scores for each prospect, courtesy of our stats partner Cerebro Sports (for 10% off your Cerebro subscription, use code PROINSIGHT22). For more detailed scouting reports — and intel — on these players, as well as reports on some of the other younger prospects I saw in Ljubljana, subscribe to our database, here. With any questions or comments, shoot us an email: email@example.com.
With that, here are my scouting takeaways after spending some time evaluating the top prospects from ANGT Ljubljana:
Eli John Ndiaye (SPA) | 6-8 Big | Real Madrid
C-RAM: 10.6 (Gold Badge - tied for #3 overall in event)
Eli Nidaye was once again dominant and picked up his third straight ANGT MVP award here in Ljubljana! Although his numbers were not necessarily as impressive as in past tournaments, he was still a major difference-maker with his versatility on the offensive end and his motor on the defensive side. Ndiaye has pretty average size/length but he is very mobile and quick off his feet. He’s shown an improved offensive game and can play both the 4 and 5 spots. In the low post he does a great job taking advantage of favorable mismatches and can post-up or face-up. He can also put the ball on the deck to score one-on-one (loves to spin toward the middle to score with jump hooks) as well as turn-and-face to knock down baseline shots. Additionally, Ndiaye has increased his shooting range over time – he can now pop out for corner three-point shots and knock down jumpers from the elbows, too. He runs the court hard and is a good finisher in transition. He is active on the offensive glass, following his own shots well – and scores a lot on put-backs. Ndiaye has a good motor – he plays hard on both sides of the court. He may lack the size to play the same way at the NBA level, but he definitely plays bigger than his listed height. He is active and moves his feet well and can switch on to a smaller player. He contests shots aggressively and deflects a lot of passes, as well. I really like his potential as a small-ball center for the Euroleague level.
Baba Miller (SPA) | 6-9 Forward | Real Madrid
Baba Miller was a bit inconsistent, but he was still by far the player with the most upside and NBA potential in this tournament. He’s still filling out, but has good positional size and a nice wingspan. He is mobile/agile and moves well for size. Miller is a combo forward who actually plays a lot at the 3 spot in big lineups, even though I think he will be more of a stretch-4 long term at the pro level. He’s a versatile player who can play both inside or outside. Miller is also a good high post player who can put the ball on the floor and drive to the basket as well as shoot it from out to three-point range. His shot mechanics need to be fine-tuned (he doesn’t square up well and has a pretty low release point) but he’s shown to have a good shooting touch. He has a nice step-back move in his arsenal, too. He can post up and has a nice turnaround shot. While operating out of the low post, he can spin both toward the middle or baseline for jump hooks. He does a nice job finding ways to take advantage of favorable mismatches and is a strong alley-oop finisher. Throughout the tournament, he displayed some impressive high post passing acumen. Miller has a good feel for the game, in general. He can handle it in the open court, but could improve vs. ball pressure. He still needs to improve a lot on the defensive end. His length helps him as he contests shots and deflects a lot of passes, but he lacks physicality and plays smaller than his frame might indicate (he is too much of a finesse player, currently). Miller rebounds his area but doesn’t always go after the ball aggressively enough. All that said, we are splitting hairs and ultimately talking about a terrific player – a blue chip college prospect with legit NBA potential.
Elijah Ndi (GER) | 6-5 Wing | Wurzburg
Elijah Ndi was a major disappointment here in Ljubljana but nonetheless he has some very realistic potential for higher levels of competition. He brings just average height to the table for a wing, but he has long arms and a strong body to help compensate. He is also a solid athlete with some vertical pop. He definitely passes the eye test, but is missing something…Ndi really struggled with his jump shot in this tournament – his shooting stroke looks good, but he simply couldn’t buy a bucket in this event. Overall, Ndi is a perimeter-oriented player. He’s yet to show much off the dribble and needs to improve his in-between game and learn how to take better advantage of his physical tools. He moves well without the ball and is a good finisher off basket cuts. He is mostly just a catch-and-shoot guy at this stage and elevates well on his shots. Ndi is an effective open court player who does a commendable job of creating easy scoring looks in transition. He has the tools to be a nice wing defender and does a good job pressuring the ball – he’s shown glimpses of being able to guard much bigger players, also. He’s a good rebounder for a wing player. Ndi still needs time, but he is surely better than he looked here and I think he could still develop into a nice 3-and-D guy for the pro level.
