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 Varese:
I recently made the short trip from my hometown of Bologna to Varese, Italy for yet another leg of the 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). This 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 Varese, subscribe to our database, here. With any questions or comments, shoot us an email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
With that, here are my scouting takeaways after spending some time evaluating the top prospects from ANGT Varese:
Rayan Rupert (FRA) | 6-6 Guard | INSEP
C-RAM: 10.6 (Gold Badge - #2 overall in event)
Rayan Rupert was very impressive here in Varese and in my opinion, he was the best player in the tournament. I wasn’t very high on him last summer after a pretty average performance at Euro U18 Challengers in Tel Aviv, but he looked like a completely different player in this tournament, showing improvements in virtually every aspect of his game! Rupert has nice size with very long arms. I would not consider him to be an elite athlete, but he can make athletic plays nonetheless. He can play at both guard spots and showed improvements in his playmaking – he also looked more confident and was much more assertive than in previous viewings. Rupert is a good passer and a very unselfish player. He is more of a slasher than a shooter and can score one-on-one. He can post up smaller guards and did a nice job in general at taking advantage of favorable mismatches throughout the event. His one glaring weakness is his three-point shooting, which is very unreliable. Rupert showed nice versatility on both sides of the court: he can defend positions 1-2-3 at a high level, already. In particular, he did a nice job at pressuring the ball and was also able to switch onto much bigger players. Thanks to his length, he can be very disruptive and deflects a lot of passes. I really like his potential as a combo guard and I think that his game will translate nicely to the pro level. If his jump shot improves, too, then he is a legit NBA prospect.
Melvin Ajinca (FRA) | 6-7 Wing | INSEP
C-RAM: 9.4 (Silver Badge)
Melvin Ajinca was one of the most consistent performers in the tournament and looked like a very improved player, in general. Ajinca has nice size/length as well as a strong build and he is also a decent athlete/leaper. He is a lefty, swiss-army-knife type of wing who can do a bit of everything without necessarily excelling at anything. He can score in iso situations and is also a good finisher off cuts to the basket who can make tough, contested shots. He’s a good open court player who is an athletic finisher in transition. He’s shown tangible improvements in his perimeter shot and can knock down the corner three with consistency. He’s also added a nice step back move to his repertoire. Ajinca is a plus-rebounder for size and is very active on the offensive glass. He’s quite versatile on the defensive end, too. He plays hard and is a physical player. Ajinca is capable of helping pressure the ball as well as guarding a much bigger player. He looks like a tough kid in general. I like his potential as a 3-and-D wing and think he could be an impactful glue guy at pro level, too.
Noah Penda (FRA) | 6-7 Forward | INSEP
C-RAM: 9.0 (Silver Badge)
Noah Penda was one of the most intriguing prospects in this leg of ANGT. He was a bit inconsistent, but he was still voted to the All-Tournament team in part due to his impressive performance in the championship game. Penda is an extremely versatile combo forward who’s a total mismatch nightmare for opponents. Despite having pretty average size, he is very strong for his age and has an impressive wingspan which helps him play bigger. He showed nice ball skills and is an effective one-on-one player: he overpowers smaller wings and uses his quickness to drive by bigger slower guys (he can score with contact). He has a polished mid-range game but needs to work on his jumper (he doesn’t show much of a pull-up game and his three-point shot looks shaky). Penda is a good open court player who can handle the ball in transition. He is also a good rebounder on both sides of the court and scores a lot via put-backs. Penda showed impressive versatility on the defensive end here, too. He may be a bit undersized at the 4-spot, but his length helps him play bigger (as well as stay in front of smaller, quicker wings). He is not as polished as teammates R. Rupert and M. Ajinca, but he may have more long term upside than both.
Ilane Fibleuil (FRA) | 6-5 Guard | INSEP
Ilane Fibleuil is an underrated prospect who played much better than his (admittedly) unimpressive stats would suggest. His game is still very raw but I think it will translate well to higher levels of competition. Fibleuil has decent size/length and is a good athlete, also. He can function at both guard spots and shows some potential as a combo guard for the pro level. He was probably better as a default playmaker because his offensive game is still a work in progress, but on the positive side, he doesn’t need to score to be effective. He is very unselfish – perhaps too much – as he needs to become more assertive. He is a capable pick-and-roll player and he can also drive-and-kick well, too. He is a good slasher, but he needs a lot of work on his jump shot mechanics: his shot is quite flat with very little backspin and he doesn’t always extend his arm and follow through correctly. He is very good in the open court both as a passer and as a finisher, but he needs to improve his half-court game. On the defensive end is where Fibleuil shines and it’s what keeps him on the floor when his shot is not falling. He can defend both guard spots at a high level, already: he has quick hands, pressures the ball well and deflects a lot of passes, too. He still needs a lot of work, but he has nice potential for higher levels of competition. I think he would benefit from coming to the USA to play college ball.
