One day is over at the Euroleague Basketball Adidas Next Generation Tournament in L’Hospitalet – which means all eight teams have played at least once and half of them have two games behind them. This is a brief, non-extensive look at the teams after six games of action. It is also not yet complete as I was unable to finish the review before the start of Day 2 action. Please come back over the course of the weekend for more info.

 

ASVEL

Theo Maledon

Maledon is tough not to like. The 2001-born point guard is a natural – but very quiet – leader. He will do anything it takes for his team to win. He can shoot and drive and pass and is extremely mature in his demeanor. Maledon left INSEP/CFBB after last season winning the ANGT title, and he has already played in the EuroCup for ASVEL. One of the main notes from the loss to Barcelona was that down the stretch he took over defending Luka Samanic – or did his best – despite a size disadvantage of 2.08m to 1.92m. This just showed he wanted to be the leader of this young unit – he is one of 10 players who are bottom level players.

Malcolm Cazalon

Cazalon is a very interesting player. The wing thrives on offense but also is an excellent rebounder. He can drive to the lane but also can shoot from the outside. He also doesn’t try things he knows he cannot accomplish. Still a year younger than this generation, he will need to improve his defense but there is a lot to like.

Elijah Hoard

Including Hoard mainly because of the bloodlines – older brother Jaylen just one of many ballers in the family. Elijah is two years younger than the competition (2002) and still seems hesitant at times. There is an excellent basketball body as a frame work and at least decent athleticism – at 1.88m quite a bit shorter than 2.05m tall Jaylen. I hate to compare the brothers though as to let Elijah grow into the game and learn to develop. The ASVEL people really like him and as mentioned, there is so much basketball knowledge for him to take from his family.

Elwin Ndjock

Ndjock only played 7 minutes against Barcelona but he didn’t look overwhelmed (a 2001-born player). Excellent athleticism and is a fearless driver to the basket – though he doesn’t always finish at the rim at 1.90m. Ndjock also really gets at it on the defensive end. Definitely a guy who can make major leaps as he gains more understanding of the game and works on his game.

 

Barcelona

Luka Samanic

Where to start … almost a man among boys against ASVEL – 27 points, 14 rebounds (6 offensive), 6 assists, 1 steal, 2 blocks, 12 fouls drawn and 16 of 17 free throws. He did only connect on 5 of 19 shots from the field but was majorly contested on every shot. The Croatian has a full array of moves, can shoot from long range, is a relentless rebounder at both ends and also has never seen an opponent’s shot he doesn’t want to block.

Nikola Zizic

So much talk of this Barcelona team is about guys like Samanic and Digbeu, but Zizic is a huge part of this side’s success. A bit undersized as a center at 2.08m, but the Montenegrin is ultra effective around the rim on offense with a series of moves. He is also a great rebounder at both ends, with great positioning and long arms. He is also an excellent passer from the post – making it hard to double team him. Zizic, who is the only remaining Barcelona player on the team that won the ANGT title in 2016, also is very good on defense. He moves his feet well with active hands and also has a good feel for blocking shots.

Tom Digbeu

The son of legendary French player Alain Digbeu, this French wing has great athleticism with a long frame that also has space to fill out. The lefty can drive to the rim and finish above the rim. He still needs to work on his outside game, but he’s a good worker. The 2001-born player has improved his effort defensively, where he is a real asset with his length, getting his hands on balls or blocking shots.

 

Joventut

Joel Parra

Parra is a beast – just wish he could be a couple of inches taller. At 2.02m he’s big enough to play inside at the junior level but he’s a tweener who might not be able to work as a four. Parra looks like a bulldozer at times – not in a bad way at all though. He loves rebounding the ball – or getting it in transition – and barrelling his way to the basket. He’s still working on his outside shot but the consistency is getting there. He’s an excellent rebounder. He’s got a great motor as well. It will be interesting to see his transition to the senior level and if he can stay full time on the wing.

Artus Zagars

Zagars is fun to watch without a doubt. You can see a real floor general out there. Excellent court awareness and vision and does not really force the issue despite some flair for the flash. You have to like 16 assists to 4 turnovers – in 46 combined minutes over two games – but he also can finish around the rim, can shoot from the outside and is a tough rebounder (9 rebounds despite being 1.90m). He will also work hard on defense stopping the opposing point guard.

Vincius Da Silva

Da Silva is a long, athletic big man from Brazil. He still is plenty raw but he has shown some nice flashed around the basket and also has a decent understanding of using his length (2.12m) to block shots. But still needs to become more aggressive and improve his strength (2001-born). But being in Spain and the structure and training there – not to mention the competition – will definitely be a major benefit.

A couple of small notes: Manel Signes may have come up with the quietest loud triple-double (15 points and 16 rebounds) I have ever witnessed (against Gran Canaria). Followed that with 0 rebounds against Virtus. Pedro Barros warmed up for both games but the Brazilian is still being held back from playing after an ACL injury back in February. He said he had recovered and then had a setback. He hopes to be back in full soon.

 

Unicaja

Morgan Stilma

Stima is a battler. He lacks size to dominate in the paint but he is a total beast around the basket. He grabbed 19 rebounds against Promitheas Patras – seven of them off the offensive glass. He also showed that he can shoot away from the basket as well – more and more beyond the stripe. Stilma is the kind of guy you want to have on your team – he knows exactly what he can and can’t do and does that well and avoids making mistakes (just 2 turnovers in nearly 38 minutes).

Jesus Carralero

Carralero is a flat-out baller – another guy you would like to have on your team. Not flashy but far from just workmanlike – which is more Stilma. Carralero can drive to the lane and finish with a variety of moves. He is a good playmaker and makes smart decisions (5 assists-1 turnover in 32 minutes). Carralero also gives excellent on defense – 3 steals and 3 blocks.

Matheus Maciel

Maciel is a big bodied, 2001-born Brazilian center. He still has plenty of ways to go but there is some potential in there. He has some athleticism which you wouldn’t imagine at first glance. But again, there is development to be made – though Maciel has only been in Europe for a couple of months.

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