Jan Vide (SLO) | 6-5 Guard | Real Madrid
C-RAM: 7.2 (Bronze Badge)
Jan Vide is a very improved player. I wasn’t crazy about him last year, but then he started to grow on me last summer at the Euro U16 Challengers in Novi Sad and confirmed his continued progression here in this tournament. For starters, he has good size and a strong build for his age. Vide is a combo guard who is definitely more of a scorer than a playmaker. He plays mostly off the ball and is a good slasher who can score one-on-one, using more strength than quickness to get by his man. Vide is a crafty finisher at the rim and can score with contact. His weak spot is his perimeter shooting as he is not a reliable shooter from long range (he doesn’t even look to shoot it much from three-point range). He does a good job at driving and dishing the ball off to big men cutting to the basket. He’s a good open court player who knows when to leak out to score on the fast-break. Vide is noticeably assertive, poised and confident despite playing a year up. He can defend bigger wings well but may struggle to contain smaller, quicker ball-handlers as he progresses up levels. He obviously needs to improve his range shooting, but he has interesting potential for both the college and European pro levels.
Urban Klavzar (SLO) | 6-1 Guard | Real Madrid
Ljubljana was another solid showing by Urban Klavzar, who filled in the leadership void left by the absence of teammate Juan Nunez. He has just average size and length, but he is quite strong and plays bigger than his listed 6’1 height. Klavzar is a scoring point guard who, in my opinion, is better as a scorer than as a playmaker. He is a good pick-and-roll player, but he looks for his own shots first. That’s not to say he isn’t a good passer – he especially drives and kicks it well. He can score both via driving/slashing or with jump shots. Klavzar is a good pull-up jump shooter from out to three-point range. He is really just an average athlete but he still manages to get to wherever he wants (at this level at least). He makes good use of fakes and changes of speed/direction to throw defenders off. He’s also a crafty finisher at the rim. Klavzar will need to prove that he can create and finish as well at higher levels of competition. He’s a good open court player both as a passer and as a finisher. Klavzar is a smart defender, too, and knows how to play angles and anticipate on and off the ball. His average foot speed may limit him at the pro level. Klavzar is a polished, mature player who may not have much upside left. He plays a very Euro-style game. Regardless, a good college prospect who will end up being a high-caliber Euroleague player.
Henri Veesaar (EST) | 6-11 Big | Real Madrid
C-RAM: 7.4 (Bronze Badge)
Henri Veesaar can still be quite inconsistent at times, but overall, he has shown major improvements over the past year-and-a-half, both in his game as well as in his demeanor. His confidence has really grown and he is playing much more aggressively on both sides of the court, now. Veesaar has decent size/length and is quite mobile, but he still needs to get stronger in the upper body. He is a versatile big man who can play both inside and outside. Veesaar is a good high-post player and he can also put the ball on the deck and drive to the basket or shoot it from out to three-point range. He can score vs. single coverage in the low post, too. He’s a good pick-and-roll player who is a good finisher off dives (he had a couple nice alley-oop dunks, this week). In general, he is finishing much stronger than in the past and he can make some athletic plays on the move. Veesaar is a good passer from both the high/low post. He has shown improvements on the defensive end, too. Often criticized in the past for his lack of physicality, he has toughened up a lot since I first saw him three years ago. He had a great game here vs. Bassano where he outplayed highly-touted big men Tiefing Diawara and Moussa Bamba. He moves his feet well and can contain smaller players, but he still may get overpowered by stronger big men, depending on the match-up. Veesaar shows good timing for blocking shots as a rim protector. I like his potential as a stretch big for both college and the pro level.
