About Deni Avdija
Deni Avdija is thought to be the greatest basketball talent that Israel has ever had and likely will be the highest-ranked European player in this year’s draft. After a strong performance at the 2017 U16 European Championships, which Avdija led in rebounds and assists, he signed with powerhouse Maccabi Tel Aviv. He made his pro-debut in the Israeli League against Ironi Nes Ziona in November 2017, becoming the youngest player to ever play for Maccabi. In November 2018, the Israeli talent made his first appearance in the Euroleague, scoring two points in three minutes of playing time in a loss to Fenerbahce.
In 2018 and 2019 he won back-to-back gold medals at the U20 European Championships, cementing himself as the top European prospect in his class. He then gained more exposure and popularity, winning MVP honors at the Basketball Without Borders European Camp in 2018 and at the Basketball Without Borders Global Camp in Charlotte in 2019.
- Avdija possesses good size for his position standing at 6-foot-9 to go along with a combination of a well-developed frame for his age and quickness, however he lacks elite athleticism. He has the skill set and versatility to play multiple positions on both ends of the floor, as he gains more experience and adds strength. He has very good court vision and ball-handling skills, showing impressive passing ability in transition plays, especially pushing off the glass.
- With a high, above-the head release and good arc, Avdija is an inconsistent shooter from long-distance at this stage of his career, but possesses the tools and the upside to improve that with time and reps. He mainly relies on his right-hand dribble to set up driving offense, which make him a bit vulnerable. He’s very smart and effective in pick and roll plays. He could improve his left-hand dribble and add more shooting off the dribble in his game, as at this point, he is more of a spot-up shooter. He has very good instincts and timing when to cut.
- His high basketball IQ, pro basketball genes and competitiveness often make up for his lack of elite lateral quickness and athleticism in man-on-man defensive plays. Avdija sees things early to help, running through passing lanes, displaying very active hands.
- He has good rebounding instincts, showing sharp anticipation around the basket. Given his good mixture of physical tools, Avdija can guard multiple positions. He can improve his defensive intensity.
- 2-time Israeli League champion (2018, 2019) and one-time Israeli League Cup winner (2017)
- Led the 2017 U16 European Championship in rebounds (12.6) and assists (5.3) to go along with 15.3 points a game.
- Helped Israel to the gold medal at the 2018 U20 European Championships where he was named in the All-Tournament Team, recording 12.7 points and 6.4 rebounds per game.
- Won the Basketball Without Borders European camp MVP (2018) and Basketball Without Borders Global Camp MVP (2019)
- Named to the Euroleague 2019 Adidas Next Generation Tournament Finals All-Tournament Team, averaging 24.7 points, 12.0 rebounds and 6.7 assists.
- Helped Israel to the gold medal at the 2019 U20 European Championships, winning the MVP Award at the event while averaging 18.4 points, 8.3 rebounds and 5.3 assists.
- On February 24, 2020, led the Israeli senior national team in scoring (21) and rebounds (8) in a 87-63 win over Romania
- In 33 games in the Israeli League this season he helped Maccabi Tel Aviv to the National League title by averaging 12.9 points, 6.3 boards and 2.7 assists in 27.6 minutes of playing time per game
- In 26 Euroleague games with Maccabi Tel Aviv he averaged 4.0 points,2.6 rebounds and 1.2 assists over 13.8 minutes per game.
- Has a high level of court intelligence and competitive spirit
- Very smart and effective in pick and roll plays
- Very good cutter
- Has the potential to be a reliable spot-up shooter
- Has great open-court game
- Good size for his position, allowing him to play/guard multiple positions
- Started playing basketball at age of 8 in Herzliya, an affluent city in the central coast of Israel.
- His father, Zufer, a 6-foot-8 Serbian-Israeli forward, played 11 years (1979-1990) in Belgrade, Serbia for the domestic powerhouse Red Star. He was the captain of the Yugoslavian national team that won the bronze medal in the 1982 FIBA World Championships.
“I can see a lot of improvement just from last year. He has grown up as a player and it’s exciting to me because he has so much potential as a [6-9] player who can play the four, can play the three, can dribble the ball, can shoot the three. He is starting to get more to do the little things to get open.”
-Maccabi teammate Scottie Wilbekin, to Euroleague.net
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