Under the Radar International Prospects | 2002 Class: Part One

You know many names were nominated as superstars in the international prospect classes of 2002, 2003 and 2004. So who are among the under the radar prospects? What can these players do in the future? In this series, I will dive briefly into the under the radar prospects from 2002, 2003 and 2004 classes before detailed reports.


Pau Tendero

Team: FC Barcelona II
Born: 29 January 2002
Position: G
Height: 6′ 5″
Wingspan: 6′ 7.75″
Best skills: Can finish versus contact, good quickness with the ball, good defense, understands angles plus help side-defensive concepts really well.

FC Barcelona II has a lot of talents for the future. Augustin Ubal, Ibou Dianko Badji, Gael Bonilla and Michael Caicedo Sanchez stand out among them. There is also Pau Tendero, born in 2002.

Tendero started his Barça career four years ago, in local tournaments. After he played impressively at Torneig de Sant Josep de Badalona, Torneig de Farners, Torneo de Iscal and 2018 U16 Euro Championship A Division, he had a chance to play in ANGT. He made his ANGT debut two years ago, in Valencia. After the 2018-2019 season, Tendero made a huge impact last year. He averaged 15.7 points, 2.5 assists, 4.7 rebounds, 2.2 turnovers while shooting 59.1% from the court and 33.3% from the 3-points line.

Offense

Standing 6-foot-5 with an improving frame and 6-foot-7.75 wingspan, Tendero has nice size for 18 years old point guard. There’s a nice enough width in his shoulders, triceps and biceps areas to allow him to build muscle. His wrists and arms are strong, and chest look good, but he needs to work on his legs and core muscles.

The right-handed Spanish guard is not the most explosive athlete but he has incredible speed with the ball, great lateral movement, can play above the rim in space, can finish in traffic, and has really strong first step.

Tendero, who can create something in the half-court as a secondary-handler, does his best job on the offensive end by attack to the basket, prefers to finish with a runner/ floater most often. In this case, I think Tendero is like Facundo Campazzo. I mean, Tendero can attack the basket by using hesitation, turn fake, strong first step, smooth athleticism skills, short second step. He can finish at the rim using his soft-touch/strong last touch, aggressiveness, absorb the contact and smartly. Also, while he’s going to the basket, he can protect the ball with two hands.

He is very effective on pick-and-roll situations as a handler. He knows how he should play against hedge defense with BBIQ. After splitting the screen he using his finishing skill-set. If he understands that he will not split the screen, goes to the wing with the ball, takes defenders, creates space for his teammates and gives a bounce pass.

Good ballhandler, particularly in traffic, Pau Tendero’s dribble the ball ability is excellent. He knows how to change his speed with the ball both on full-court and half-court. So, his defender has to be quicker than him. It is a really big advantage for Tendero. Because he is 6’5”, has good length for guard and more importantly, he is fast.

As a shooter, Pau Tendero has a lot of room to get better. He showed some great flashes on spot-up 3-points shoot after a nice pump fake to get defenders off of his position but he’s inconsistent. Also, he cannot create his shots and cannot hit the mid-range jumpers consistently.

Another improvement room for him is passing the ball. Pau Tendero has good awareness, is quick with the ball, has good BBIQ but he is not a good passer. Just showed some read and react things. He is not selfish but sometimes, forces the game, he hesitates to do creative things.

Defense

Possessing great length, nice quickness, good awareness and motor to chase his opponents impressively and the ability to guard PGs, SGs and SFs, Pau Tendero is a good team defender.

I don’t think he is a major defender in his team, also, he is not a block or steal machine but shows good anticipation drawing charges, getting in the passing lanes and active eye-hand coordination.

Sliding around the perimeter and doing pesky things behind the 3-points line are his biggest pluses on the defensive end. He can slide laterally to cut off the ballhandler very well. Thanks to his size and frame, Tendero can absorb the contact. He knows how to force his opponents to make turnovers.

Even if no steal or block number is written on his stats sheet at the end of the possession, Tendero adds a big plus to his team by doing a pesky defense to his opponent. I would like to see him more active on off the ball motions. He is not like a “sleepy” defender but chasing around screens, fighting under the basket on the defensive end are not a good fit for him. Also, he cannot cover the pick-and-roll situations very well.

On the rebounding side, his great BBIQ, good length, nice pop, game instincts and aggressiveness works very well.

Overall

Pau Tendero is an aggressive, quick, and smart scorer who can create his position. I don’t think he can be an NBA player yet. Because the lack of elite shooting threat, passing the ball skill-set, and defensive level hurt his stock.

