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Before sitting down with Moshe Barda to compile their rankings for the #INTLHoopsDraft, Yuval Barak spent nights and nights watching the Summer Leagues in Orlando, Salt Lake City and Las Vegas and today we are glad to host his thoughts and notes on a couple of players he believes are interesting cases for European basketball teams of the highest level (EuroLeague and EuroCup).

As time moved faster than us, some of these players have already signed with NBA or European teams but presenting Yuval’s report is definitely still worth it, if only for you those names to ring a bell to you if you read about them in the future. The Summer League players that signed with EuroLeague or EuroCup teams before this report was finished but had already caught the author’s eye are Pierre Jackson and Jonah Bolden (both signed with Maccabi Tel Aviv), Anthony Gill (Khimki), Zach Auguste (Panathinaikos SuperFoods Athens) and Shayne Whittington (Zenit St Petersburg). But on to the more detailed report!

Point Guards:

Demetrius Jackson (22 years old, 185 cm) (Jackson has signed a two-way contract with Houston Rockets)

Demetrius Jackson played for the Boston Celtics in the Salt Lake City and Las Vegas Summer Leagues. He has really big potential to be something close to Aaron Jackson in the future, because he’s a great defender with an amazing nose for the ball. He’s also a versatile player on offense who can share the ball really well. Last season he played in the NBA D-League and with Notre Dame out of the ACC before. He also has an amazing life story which contributed to his game a lot. He is the type of player that is often called low risk, high reward, because his salary is (likely) not so big, yet his potential is really high for EuroCup teams.

Marcus Keene (22 years old, 180 cm) (Keene has signed a one-year long contract with Cagliari Dinamo Academy)

Keene played with the Washington Wizards in the Las Vegas Summer League, averaging 11.25 points, 1.25 assists, 1.25 rebounds, and making 1.75 three-pointers on 46.7% shooting, in 16 minutes per game. He proved he can be a good point-scorer off the bench, providing a lot of points in a small number of minutes — a lot of mid level EuroCup teams would really benefit from his services.

Kendall Marshall (25 years old, 193 cm) 

Marshall played for the Los Angeles Clippers’ Las Vegas Summer League team, averaging 6.25 points, 7.75 assists, 3 rebounds, and .5 steals in 20 minutes per game. He is a classic playmaker who knows how to control the game and pass the ball really well. He is a kind of magician in the pick-and-roll, one that knows how and where to find the open man and he has great size for a point guard. He has some NBA experience under his belt, with 160 regular season games played between 2012 and 2016, but he spent his last season in the NBA D-League. His time in the D-League may have been what helped to convince him to take his career overseas and in an era where we don’t have many pass-first point guards anymore, he could be useful for many EuroLeague teams.

Quinn Cook (24 years old, 188 cm)

Cook is a young guard recently waived by the New Orleans Pelicans. He played for them on their Las Vegas Summer League team, averaging 21.2 points, 4.8 assists, 3.6 rebounds, 1.2 steals, and 1.8 3-pointers on 50% shooting, in 30 minutes per game. He has spent most of his NBA career in the D-League, having played only 14 games in the NBA last season. He is an all-around point guard that can shoot and pass and should be really useful for EuroLeague teams that are seeking a combo guard-type of skillset.

Quinn Cook

Shooting Guards:

Marcus Paige (23 years old, 185 cm) (Paige has signed a two-way contract with Charlotte Hornets)

Paige played for the Oklahoma City Thunder in the Orlando Summer League, and for the Minnesota Timberwolves in LVSL. He is not a classic playmaker but more of a combo guard. Averaged 12.4 points, 5 assists, 2.8 rebounds, 1.6 steals in 29 minutes per game and made 2.4 three-pointers per game on 43% shooting. He can create points off-dribble and score after coming off screens. He can also score on catch-and-shoots, or pindowns. Also will find the open man almost every time on the fast break — he has really big potential for the future, and can be a good fit for a team that wants to make it to the Top 8 of EuroCup.

