FIBA Americas U18 is right around the corner. So we take a look back at the prospects that made a good impression at South American U18, which was held in March in Venezuela. Argentina, Brazil and Ecuador finished in the top 3 and secured a spot at FIBA Americas U18, taking place in México from June 6th to June 12th and will qualify four teams to the FIBA U19 World Cup next year.
At the South American U18, Brazil won the gold medal defeating Argentina in a final between two undefeated teams. Ecuador, with a tough-minded team, made the upset beating Venezuela first and Uruguay in the 3rd place match to secure the last ticket.
Dylan Bordón | 190cm – 2004 – Argentina
Stats: 15.2p, 4.2r, 4.6a, 1.8s in 26 minutes (50% FG; 6/19 -31% from 3p; 2/7 FT)
Bordón was the best player from the second best team in the tournament. Made the All-Tournament Team and finished 2nd in points, 3rd in efficiency among all players. Lead guard, dynamic playmaker with a strong frame and a very aggressive nature on offense, able to drive and get to the rim. Uses his body well to absorb contact and finish at the rim, crafty finisher. His shooting remains inconsistent. Not afraid of the big moments, Argentina played a couple of close games and he was in charge of the ball. With his above average strength and quickness, Bordón has the tools to be a great defender at the PG position, specially putting pressure on the ball handler. In terms of long-term potential, he is one of the few prospects that could have a future in Europe.
Gabriel Landeira | 193 – 2004 – Brazil
Stats: 12.2p, 3.6r, 2.4a in 20 minutes (13/34 – 38% from 3p; 75% FT)
Lead guard with vision, high basketball IQ, passing skills and outside shooting. Named in the All-Tournament Team. A true floor general that operates in the pick and roll and makes good decisions with the ball. Landeira, who plays in Spain, combines great size and vision with a strong body and shooting skills, very difficult to defend. Unselfish, always trying to punish the defensive rotations and looking for the open teammate. Advanced awareness at both ends of the floor, very mature game, can play both with and without the ball, able to shoot off the dribble as well. Played at his best at the bigger stage, was the best player at the gold-medal match. Very vocal leader, the main reason behind Brazil’s steady play. Defensively, Landeira is not the quickest athlete but has a big and strong body to contain the defense and puttingpressure on the ball, also showed defensive versatility at this level, was able to guard bigger players with his strength and craftiness.
Janer Arcilla | 172cm – 2004 – Ecuador
15p, 5.4r, 4.6a in 33 minutes; (30% FG; 7/26 – 26% from 3p; 16/30 – 53% FT)
Arcilla was the heart and soul of an overachieving Ecuador team that gave their all in every game. Janer is quick, electric lead guard, with character and a complete offensive arsenal, who finished 3rd in scoring. Resilient leader, fun to watch, an absolute master changing speeds and directions. Great instinct to drive and draw fouls. Arcilla was a volume scorer, who took an average of 17 shots per game with 29% FG, an amount of shots unlikely to translate to the next level. He started the tournament great but the scouting, the schedule and the amount of minutes he played per game had an impact on his performance. Looked tired and inefficient. He is just 5-8, so he probably won’t be able to impact in a high level.
Reynan Dos Santos | 193cm – 2004 – Brazil
Stats: 14.5p, 3.r, 2.5a in 23 minutes; (45% FG; 3/13 – 23% from 3p; 56% FT)
Reynan was the best player on the best team, the clear MVP of the Tournament and the most impactful. Explosive left-handed guard with a quick first step and a strong frame that allows him to get to the rim with ease. Showed playmaking flashes as a drive-and-kick passer and PnR facilitator. Crazy motor at both ends, deadly in offensive transition and determined as a ball-defender and shot blocker. Plays with passion and character. The outside shot remained his only debt in the tournament. Nearly unstoppable at this level of competition, but lack of shooting and positional size could limit his upside.
Nicolás Stenta | 200cm – 2004 – Argentina
Stats: 7.6p, 4.6r, 2.6a, 2s, 1.4b in 24 minutes (40% FG; 5/19 – 26% from 3p; 71% FT)
Stenta was probably the best perimeter defender of the tournament besides Reynan. A 200cm wing/guard with a 201cm wingspan and big hands. Stenta was really disruptive on defense with his length, agility and motor. Always in charge of defending the best perimeter player of the opposing team, excelled as a point of attack defender but also in the passing lanes and as a help side defender, finished in the Top 3 in steals and in the Top 10 in blocks, really impressive as a guard. Almost the ideal physical profile for a 2-guard.