Joshua Bonga (GER) | 6-3 Guard | Zalgiris Kaunas
On paper, Joshua Bonga was one of the best backcourt prospects in the tournament, but he played very poorly in this event and definitely saw his stock drop. I liked him last summer at Euro U16 Challengers in Sofia, but he was a major disappointment here in Ljubljana. He has nice physical tools – size/length/athleticism – but he did not play up to his potential. He is a very good slasher who can drive-and-kick well but he showed poor decision making on many occasions, forcing plays and turning the ball over at an alarming rate (at one point his coach was practically forced to have him play off the ball to limit damage). Bonga is a good open court player but he needs to improve his half-court game. He can score via pull-up jumpers, but his perimeter shot can be very erratic. He has developed a nice step-back move, but still has work to do. He draws a lot of fouls and gets to free throw line at an impressive rate. Bonga shows good defensive potential for higher levels of competition as he can defend both guard spots well. He’s better than he showed here, but I will be looking to see him bounce back from a forgettable performance in Ljubljana. Bonga is the type of kid who, in my opinion, would benefit from playing college ball in the USA.
Motiejus Krivas (LIT) | 6-11 Big | Zalgiris Kaunas
C-RAM: 10.6 (Gold Badge - tied for #3 overall in event)
Motiejus Krivas is a very improved player and was deservedly voted to the All-Tournament Team after leading Zalgiris to the finals where he held his own against a deep/talented Real Madrid frontline. He has good size for the position (a particularly long body with plus-length) and seems to have gotten much bigger and stronger since last year. He is just an average athlete (doesn’t have much lift) but he is more mobile than he looks. Krivas showed improvements in his offensive game and in general seemed to be playing with much more confidence than in the past. He plays mostly inside, but he can face-up and shoot it from the high-post area well, too (he can pop out for occasional three-point shots). He can put the ball on the deck in the low post and showed improved footwork compared to past viewings. Krivas is a good finisher at the rim off guard penetration. He can tend to be a slow finisher, though, and had the ball tipped away several times. He’s a good passer from both the high and low post. Throughout this event, Krivas was a physical presence on the defensive end, too, and he’s shown some potential as a rim protector. He can defend pick-and-roll, but struggles if he has to switch on to a smaller player for an extended period of time. I have him pegged as a potentially high-level college player as well as a nice Euroleague-caliber player.
Paulius Murauskas (LIT) | 6-8 Forward | Zalgiris Kaunas
C-RAM: 11.5 (Gold Badge - #1 overall in event)
Paulius Murauskas played very well in this tournament – probably the best I have seen him play in some time – and he was also probably the best prospect not from Real Madrid. He has just average size/length for position, but he plays bigger. He is a good athlete vertically but is just average laterally (lacks explosiveness). Murauskas is a hybrid forward who plays almost exclusively at the 4 spot now and I think that will be his default long-term position. He is quite versatile and has a very polished, mature game. Throughout the event, he played aggressively on both sides of the floor and seemed to be very focused/intense. He has good ball skills and can score in iso situations, taking advantage of favorable mismatches. Murauskas is a good shooter from the high-post area. He can shoot it from range, too, but his jumper is very streaky. He’s a good passer and can function as a facilitator. He can handle the ball well in the open court for someone his size and will lead the transition offense himself when he gets a defensive rebound. He’s a good offensive rebounder and follows his own shots well. Murauskas does a good job guarding bigger players, but moving forward, he needs to prove that he can defend smaller, more athletic wings. He has a very Euro-style game that may not translate well to the NBA, but he’d be a perfect small-ball 4-man at the college level.