Mael Hamon-Crespin (FRA) | 6-9 Big | INSEP
Mael Hamon-Crespin was one of the most polished (and consistent) players in the tournament. He needs to work on his body – he has a strong build but needs to tone his body more (and perhaps slim down a bit). He is not much of an athlete, but he is more mobile than he looks. Harmon-Crespin is a very skilled big man who has an advanced feel for the game. In the low post he showed a versatile repertoire: he can score with turnaround shots as well as put the ball on the deck to score one-on-one. He does a nice job at creating separation, but he plays below the rim and will need to prove that he can score as effectively at higher levels of competition. He can also play in the high post and shows some legit potential as a stretch big man for the pro level. He’s a good passer from both the high/low post (good outlet passer, too) and he has good hands in general. Hamon-Crespin can play both the 4 and 5 spots on offense but he is not as versatile on the defensive end. He can defend the low post well enough, but he will struggle to defend more athletic players in open space and is not much of a rim protector, even at this level. He may not have much upside left but, in my opinion, he is a good D1 college prospect who should develop into a nice pro player in Europe.
Zacharie Perrin (FRA) | 6-10 Big | Antibes
C-RAM: 10.8 (Gold Badge - #1 overall in event)
Zacharie Perrin was a pleasant surprise in Varese. I wasn’t thrilled with him last summer at Euro U18 Challengers in Tel Aviv, but he looked like a very improved player this time around. Above all, he played with a lot more confidence and was a factor on both sides of the court. Perrin has decent size with a strong build (wide mid-section) and he is quite mobile, too…he really runs the court well. He plays mostly inside but he showed the ability to shoot it from the high post area, as well (his shot is very flat and is not very fluid, however). He’s a good pick-and-roll player who is a good finisher in general, and can score off lobs. In the low post, he’s able to score effectively with his lefty turnaround. He puts the ball on the deck with mixed results – he tends to force a lot of plays and needs to learn to be more patient. Perrin is a good rebounder on both sides of the floor. He is active on the offensive glass and does a nice job of following his own misses. It’s worth noting that he outplayed fellow big man prospect Ruben Prey when they went head-to-head in the semifinals. Perrin has the tools to be a major factor on the defensive end and he doesn’t mind physical play, but he has an inconsistent motor which worries me (despite being a very capable rim runner he often gets beat down court by opposing big men who would simply run harder). He has the mobility to switch on to smaller players. Overall, he looks the part of a good prospect for both the college and pro levels.
David Gomez (SPA) | 6-9 Big | Real Betis
C-RAM: 9.1 (Silver Badge)
David Gomez had a slow start in Varese, but really grew on me over the course of the tournament. He has decent size for the position with long arms. He is not an explosive athlete, but he is quite mobile and runs the court well. Gomez is a modern power forward who can put the ball on the deck as well as shoot it from the perimeter. He can play in both the high or low post and can score one-on-one, utilizing long steps to get by his man en route to the basket. He can shoot it from out to three-point range, but this is not a strength of his, just yet. Gomez runs the court hard to finish plays in transition. He’s a pretty good passer from the high post area and does a nice job keeping the ball moving within the offense. To put it plainly, he needs to improve on the defensive end if he’s going to make it at higher levels of competition. He can hold his position well down low and is a pretty good shot blocker, but can also be slow closing out on shooters. He’s just an average rebounder for his size. Gomez is an interesting college prospect and should be a good pro player in Europe.
Leonardo Marangon (ITA) | 6-6 Wing | Virtus Padova
Despite grading out lower on Cerebro’s event leaderboard compared to some of the other notable prospects, Leonardo Marangon was one of the surprise players of the tournament as well as one of the wing players with the most upside I scouted here in Varese. He is definitely a guy to monitor closely in the future! He currently plays in the Italian 3rd Division but after his performance here I would expect a higher-level pro team to acquire him next season. Marangon has decent size with a long, wiry build. He’s a decent athlete/leaper with fast-twitch athleticism. He moves well without the ball and is a good finisher off cuts to the basket (he had a couple nice alley-oop dunks, here). He can score one-on-one, too, but needs to prove that he can score as well off the dribble at higher levels of competition. He can hit the corner trey consistently, but he is mostly just a spot-up shooter from three-point range, currently. He needs to develop a better pull-up game. Marangon is a good open court player who can generate easy scoring opportunities in transition. He also showed some legitimate potential as a wing defender, here. Thanks to his length and athleticism, he projects as an ultra-switchable player who’ll be able to defend both bigger and smaller players as he moves up levels. He plays the passing lanes well and does a nice job at helping pressure the ball. I like his potential as a 3-and-D guy for both the college and pro level.