In offense, Stenta’s main weapon right now is the fast-break. He’s an explosive athlete with long strides and able to finish strong above the rim. Stenta made great impact as an off-ball player, making cuts and crashing the offensive rebound, but he also showed promised with the ball in his hands and has the tools and the skills to improve as a one-on-one player. His shooting percentages were low but his mechanics and confidence looked solid. Able to hit open shots, good spot-up shooter, indicating his shot will eventually fall with time and work.
Guzman Vasilic | 195cm – 2005 – Uruguay
Stats: 10.6p, 4.6r, 1.6a in 28 minutes (32% FG; 25% 3p; 70% FT)
Despite being one year younger than the rest of the competition, Vasilic was the main offensive option for Uruguay and their primary ball handler and initiator. Vasilic, who plays for the NBA Academy in México, has god positional size for the SG position and an advanced feel for the game. Not an explosive athlete but knows how to use his body to create space. Good touch and body control around the rim. Solid decision-maker with the ball at his age, unselfish and with an advanced IQ. Despite not having great % from the field, his shot was a threat to all the teams in this tournament, was the opponent top priority. Shot looks good and clean, should continue to improve. The next step for him is to improve as a defender despite his athletic limitations.
Carlos Mijares (191cm – 2005 – Venezuela): Long, quick and shifty wing, a year younger than the rest. Mijares won’t turn 17 until almost December. Long strides and arms, looks like he will grow a few more inches. Loves to drive and put pressure on the defense, finds his way to the rim, dangerous in transition. Very efficient (51% FG; 87% FT), had tournament-high 31 against Bolivia on 13/19 FG. Shooting remains a work in progress.
Fausto Moussa (196cm – 2004 – Argentina): Creative guard with great skills with the ball and scoring instincts. Made most of his damage as a driver, shifty and quick.
Benjamín Araya (6-4 – 2004 – Chile): Confident shooter. He attempted the most threes in the entire tournament at nine per game at a 33% clip. Not a promising athletic profile but with deep range and a quick trigger.
Lee Aaliya | 205cm – 2004 – Argentina
Stats: 10.2, 4.8r, 1a, 1.4b in 24 minutes (52% FG; 2/11 3p; 55% FT)
Lee was arguably, the most dominant presence in the paint during the tournament, named in the All-Tournament Team. He’s the biggest appearance in the Argentina landscape this season, great kid, humble and always smiling personality with a great work-ethic. He won’t turn 18 until November. The son of a former professional fighter and TV star born in Ghana, Lee has African roots. A unique physical profile for a player born in Argentina, Lee has the size, the length and the natural strength to be a forward at the next level. Combined with his solid lateral quickness, Lee has a terrific defensive potential as he looks capable of defending both inside and out, while switching in the PnR, defending multiple positions and protecting the rim at an elite level thanks to his length, leaping ability and timing. 207cm wingspan. Potential as a small-ball five.
Offensively, he knows how to use his body to punish smaller defender at the rim, especially in the low post and driving from the perimeter and stopping at a power two-feet jump stop to create space. He spent much time as a face-up forward but made most of his damage at the rim, setting the screen and rolling, also in post-up isolations and in the offensive glass. Lee does not need the ball to have an impact, very capable of being an impactful player off the ball. Developing his off hand and getting a consistent 3p shot are the keys for his future as a pro. As a shooter, he attempted 2 threes a game, mostly spot-ups but with a slow mechanic. He finished with 31p and 5 made threes in the Final game of the U18 Argentinean Championship in May, named MVP.
Joseph Caicedo | 195cm – 2004 – Ecuador
Stats: 16.2p, 8.4r, 1.4a, 1b in 33 minutes (44% FG; 7/15 – 46% 3p; 88% FT)
An undersized forward with a strong body and a mature game, Caicedo was the best player in the overachieving Ecuador who finished third and qualified for the FIBA Américas. Also, Caicedo made the All-Tournament Team and was the tournament top scorer and second best rebounder. He played most of his minutes at the PF despite his lack of size. Big frame, mature body, knows how to use his strength near the rim. Caicedo, who plays in Argentina, made 7 threes in 15 attempts, most of them in pops or spot-ups situations. He has soft touch around the rim with both hands, tireless rebounder at both ends of the floor, great motor. Low ceiling prospect, not a ton of upside. Has a big heart, plays with passion and character, but his impact will decrease against bigger defenders, especially near the rim.