However, if Tendero can improve on his shooting things could change. I think he has NBA potential because of his impressive physical tools, athleticism and ballhandling ability for his age. Similar to Vasilije Micić, of Anadolu Efes, who was drafted as the 52nd pick in 2014 by the Philadelphia 76ers who returned to Europe because of lack of shooting ability but is now garnering NBA interest.


Hrvoje Majcunić

Team: Cibona
Born: 2 April 2002
Position: G
Height: 6′ 3″
Wingspan: 6′ 4″
Best skills: Spot-up three-point shooter, consistent shooting form, motor, deflections.

Hrvoje Majcunić grew up in a basketball family. His father, Renato, is a basketball coach. His older brother, Ivan, plays in the ABA League. At EYBL 2017, Majcunić was named to the top five of the tournament.

Following this success, when he returned to his country after the tournament, he was accepted in his office by the Mayor of Jastrebarsko, Zvonimir Novosel, along with the Lokomotiva Zagreb’s football player Denis Kolinger. He received a certificate of honor from President Novosel.

Offense

Standing 6-foot-3 with a skinny 170-pound frame and 6-foot-4.5 wingspan, Hrvoje Majcunić has a nice size for an 18 year old guard but he has significant room to fill out his frame. Cibona’s shooting guard’s upper body looks good in terms of width. Long arms, wide shoulders, stiff core and chest muscles. However, lack of strength and average wingspan hurt his athleticism tools. For his lower body, he is average too. Quick feet, mobile hips that make him a good reaction defender, average lateral movement (good on offense for going to the basket, bad on defense) and bad vertical pop. In my opinion, Majcunić is a fluid athlete (not elite) who can play at different speeds.

Hrvoje Majcunić can create his shot in mid-range. Pushing the ball aggressively in transition and showing some flashes on great court vision as a primary passer, Majcunić does his best job on the offensive en spotting up the 3-points shots. Fearless, smart and with a high shooting mentality, he has a very fluid shooting mechanic with a high release and a dazzling combination of arc and acceleration. That mechanic makes it difficult for opponents to block his shot.

Majcunić is not great at creating his own shot on three-point shots but does a pretty nice job of using screens and kicking out his defender with curl or sneak and taking shooting positions. He showed how good he is in versus Buducnost, Mega and Partizan.

Majcunić actually had this performance throughout the season, but he was especially excellent in these three games. He takes most of his shots from the left corner. He doesn’t take a lot of shots from the wings, average around the top and right corner. Has high offensive awareness, Majcunić is an unselfish player who can find the open man off the dribble, coast-to-coast passes, some pocket passes and good court vision. He is usually choosing the left channel while dribbling.

I think Majcunić is an average creator off pick-and-roll plays thanks to his game instincts/aggressiveness and BBIQ. However, he needs more weapons in his arsenal. He is a reliable handler and passer but there is no craftiness, shiftiness or depth. Read and react passer. Good finisher around the rim but inconsistent. I mean, bad at creating position around the rim (showed some flashes). Lack of good athleticism and strength hurts him here. Good cutter, but generally when playing in off-ball motions, leaving the primary handler to his teammate (Filip Paponja) and becoming a primary or secondary scorer, his effectiveness on the match drops. He is good on CnS and spot-up but has to adapt himself to off-ball motions other than shooting.

Defense

Hrvoje Majcunić has quick feet, mobile hips and active hands, allowing him to come up with steals and deflections. In my opinion, he sees actions early to help and makes good moves. Also, he does much of his best work defensively in the passing lanes thanks to his BBIQ and eye-hand coordination. A competitive defender with good timing, Majcunić is obviously not a physical defender. Can’t stay in his stance against quick and/or physical players. I think he is a good off-ball defender. He can follow his opponent well around the screens, can close his opponent’s shot angle when his opponent takes the ball, but he stays behind during the drive.

There is no elite rim protection, he is not suitable for the switch, has physical deficiencies in PnR defense, so he cannot get through with good timing. High defensive awareness, always talking to his teammates to protect the perimeter shell. However, at the end of the day needs work on his man-on-man defense, being more active, but has the necessary physical tools to improve all of those things. I think he is a very good rebounder for his size and position.

Thanks to his game instincts and position IQ, Majcunić takes his rebound positions, grabs the ball with average vertical pop and runs the floor well to go to the basket. He can transfer his defensive energy to offense with transitions.