Halvine Dzellat (FRA) | 6-7 Big | Blois
C-RAM: 7.7 (Bronze Badge)
Halvine Dzellat had a slow start but improved over the course of the tournament. He may not be a household name yet, but he is an underrated prospect – a late bloomer who still has some realistic margin for improvement. He has just average size for the position, but he has long arms that help him play bigger than his listed height. He has gotten much stronger since I first saw him two years ago. He’s a decent athlete/leaper and quick off the ground. Dzellat is mobile and runs the court well. In this event, he had a nice impact on the defensive end, but didn’t show much offensive skill (in his defense, he doesn’t have a very high usage role on this team). He is mostly just an inside player and doesn’t show any shooting range (didn’t attempt a single three). However, he did show to be an adept rim runner and he can score off lobs. He’s capable of attracting contact and drawing fouls in the paint, as well. He is active on the offensive glass. What really stood out about Dzellat is that he plays with good energy and shows promise as a versatile, switchable piece on the defensive end. He rebounds his area well, too. I think he would make a nice small-ball big man at the college level.
Alvaro Folgueiras (SPA) | 6-8 Forward | Malaga
Alvaro Folgueiras is an underrated prospect who is often overshadowed by other more well-known teammates but by the end of the tournament, he turned out to be one of the most consistent and reliable performers on his team. He has pretty average size – and needs to get stronger – but he has long arms that help him play bigger than his 6’8 height. Folgueiras is mobile and is a really effective rim runner, as well as a decent athlete/leaper. He is a combo forward who definitely looks like he is going to be more of a 4 than a 3, long-term. He can put the ball on the deck with confidence and can score one-on-one against bigger, slower opponents. He’s a good finisher off cuts to the basket and he really runs the court hard to finish plays in transition. At the moment, he lacks a reliable three-point shot – he can shoot it from the international 3-line, but currently lacks NBA three-point shooting range. He has a flat shot and needs time to set his feet to get his shots off. Folgueiras crashes offensive glass hard and plays hard on both sides of the court – he has an above-average motor, in general. He’s also someone I’d consider tough and plays bigger, really competing every possession. He’s a good in-area rebounder, as well. He would make a nice small-ball 4-man at the college level.
Jakub Necas (CZE) | 6-8 Forward | Brno
C-RAM: 11.2 (Gold Badge - #2 overall in event)
Jakub Necas had a solid tournament as his team’s undisputed leader, but I don’t feel that he has improved much from last year. The lefty has just average size/length, but he has a strong build and is a decent overall athlete. Necas is a versatile combo forward who plays more as a 4-5 at the junior level, but he should wind up as more of a 4-3 at the pro level. He has good ball skills and can act as a secondary ball-handler. He’s also a good passer and can drive-and-kick well. Necas is an effective open court player both as a handler and as a finisher. He can score out of isos and does a nice job at taking advantage of favorable mismatches. He’s a strong finisher who can handle contact and physicality. His three-point shot is very erratic currently and will need to improve if he wants to take his game to the next level. Throughout this event, he gave good defensive effort. Necas may be a bit undersized for elite levels of play but he still does a nice job guarding bigger players and he can also contain smaller wings. He’s also a good rebounder on both sides of the floor. In summation, I think he would be a very nice college player as well as a good future Euro pro player.
Moussa Bamba (MLI) | 6-7 Big | Bassano
C-RAM: 7.3 (Bronze Badge)
Moussa Bamba had a good tournament despite being slowed by a minor leg injury after his first game (he played the remainder of the tournament with his right leg bandaged up). He still has just average size/height for position, but he has very long arms along with a strong, physically-mature body. He’s a bouncy vertical athlete and light on his feet. Bamba did a pretty good job putting the ball on the deck to score against his man, although it’s worth noting that there is nothing pretty about his game: he basically just powers his way to the rim at this level. He can score with contact and is an athletic finisher, inside (had a couple nice alley-oop dunk, too). He can shoot it from the high-post area and even popped out for a couple three-pointers, but he lacks NBA range. Bamba crashes the offensive glass with regularity to score on tip-ins. He runs the court hard and is a threat to finish plays in transition. He was a major factor on the defensive end, here, as he is versatile, likes to get physical and plays bigger than his listed height. He can switch and hold his own with both bigger and much smaller players, which is one of his main differentiators. He’s a good shot-blocker for size, too. Bamba would make a nice small-ball center for the college level and I think he could be an energy guy off the bench at European pro level, at the end of the day.