The Eurobasket 2007 that just has finished featured some great prospects and future stars. I will come up here with a short review of the most outstanding talents that were present in Spain and that will probably have big impact in the next years on the European basketball scene.
Russia’s success at the recent Eurobasket was also the result of the fantastic tournament that played Victor Khryapa. The Forward from the Chicago Bulls had finally the possibility to play in a system that he really likes: open game. In a recent article by David Hein for fibaeurope.com, Khryapa, who is limited to 7 minutes with the Chicago Bulls, explains what coach David Blatt changed in russia in order that he could play on the maximum of his capabilities.
Another player that played a good tournament and will probably one of the future stars in European Basketball is Marco Belinelli. Even if the tournament was a big disappointment for Italy, Belinelli was trying his best in order to qualify his team for the Olympic games. He really tried everything and came back on the court with a twisted ankle in the decisive game to become the top scorer. Belinelli impressed me a lot more than Andrea Bargnani though, so I see more future on National team basis in Marc than in Andrea.
A guy I really liked was Uros Slokar. The young Forward/Center from the Toronto Raptors was a key substitute in some of Slovenia’s games. His numbers don’t really look impressive but he was really present with his big three-pointers in key moments versus Turkey and against France. He is not a huge rebounder or physical beats, which probably hurts his future in the NBA but on the European level, you should look out for him.
An up and down tournament was this Eurobasket for Marko Banic from Croatia. The hard-working power forward from Bilbao in Spain is not the most spectacular or attaching player you can find. But he is a player every team needs. Always banging around in hte kay to grab rebounda and opportunistic on the offensive end, Banic will never bee the top scorer of any team he plays for. But his energy is there and helps his teammates to look good.
Armands Skele was the third best scorer of the surprising but unlucky Latvian team. The athletic guard from Barons Riga showed his scoring abilities during the three games of the tournament. He needs to get more consistent from behind the arc to develop into a real quality player.