Overall

There is no doubt that Majcunić is one of the most dedicated and talented shooters of the young prospects. So, he can do the most important thing for shooting guards in modern basketball. But he has a lot to improve in other areas. Although he has a good BBIQ, he has a lot of room for his physical tools, passing the ball, attacking to the rim, and more consistent defense.

However, I’m really high on his future, just not for the NBA. He can shoot the ball consistently, so, if he can add some aggressive one-and-one offense to his arsenal, well, things will change seriously.


Dahaba Magassa

Team: Espoirs Le Mans
Born: 30 December 2002
Position: G
Height: 6′ 4″
Best skills: Effective secondary ballhandler and can create space for open shots and drives to the basket, mid-range shooter, good team defender.

France has a lot of, really, dozens of quality prospects from the 2000-2005 pools. Some names stay under the radar naturally and I think Dahaba Magassa is one of them.

Although Magassa hasn’t played in FIBA tournaments yet, his performances in Espoirs which is one good place to watch prospects with pros, are good enough to think something about Magassa.

With 18.6 minutes per game in 22 games last season, Magassa averaged 10.5 points, 4.1 rebounds, 1.4 assists, 0.9 steals, 2.5 turnovers while hitting 11-of-40 3-points shots. In this year’s opening, he scored 13 points, and also had five assists, two rebounds and two steals.

Offense

Standing 6-foot-4 with a chiseled frame and average wingspan (eye test, I didn’t learn his wingspan), Magassa has strong upper body and pretty quick lower body. He is quicker than he is strong, but showed some above the rim finishes with great dunks and impressive shot blocks with nice vertical pop.

A talented Maggassa is a player who can be a game changer as a main bench player, who can contribute very well in a short time on offense. He does this by using his best weapon, attacking the basket.

As a finisher, he knows how to use constant speed change and get in front of the defender. He sets up his dribble after he sees his defender’s footwork (high to low dribble or low to high dribble) and after that, he jumps off of two feet, absorbs contact and finishes with his right hand with using the glass well.

Dribbles the ball with his right better than his left but his main weapon here is high pick-and-roll game. After taking the screen on top of the key, he can find a score well but side PnR is not a good fit for him.

Spotting up 3-points, Dahaba Magassa has a nice shooting form. After he takes the ball, he sets up his feet quickly, elbows looks good in the first stage, shot pockets begins from under his chest and he has pretty quick wrist movement. However, his last touch in the air and release hurt his shooting, so I don’t say that he is a good 3-point shooter. Still needs work here.

He can create his mid-range shot off the dribble. Can hit pull-up jumpers after one/two dribbles with great hop and timing. Also showed that he was able to bring momentum to his team in some games with his shooting at critical moments last year.

Playing as a secondary handler like Skylar Mays from the NCAA, Magassa has some shifty movements with the ball, especially under the basket (sometimes, he plays back-to-the-back situations and finds buckets with nice spins also with nice shifty ballhandling tricks). He knows how to protect the ball but against the pressure, he is not too good. He has some turnover problems.

Magassa has room to work on his passing skill-set, as at times it seems he needs to be a bit more patient, keep his dribble alive and wait for other options. Also, I would like to see him more aggressive on off the ball motions. Sometimes, he looks like sleep in corners…

Defense

Playing with good intensity around the perimeter, I think Magassa has good eye-hand coordination, quick footwork laterally, knows how to slide around the perimeter, talks with his teammates, put his body on shooters aggressively, hold his own guarding on the perimeter and forced his man to TOs. Active in the passing lanes and sometimes bringing a lot of deflections in the table.

He is a player who can chase his opponent around screens very well. His strong upper body provides him a good versatility on the defensive end. Can guard PGs, SGs and SFs. He does a great job closing out. His quick body and quick reactions make him a good closeout defender in my opinion. He does not have great athletic tools (for this defense) in terms of smoothness or popping when getting out to shooters but his coordination and motor help him here.

I would like to see him more effective, smarter in pick-and-roll situations, he makes mistakes on rotating to his man.

Hunting rebounds to create opportunities to push the pace, his rebounding abilities are underrated in my opinion. Because when he grabs the rebound, he really can push his team very well to the offense and has great rebounding instincts. His strong frame help here.

Overall

Thinking about a serious NBA chance for Dahaba Magassa is hard for now. I would like to see him at the LNB pro level for a year. If he can do what he does well in Espoirs, his outlook could change seriously. Because his offensive aggressiveness, promising shooting, defensive potential are very impressive. However, he needs time for me to think he has a serious NBA chance. But from the European perspective, he is clearly one of the best under the radar prospects.

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