By Jonathan Givony, for NBA.com
Posted Jun 7 2009 10:01AM
USC's Daniel Hackett will be one of the Americans
to watch in Italy.
The seventh edition of the annual Reebok Eurocamp kicks off Saturday in Treviso, Italy, and the event appears to be getting stronger every year.
All 30 NBA teams will be represented in the gym -- many by their general managers, head coaches, top-level executives or a combination of all, as many have grown fond of this extremely well-organized camp, put together by Reebok's Pete Philo (who doubles as the international scout for the Minnesota Timberwolves) and Jelena Soce.
Eurocamp alumni include Danilo Gallinari, Andrea Bargnani, Rudy Fernandez, Nicolas Batum and many others.
"Being able to watch a large group of European prospects under one roof saves us a great deal of time, money and frustration" said Memphis Grizzlies general manager Chris Wallace, a regular at the camp.
It's not just NBA teams that love the Eurocamp, it's the European teams too. They flock here in droves, representing all of the most powerful franchises in the continent, often with open checkbooks looking to sign the next promising talent.
One of the real underdogs of the Italian league, Angelico Biella (fresh off an unprecedented playoff semifinal appearance) will be represented by their general manager, Daniele Baiesi.
"The Eurocamp is a great venue," Baiesi said. "It's the perfect place to watch players and at the same time do business. Everyone in the basketball industry will be there -- whether it's the top teams, coaches, the NBA people, and all the most important agencies in the world too. Being able to see so many players from around the world is a great thing as well, especially with them being coached by the NBA people, which makes things even more intriguing. Especially this year, with there being no NBA pre-draft camp, you have to be there. Everyone will be there."
The interesting thing about the Eurocamp is the wide array of nationalities and age groups that are assembled. NBA teams will be keeping a very close eye on the top automatically eligible international players in this draft, such as the Swedish Jonas Jerebko, Australian Joe Ingles, Dutch Henk Norel, French Nando De Colo, Serbian Milenko Tepic and Ukranian Slava Kravtsov -- all legitimate second round prospects.
Serbian Nemanja Aleksandrov was once considered a potential top overall pick candidate after winning MVP honors at the Under-16 European Championships in 2003. A few wasted seasons and knee surgeries later, he's toiling in obscurity, but has a chance to reemerge on the radar screen with a good camp.
They'll also get another chance to observe a group of American college players with international backgrounds, giving them another opportunity to evaluate their strengths and weaknesses. USC's Daniel Hackett, Clemson's Terrence Oglesby, Mississippi's David Huertas, and especially St. Mary's Patty Mills.
With the NBA deciding to downsize the competitive five-on-five portion of the pre-draft camp, this is now the only setting where players can work out in front of NBA teams and try to increase their draft stock.
Perhaps the most interesting player to watch will be former Arkansas guard Patrick Beverley, who is automatically eligible for the draft after playing in the Ukraine this past season. Beverley has been generating a steady buzz thanks to strong workouts he had in places like Miami and Golden State, and this will be a great opportunity for him to boost his stock firmly into the second round.
In terms of the international players on this year's early-entry list, none is more intriguing than France's Rodrigue Beaubois, who is fresh off an outstanding showing at the NBA combine in Chicago last week. Beaubois' measurements (he sports an outstanding 6-foot-10 wingspan) and terrific athleticism had scouts buzzing, and he'll have a chance to possibly claim a spot in the late first round with a strong showing against fellow point guard Patty Mills.
Other early-entry candidates teams will surely want to scout closely are Montenegro's Vladimir Dasic, Ukraine's Sergey Gladyr and France's Ludovic Vaty.
Beyond the immediate players who need to be scouted for the 2009 Draft, there will be a number of younger prospects in attendance who could develop into legitimate first-rounders down the road. Czech swingman Tomas Satoransky, is considered by many to be the top prospect in the 1991 age group, and he'll show off his unique versatility as a 6-foot-7 guard in front of all NBA and European teams in attendance.
Russians Alexey Shved and Semen Shashkov are both considered potential first round talents, but neither have been seen much at all this season by NBA teams, which makes this camp all the more important for them. Georgian point forward Tornike Shengelia is in the same boat.
The best part of the camp, though, is surely discovering new players that we weren't previously familiar with.
We'll be back on Monday to recap everything we learned at the Eurocamp.
Jonathan Givony is President and Director of Scouting of Draft Express. The opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the writer.
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