During the third weekend of September, the International Basketball Academy Munich (IBAM) hosted the tenth edition of their Oktoberfestturnier, an U19 tournament with several interesting teams in attendance. Besides IBAM’s U19 and U17 team, several elite German youth teams, Ludwigsburg, Bamberg and Ulm, as well as three international teams, Orange1 Bassano from Italy, Basket Brno from the Czech Republic and Orange Lions Academy from the Netherlands, participated. For most of these squads, it was (one of) the first international youth tournaments in about 18 months. IBAM’s U19 squad, led by German international Benjamin Schröder, won the final against Orange1 Bassano. The tournament included several high-level prospects, some of whom had their first big performances in this level of tournament. From potential long-term NBA options to intriguing D1-prospects, the tournament had a lot to offer…
Nationality: Nigeria | Team: MHP Riesen Ludwigsburg (GER) | DOB: April 14, 2003 | Height: 6’8″
Stats: 23 points, 10 rebounds (2 offensive), 1 assists (2 turnovers), 3 blocks, 8-25 FG, 5-13 3P, 2-4 FT (only stats from one game are available (to me))
- Extremely impressive physically. Stands at 6’8” with broad shoulders and a lot of muscle mass for his age. Has elite athletic tools for the European junior level: a very good vertical jump in traffic and solid lateral quickness for his size.
- Very confident shooter. He let it fly whenever he saw a shot window and converted a decent chunk of them. Repeatable shot mechanics, though knee valgus still needs to be eliminated. Has the shooting touch to become a solid, high volume shooter in the long-term.
- Can create his own drives with quickness and a handful of change-of-direction moves. Effective at attacking closeouts as well. Athletic finisher around the basket, who doesn’t need much run up to throw it down. Displays good touch with his right hand but struggles more with his left.
- Versatile on the defensive end. Can defend forwards and even some guards on the perimeter. Also excels as a weakside rim protector. Shows solid feel for rotations and has the vertical and timing to erase shots at the rim.
Overall: Ugbo’s talent has been hidden by COVID as he wasn’t able to play any games for a year after arriving in Ludwigsburg in 2020. Now, his time has come, and he might just establish himself as a long-term NBA-prospect. Players with size, ball-skills and defensive versatility don’t grow on trees, but they’re exactly what NBA teams are looking for. After this season, Ugbo likely still won’t have played many minutes against high-level pro competition, so he’s still ways away from being a priority for NBA teams, but he’s too intriguing of a prospect to not keep on the radar long-term.
Nationality: Germany | Team: IBAM (GER) | DOB: August 28, 2003 | Height: 6’7″
Stats: 33.3 points, 7.3 rebounds (2.7 offensive), 2.3 assists (3.7 turnovers), 1.3 stocks, 9 fouls drawn, 32-49 FG, 8-14 3P, 28-35 FT
- Continued his inside dominance from the U18 Challenger. Shot 80% at the rim on over 8 attempts a game and drew almost 12 free throws per contest. Can create drives himself with his quickness and his handle but also attack a bent defense effectively. Drives aggressively and throws his body around fearlessly, which earns him a ton of free throws, and has the touch/strength to take contact and finish through it.
- Unlike at the Challenger, Schröder also dominated on the outside, going 11-23 on jumper and 8-14 on three-pointers. These weren’t easy shots either… many of them were contested, some of them should’ve been called fouls, but Schröder still sunk them like it’s nothing. After he had low 3PAr at two European youth championships, one ANGT and half a season of ProB, this is a marvelous sign of progress.
- As a passer on the move, Schröder mostly made the right reads, taking advantage of his scoring gravity to find open teammates. Playmaking from a standstill was a little more difficult as he has a tendency to pick up his dribble when he can’t find a pass quickly. Ultimately, Schröder will be more suited to play as a high-volume scoring wing rather than an offensive initiator.
- Defensively, he had some solid movements, keeping less athletic forwards in front of him with ease and making the occasional play as a helpside rim protector.
Overall: Schröder (class of ’22) was an established target for high-level D1-colleges prior to this summer. He cemented that position at the U18 Challenger and even topped it at this tournament. If the shot starts falling anywhere near this level consistently, Schröder will be showered with high-major offers throughout the next few months. A high-level pro career will come right after, if everything goes to plan.
Nationality: Mali | Team: Orange1 Bassano (ITA) | DOB: February 10, 2005 | Height: 6’7″
Stats: 8.3 points, 8 rebounds (3.3 offensive), 2 assists (2 turnovers), 4 stocks, 10-22 FG, 0-1 3P, 5-7 FT
- Excellent physical tools at 6’7”. Quick on his feet with a fantastic vertical and a very good frame. Will likely be a perimeter player long-term, barring a growth spurt, due to his size and somewhat high center of gravity.
- Can effectively finish around the rim with his vertical, but played in the post too much for my liking – maybe there’s something I’m missing, but I don’t see him being a major weapon there in the long-term. Would like to see him attacking from the perimeter more. He’s fluid enough for sure.
