Players to watch: Torneig Ciutat de L'Hospitalet, 2015

Jan 03, 2015 by David Hein, Print
Players to watch: Torneig Ciutat de L'Hospitalet, 2015

ASVEL Lyon Villeurbanne: Amine Noua

Noua was fourth in scoring at the 2014 FIBA Under-17 World Championship with 18.7 points and his 8.4 rebounds placed him among the top 10, too. France’s 2.02-meter power forward 62.2% from two-point range, though he struggled from the free throw line at 42.9%. The previous summer he helped France reach the U17 Worlds by averaging 6.2 points and 7.2 rebounds at the U16 European Championship. Noua has a strong body which he uses well around the basket and knows how to utilize it to his advantage with mismatches inside. He is not known for his outside game, but he is smart and has a good basketball IQ on both ends of the floor. Noua rebounds well on offense and defense and can also pass the ball well.

Baloncesto Seville: Carlos Hidalgo

Hidalgo will be the leader of the Seville team after Diego Gallardo and Maxim Salash moved on from the team that won the qualifying tournament in Rome last winter and played at the Finals last May in Milan. Hidalgo averaged 10.7 points, 3.4 rebounds, 3.6 assists and 2.1 steals last season in the competition, including 13.7 points, 3.0 rebounds, a Finals-high 5.3 assists and 1.7 steals in Milan. The 1.84-meter guard did not make the Spanish national team for 2014 FIBA U17 World Championship, though he averaged 1.5 points for the title-winning Spain team at the 2013 U16 European Championship. Hidalgo is an excellent shooter from mid-range and the perimeter. He can score points in bunches and has a knack for drawing fouls. Despite his size, he is a solid rebounder and also can run the game well from the point guard position. Hidalgo is not an elite defender, but he possesses quick hands.

FC Barcelona: Stefan Peno

Peno is back for his third L’Hospitalet tournament after averaging 4.2 points, 1.6 rebounds and 1.8 assists in 2013 and then 5.0 points, 1.2 rebounds and 2.8 assists in 2014. The 1.93-meter point guard is a proven winner, having helped Serbia to two podium finishes during the summer of 2014 - silver medal at the U18 European Championship and third place at the FIBA U17 World Championship. He averaged 8.0 points, 3.6 rebounds and 2.6 assists at the U18 Euros and 9.7 points, 4.3 rebounds and a tournament-high 3.4 assists at the U17 Worlds. Once a prolific scorer, Peno has turned himself into a prototype point guard. He has great court vision and a flair for the dramatic; he tends to wow observers at least once a game. But that also leads to occasional unnecessary turnovers. Peno, who has made one appearance with Barcelona in the Liga Endesa this season, possesses a great understanding of the game and while he’s not a great shooter, he definitely can score if needed and plays strong defense.

FIATC Joventut Badalona: Xabi Lopez

Lopez will be playing in his second L’Hospitalet tournament, though he is coming off a summer in which he struggled with Spain at the 2014 FIBA U17 World Championship, where he averaged 8.0 points, 4.3 rebounds and 1.9 assists and hit just 19.4% of his three-pointers. The 1.98-meter small forward is considered to be an elite shooter, but he couldn’t find his rhythm at that event. Lopez took a step forward last season, going from 5.2 points, 2.6 rebounds and 1.2 steals at the 2014 L’Hospitalet tournament to 15.3 points, 5.7 rebounds and 1.7 steals at the Finals in Milan in May. More than just a great shooter, he also is quick enough to slash to the basket, though he’s not a great finisher. Lopez can still use some strength, but he rebounds well for his position and he’s a more than adequate defender.

Galatasaray Istanbul: Berkay Kansu

Kansu will be playing in his first ADIDAS NEXT GENERATION TOURNAMENT event. The 1.91-meter guard has not yet played for the Turkish youth national teams. He’s thought to be a smart player who can play both guard positions and excels in the pick-and-roll game. Kansu is a great penetrator, but not a great shooter. He has good size and athleticism and is a good on-ball defender.

CB L’Hospitalet: Marc Ruf

Ruf will be playing in his second L’Hospitalet tournament after averaging 6.0 points and 4.5 rebounds last winter, including 14 points against Brose Baskets Bamberg. The 2.04-meter center is L’Hospitalet’s main weapon in the post. He has been selected for the Catalan junior national team in the past. He is the son of Carles Ruf, who came up in the Joventut system and played for Ram Joventut and Valvi Girona in the ACB in the 1980s and 1990s. Marc has a good shot and is a good passer for a big man. He has good size and can use it around the basket.

Real Madrid: Jonathan Barreiro

Barreiro is one of the best players of his generation and will be playing in his third edition of the L’Hospitalet tournament. The 2.02-meter forward averaged 5.4 points, 3.0 rebounds and 1.2 assists in 2013 and then was one of Madrid’s leaders last winter, averaging 12.4 points, 5.0 rebounds and 1.8 assists, including 20 points in the L’Hospitalet title game victory over Unicaja Malaga to send Madrid the Finals in Milan. But Barreiro missed the Milan tournament with an injury, which also kept him from playing for Spain at the 2014 FIBA U17 World Championship. Barreiro, who appeared in two Euroleague Top 16 games for Madrid last season, is a smooth player who has a complete offensive game with a consistent outside shot, drive to the rim, good handle and good understanding of the game. He’s a true leader, who will be extra motivated to play at the Finals this time around.

Union Olimpija Ljubljana : Blaz Mesicek

Mesicek is playing at his second L’Hospitalet tournament after averaging 8.2 points, 4.2 rebounds and 1.4 assists last winter. The 1.96-meter guard played this past summer for Slovenia at the U18 European Championship Division B, where he averaged 9.9 points and 3.8 rebounds. In 2013, he impressed at the U16 European Championship Division B with 15.4 points, 4.5 rebounds, 2.3 assists and 1.1 steals. Mesicek is a lefty guard who can get into the lane and finish, but also has an excellent shooting touch from outside. He’s a tough guy, a fighter who will do anything needed to win. Despite a still light frame, he doesn’t shy away from contact – also near the basket – which helps him get a high number of free throw attempts. He’s averaging nearly 18 points this season in the second division in Slovenia. Mesicek still lacks consistency on defense, but he has the tools to be a good defender.