Ruben De Oliveira Prey (POR) | 6-11 Big | Joventut Badalona
C-RAM: 10.3 (Gold Badge - #3 overall in event)
Ruben Prey was definitely one of the players with the most pro potential here in Varese. He has decent size/length and although he needs to get stronger, he appears to have grown at least another inch since I saw him last summer. He’s a very adept rim runner – he continuously beat most other opposing big men down the court to finish easy plays in transition. He has good hands and makes some tough catches on the run (good finisher off lobs – he had some spectacular alley-oop dunks). I liked that he is finishing much stronger at the rim than in the past. In the low post he can turn and face for baseline shots as well as put the ball on the deck to score against single coverage. Although mostly an inside player, he can shoot it from the high post area, too, and has expanded his shooting range out to the international three-point line. He can also put the ball on the deck from the high post to score on straight-line drives. Prey is an underrated passer and he did a nice job at finding the open man out on perimeter. Prey also showed nice potential on the defensive end, though he needs to get stronger. He has the mobility to switch and defend smaller players, but he may struggle against physical play. He needs to box out better, also. He was outplayed by Zacharie Perrin in the head-to-head battle between the top two big men in the tournament, but he may have more upside for the pro level than Perrin. Future NBA prospect that needs to be on the radar.
Jordi Rodriguez (SPA) | 6-7 Forward | Joventut Badalona
C-RAM: 9.2 (Silver Badge)
Jordi Rodriguez is a very improved player and was deservedly named to the All-Tournament team. He has nice ball skills and shows a polished offensive game, but he still needs a lot of work on his body to take his game to the next level. He has decent size/length, but he has a narrow frame and is very thin – he simply needs to get stronger (lacks explosiveness, too). Rodriguez is a perimeter-oriented player and a good shooter from out to three-point range. He is more of a spot-up shooter and could stand to improve his pull-up game. He moves well without the ball and is a good finisher off basket cuts, but he needs to improve at creating off the dribble. He doesn’t get to the rim much (nor to FT line) off the bounce. He’s a good open court player who knows how to leak out to score on the fast-break. Rodriguez is both unselfish and a good passer and has a nice overall feel for the game. As good as he is on offense, Rodriguez needs a lot of work on the defensive end. He comes off as being too much of a finesse player, currently lacking the required physicality and he plays smaller than his listed height. He plays too stiff/erect (lacks lateral quickness) and may struggle to guard more athletic wings at the pro level. He’s also just an average rebounder for size. That said, he’s a good Euroleague-caliber prospect.
Aday Mara (SPA) | 7-2 Big | Zaragoza
C-RAM: 7.4 (Bronze Badge)
Aday Mara had a very up-and-down tournament, but I still like his long-term potential. He has a very long body/frame that is slowly starting to fill out. He is quite agile/mobile for a guy his size (looks much more fluid in his movements than he did last year). He still needs to improve his conditioning, though: he just doesn’t seem to have much stamina and tends to get winded quite easily. Mara is mostly a low-post player but he can also face-up and play in the high post, too. In the low post he can score with turnaround shots as well as with a nice up-and-under move. He can also spin both towards the middle or baseline for jump hooks (he can finish with either hand around the basket). He may not have much lift, but he is so long that he just shoots over opponents with ease. He’s also a good lob finisher. Mara is a very good passer from both the high and low post: he sees the court well and does a nice job finding the open man. He can be a major factor on the defensive end with his size/length and has big time potential as a rim protector, even at the pro level. The obvious question marks regard his average lateral quickness and his inability (at the moment) to switch onto a smaller player effectively. Mara is perhaps developing at a slower rate than expected, but he remains a big time pro level prospect as well as an elite college prospect.
Neoklis Avdalas (GRE) | 6-6 Guard | Panathinaikos Athens
Neoklis Avdalas was one of the youngest players in the tournament but he still made a positive impact despite playing two years up. He has good size for his position (actually looks taller than listed) along with a plus-wingspan. He can play both on or off the ball but showed intriguing playmaking skills and has some interesting potential as a combo guard for the pro level, too (he can really drive-and-kick well). Avdalas showed some real ball skills along with the ability to score one-on-one (he is more of a slasher than a shooter, currently). He may lack blow-by speed, but he is still able to get to wherever he wants with the ball and is a crafty finisher in the paint. His range shooting is very erratic, though. He has a nice high release on his shot, but he needs time to get it off and is more of just a spot-up shooter from long range – he will definitely need to improve his pull-up game, over time. Avdalas uses his length well on the defensive end, too, where he can be disruptive and deflects a lot of passes. He plays too stiff/erect, however, and will likely struggle to defend smaller quicker guards at the pro level. Considering that he just turned 16 years old, this kid has big time potential, all things considered.
Tobias Jensen (DEN) | 6-6 Wing | Ulm
C-RAM: 7.5 (Bronze Badge)
Tobias Jensen was one of the surprise players of this tournament and looks like a very improved player from last year. He has decent size with a lanky build and a narrow frame. He’s a decent athlete/leaper for a Euro wing. Jensen showed a polished offensive game and was very assertive throughout the tournament. He is more of a scorer than a shooter and is a good finisher in general (he really moves well without the ball). He can score one-on-one and is a crafty finisher around the basket. His perimeter shot is very streaky, though. He’s a catch-and-shoot threat from out to three-point range, and a good open court player who’s a good finisher in transition. He can also act as a secondary handler and bring the ball down court against full court pressure. Jensen did a pretty good job defending the wing spot and looks like a tough kid. He appears to be very competitive, but he also seemed to be a bit impatient with his teammates at times, which is potentially concerning. Overall, I think he is an underrated prospect who would make a very nice D1 college player.