- Shows decent touch from midrange and three, even if the shooting form takes some getting used to. He shoots a two-motion shot where he brings the ball very far back. The motion is slow, but the release is high enough to where it’s still hard to block. Multiple reasons to consider him a potentially consistent shooting threat in the distant future.
- Shows flashes as a perimeter defender with his mobility, but still has a lot to learn. Reaches and bites on pump fakes way too much. Needs more experience in this area.
- Unless a growth spurt occurs, Bamba will be best as a secondary rim protector. Decent feel for rotations and a fantastic vertical. Not afraid of getting posterized and will swat shots even quite a bit above rim-level.
Overall: Bamba may have been the least known prospect in our recently released 2005-ranking, but at this tournament, he showed that he belongs. The physical tools are excellent, the skill flashes interesting. It will be compelling in what direction his development goes. It seems like Bassano think of him more of an inside player, while I believe he should be playing on the outside more than he did. Maybe they’re currently in the process of slowly developing him into a slasher and more of a perimeter defender. Maybe they’ll develop him into more of a big, and I just don’t see the vision yet. Only time will tell.
Nationality: Mali | Team: Orange1 Bassano (ITA) | DOB: 2006 | Height: 6’10”
Stats: 8 points, 5.7 rebounds (3 offensive), 3.3 stocks, 10-19 FG, 0-3 3P, 4-8 FT
- Physically advanced for his age. Very strong upper body and still moves fairly fluidly.
- Effective play-finisher at the basket. Easily scores above the rim in space. Shows flashes of a post-game with drop steps and hook shots.
- Displays some touch on the inside and outside, but it’s far from elite. Has solid shooting mechanics and may develop into a situational spot-up option eventually.
- Very good post passer. Finds cutters on the regular with quick reads.
- Fluid mover for his size, but not switchable. Struggles to stay in front of smaller players.
- Makes more of an impact as a primary rim protector with his size, strength and vertical, though he still has to learn how to use his tools a bit better.
Overall: Diawara is undoubtedly one of the most interesting bigs in the international 2006-class. The physical tools are fantastic, the passing and overall skill flashes are intriguing. He still has a ton to learn, but it can’t be said often enough that most of his opponents at this tournament were 2-3 years older. He has plenty of time to continue improving his feel, shooting and inside scoring package. If he improves at a good rate, we’ll be looking at least at a Top-20 player in his class, possibly quite a bit higher.
Nationality: Czech Republic | Team: Basket Brno (CZE) | DOB: November 4, 2003 | Height: 6’11”
Stats: 18 points, 12.3 rebounds (3.3 offensive), 2.7 assists (4.3 turnovers), 4 stocks, 20-36 FG, 1-4 3P, 13-14 FT
- Effective interior scorer. Capable roll-man. Can finish at the rim with either hand, even through some contact, and shows decent touch for hook shots with his right. Mostly ground-bound and therefore not a lob target.
- Limited success from three, but continues to show his touch from the FT line (20-28 FT at the ANGT and 10-15 FT at the U18 Challenger). Long-range shot form looks solid enough. Should be able to develop into a floor spacer.
- Can act as post hub as long as he scores enough from there. Good vision from a standstill, finds cutters easily and regularly.
- Lacks hip flexibility and lateral quickness to defend in space. More effective around the rim with his size and length, even if he lacks aerial presence.
Overall: Colleges love size, especially if it comes with some level of skill. If Hustak is interested in going the US-route, he should be a target for low-major D1-schools who are looking for an interior presence with a good interior skill set. If this route isn’t for him, he’ll make his way in professional basketball as he’s already playing effective backup minutes for Brno in the Czech NBL.
Nationality: Germany | Team: IBAM (GER) | DOB: April 30, 2003 | Height: 6’7″
Stats: 14.3 points, 8.7 rebounds (1.3 offensive), 2.3 assists (7 turnovers), 4.6 stocks, 17-48 FG, 3-11 3P, 6-7 FT
- Aggressive slasher with a great vertical. Constantly looking to finish above the rim, no matter who’s in the way. Had a handful of impressive dunks and takes contact very well. Occasionally forces up tough shots.
- Most effective attacking off the catch. Made a couple of decent passing reads on the move, but is way too prone to losing his handle or throwing inaccurate passes (his turnover number, however, is a joke. Some of these turnovers shouldn’t have been attributed to him) under heavy defensive pressure to be an offensive primary.
- Showed flashes of a pull-up jumper going right or left. Wasn’t a consistent threat from downtown, but the combination of touch and mechanics is pretty promising.
- Lacked effort at times defending the perimeter, conceding penetration too easily or not giving his all countering direction changes. Looked solid defending similar-sized players when he gave his best.
Overall: Dunks like Frank’s aren’t commonplace in German youth basketball, so his vertical pops off the screen immediately. Combine that with flashes of a pull-up jumper and very good size for someone this skilled, and you have quite an interesting wing prospect. A wing prospect who seems to be a bit overlooked as well as he doesn’t even appear in the Top-30 of the only German 2003-born prospect ranking I’m aware of – I agree with the ranking quite a bit otherwise, but I would comfortably put Frank Top-15 based on this tournament. Intrigued to see if he can consistently knock down outside shots, intrigued to see more in general.