Samis Rodríguez Calderon | 200cm – 2004 – Brazil
Stats: 7.6p, 4.6r, 0.6ª in 20 minutes (31% FG; 6/22 – 27% 3p; 50% FT)
Listed at 200cm but looked bigger. Not a mature body yet, looks like he will grow some more. Long, fluid and explosive athlete who won’t turn 18 until late-November. Very impactful defender with his length, leaping ability and lateral movement. Already versatile defender. Still raw offensively, has to work on his skill-set with the ball, shooting and footwork, but has potential as long-term prospect with an almost ideal body to become a versatile player.
Guillerme Tesch (203cm – 2004 – Brazil): Long and mobile PF with an ability to stretch the floor. Attempted almost 5 threes a game at a 35% clip. Has an intriguing potential as a late-bloomer with his size and skill-set.
Santiago Trouet (205cm – 2004 – Argentina): Modern PF with guard-like skills and a tendency to play face-up, who plays in Spain. Mobile, long arms and strides, can run the floor. Has to work on his touch, strength and body control to finish over contact.
Jonathan Griman Herrera | 205cm – 2004 – Venezuela
Stats: 11.4p, 7.8r, 1.4a, 3.2b in 25 minutes (4/10 – 40% from 3p; 84% FT)
Griman had breakout performance in Caracas, arguably the best big in the tournament with great versatility and offensive skills. Unfortunately, Venezuela, with notable absences, didn’t finish in the Top 3 so he will miss the FIBA U18 Americas. He led the tournament in efficiency with 18.8 of rating per game and should have been picked in the All-Tournament Team. He also led the tournament in blocks almost doubling the runner up with 3.2b per game, finished 8th in points and 3rd in rebounds. Griman showed promises at both ends of the floor. Defensively, he has the quickness and mobility to stay in front of smaller guards and also the size, timing and length to excel protecting the rim. At 205cm with a positive wingspan, he showed great motor, activity and defensive versatility. Loves to crash the boards and grab rebounds out of his position. He will need to add strength but has room to improve.
Offensively, he showed versatility and a lot of promise as a long-term prospect, clearly a late-bloomer. Good touch as a finisher, confidence is not an issue. Played almost all his minutes at Center, but started most of his actions at the top of the 3p arc and he also had some actions where he rebounded and pushed the ball in transition. Showed skills with the ball in his hands, advanced footwork, finishing touch, passing instincts, body control and ball-handling for a player his size. His balance will improve when he adds weight. Griman looked confident with his outside shot, with a smooth and high release. Made most of his damage as a PnR screener, able to roll or pop, has a huge motor in the offensive glass. Griman is a high-character kid, who competes hard and plays with passion, very vocal leader for his team, who also showed flashes as a passer, directing traffic and playmaking from the top of the key. Still raw and years away to make the jump to the next level, but certainly someone to follow closely.
Bautista Giralt | 211cm – 2004 – Argentina
Stats: 2.6p, 6.4r, 1.4b in 15 minutes (6/20 FG; N/A 3p; 1/4 FT)
As the tallest player on the tournament, the NBA Academy product is still long ways to go physically and skill-level wise but has the tools to become a rim-runner big with great potential protecting the rim. 2.11 with a 2.11 wingspan. Luckily, he saw a lot of playing time as the starting five in Argentina and showed great timing as a shot-blocker. Did not showed great hands or touch and his finishing abilities need work. Bauti looks light on his feet, great quickness and mobility for a kid as young and as big as him, able to run the floor with above average speed. But his balances needs improvement needs to add weight. He will look much more comfortable as a finisher as he gains more strength, which can be done giving that he has a wide frame. His physical profile looks promising: combination of size, length and mobility, but will have to work on his body and skills with the ball to maximize that potential.
Ivan Prato | 208cm – 2007 – Argentina
2p, 2r in 2 games played
For the sole fact that a player born in 2007 made the team in a tournament full of kids three or four years older, Prato deserves some recognition. Prato is still raw, but very coordinated and skilled for a 14 years-old big man. He’s considered the best prospect in his country at his age-group, will fight for a spot at the FIBA U17 WC this year. Long arms, good hands, mobile and with good touch. Really mature for his age. Intriguing potential, long term prospect.
Juan Esteban Madrigal (211cm – 2004 – Colombia): Tallest player in the tournament alongside Giralt, very similar profiles. Has length and mobility can run the floor and protect the rim: had 9 blocks in 86 total minutes. Balance and body control still an issue, but normal for his stage of development. Still need to work on his touch, hands and footwork.
Vitor Farias Cardoso (206 – 2005 – Brazil): A coordinated, mobile and long big, who played 14 minutes per game despite being one year younger than the competition. Made impact as a rebounder and shot blocker, operated in the paint. Showed some defensive versatility as well.