Nationality: Netherlands | Team: Orange Lions Academy (NED) | DOB: likely 2004 | Height: 6’5″
Stats: 17.7 points, 2.7 assists (3.7 turnovers), 3.3 stocks, 22-47 FG, 2-10 3P, 7-10 FT
- Dominated as a slasher, attacking off screens or in transition. AWESOME contact finisher, especially with his right hand, thanks to his touch and body control. Had countless tough finishes through bigs.
- Can occasionally create for himself and others with solid quickness and simple but effective change-of-direction moves. Makes the basic reads on the move and can even hit the roll-man, but definitely best suited to attacking off the catch.
- Showed flashes as a shooter, even hitting one off-screen three, but no consistent shot as of yet. Shoots a fluid one-motion shot but lacks consistency in terms of hand placement.
- Has the size and athleticism to make regular plays as a team defender.
Overall: Verhallen was completely unknown to me prior to the tournament, but he impressed quite a bit. The contact finishes especially, were jaw-dropping at times. A future in a league on the level of the Dutch Basketball League seems easy to project, but anything beyond that depends on how well the shot develops. Can he become a consistent downtown threat so defenses have to stick close, there’s potential for much more.
Nationality: Czech Republic | Team: Basket Brno (CZE) | DOB: October 24, 2003 | Height: 6’3″
Stats: 21.3 points, 4 assists (4.3 turnovers), 4 steals, 21-47 FG, 10-26 3P, 12-15 FT
- High-volume shooter with good touch and a very quick one-motion release. Showed some versatility coming off screens (they ran an “Elevator Set” for him) and punishing drop defense with pull-ups.
- Showed solid touch around the rim, but only has limited presence there. Lacks top-end athleticism to be a versatile finisher.
- Solid playmaker. Uses screens very well to open passing windows. Capable of finding shooters and the roll-man from various angles. Loses his handle way too much in traffic to be a high-level creator.
Overall: Dana was one of the breakout stars of the tournament to me. The versatile shooting looked awesome and the playmaking flashes were quite interesting as well. How much potential he has depends on how good the shot actually is: it looked fantastic here, but he only shot 5-24 at the U18 Challenger this summer. If he hits these shots consistently, he could be a target for low-major D1 schools or a regular contributor for Brno in the near future.
Nationality: Germany | Team: MHP Riesen Ludwigsburg (GER) | DOB: February 18, 2003 | Height: 6’6″
Stats: 18.5 points, 1.5 assists (1.5 turnovers), 2.5 steals, 16-38 FG, 5-22 3P (only stats from two games are available)
- Quality shooter with a lot of versatility to his jumper. Attempted three-pointers at a high volume, and while they didn’t drop as much as you’d like, he clearly has the mechanics, footwork and touch to make them at a decent clip in a bigger sample. Very active off the ball and constantly looking to get open around screens. Gets his shot off even under pressure thanks to his quick release and pre-shot footwork.
- Not someone who initiates plays, but can put the ball on the floor against closeouts. Can attack to either side but doesn’t have a ton of versatility to his drives, though Eurosteps are definitely part of his arsenal. Solid touch around the rim, but lacks eye-catching athleticism and is right-hand dominant at the basket.
Overall: Shooting and size are prized skills in today’s game, and at 6’6” with a versatile jumper, Minjoth has the requirements to succeed on some level of professional basketball – he already signed his first pro deal in August of 2021. If he can shoot in the high-thirties on big volume from three – he started the German 4th division season shooting 7-16 from three in two games -, he could become a potent offensive weapon as an off-ball scorer, which could help mask holes he may have in other areas of his game.
- Eduard Roschnafsky (2003 / 7’0″ / MHP Riesen Ludwigsburg): mobile big with a very good three-point shot.
- Dan Makuna (2003 / 6’8″ / IBAM): athletic forward with some ball-skills and intriguing shooting touch.
- Jonas März (2003 / 6’2″ / IBAM): guard with a solid “dribble/pass/shoot”-skill set, whose playmaking stands out quite a bit.
- Edonis Paqarada (2003 / 5’11” / MHP Riesen Ludwigsburg): undersized guard with good playmaking and shooting.
- Adrian Worthy (2003 / 6’2″ / Brose Bamberg): athletic slashing guard.
- Luis Nonfon (2004 / 6’8″ / MHP Riesen Ludwigsburg): athletic forward, who showed some stretch potential.
- Romano Siblio (2004 / 6’3″ / Orange Lions Academy): 3&D guard with some shot creation skills.
- Simon Svoboda (2004 / 6’7″ / Basket Brno): excellent catch-and-shoot player (11-21 3P) at 6’7″.
- Eric Reibe (2006 / 6’9″ / Ratiopharm Ulm): mobile big, who showed a solid spot-up middie and some standstill passing flashes.
- Leonardo Valesin (2006 / 6’2″ / Orange1 Bassano): crafty ball-handler and driver, who shows potential as a shooter as well.