Antonio Blakeney (20 years old, 193cm) (Blakeney has signed a two-way contract with Chicago Bulls)

From LSU, Blakeney played for the Chicago Bulls in LVSL where he averaged 16.75 points, 5 rebounds, 0.75 steals, and made 2.25 three-pointers on amazing 64.3% shooting while playing 26.7 minutes per game. Those who followed him with LSU know he was a great scorer and rebounder there as well. If you are a EuroCup team looking for someone who will provide immediate points, he’s your guy. Averaged 17.19 points and 4.81 rebounds per game in the NCAA tournament.

Jabari Brown (1.93m, age 24)

Jabari Brown played in the Las Vegas Summer League for the Golden State Warriors — a great scorer than can create for himself and also score off pindowns, catch-and-shoots. Though he wasn’t in top form during this past LVSL, he is a good player. Last season he spent time playing in China, and ended the season with the Santa Cruz Warriors of the NBA D-League. If your EuroLeague team is seeking a solid scorer who can deliver in a variety of ways, he’s your guy.

Vander Blue (1.96m, age 25) (Blue has signed a partially guaranteed contract with Los Angeles Lakers)

Blue played for the Los Angeles Lakers’ LVSL team and was a big part of their winning ways, averaging 15 points, 3.75 rebounds, 3 assists, 0.75 steals, making 1.25 3-pointers per game on 40% shooting, in 27 minutes per game. Last season he was the D-League MVP, playing for the South Bay Lakers. He used his excellent size at the guard position to take in more than 5 rebounds per game last season. He is also a dangerous scorer who can score in multiple ways, and is also a pretty good passer for his position. He has now signed for the Lakers but could be a solid addition to a EuroLeague team.

Axel Toupane (2.01m, age 25) (Toupane has signed with Zalgiris Kaunas)

Toupane played for the New Orleans Pelicans in LVSL, however not producing his best numbers. At the same time, some things are quite impressive: first of all his size — 2.01 for a SG is much more than the average and can give him and the team that will sign him some major upside, particularly if he improves his 3pt shooting (1.2 3-pointers on 50% shooting in the Summer League). But on the D-League champion Raptors 905 he shot 35% on threes with 1 make per game. That went with 16.06 points, 4.06 rebounds, 3.61 assists, 1.11 steals in 27.5 minutes per game. He’s a versatile scorer and a great off the ball defender, with a 2.09m wingspan, which helps him get steals and deflections. He also runs the court well, and has some creativity around the rim. Toupane can also play SF, passing well and rebounding nicely for his position.

Small Forwards:

Chris Johnson (27 years old, 198cm)

Johnson played for the Indiana Pacers in the Orlando Summer League and for the Houston Rockets in the Las Vegas Summer League. He averaged (combination of both teams) 12.75 points, 6.88 rebounds, 1.4 assists, 1.75 steals, made 2 three-pointers per game on 42% shooting in 27 minutes on court. When you talk about a solid player, you talk about Chris Johnson. He is someone you can trust — as he is good (but not excellent) in almost every part of the game. On offense and defense he will give you good things: steals, rebounds, scoring, plus his size is good for the SF position in Europe (but not enough for the NBA). He can be more than great for a EuroCup team — I love what Bayern is building and I would be more than happy to see him there specifically.

Hollis Thompson (26 years old, 203cm) 

Thompson played for the Detroit Pistons’ Orlando Summer League team, and LAC’s LVSL squad. He has rich NBA experience, with 265 regular season games played in the last four seasons, but he spent the majority of his time last season in the D-League with the Austin Spurs. He is an all-around player with lots of upside on both sides of the ball. He can create points in diverse ways, and is really athletic — at his size (wingspan 2.07, weight 93 kilograms) he could be useful as a SG/SF in EuroLeague, especially when he is faced with shorter guards in front of him, allowing him post opportunities for easy points.

Jared Cunningham (26 years old, 196cm) 

Cunningam played for the Washington Wizards LVSL team, averaging 15.25 points, 1.75 rebounds, 0.25 assists, 0.75 steals per game in only 19 minutes of PT per. He also made 1.25 three-pointers on 40% shooting. To be honest if you’re talking about the NBA, he’s a SG, but his size would allow him to play as a SF in EuroLeague. If you’re looking for an instant offense-type. Penetrating, 3-pointers/pull-ups; an asset for any team that wants to get going in the running game. He played in China last season.

Jared Cunningham

Power Forwards:

Alex Poythress (2.01,23)

Played for the Philadelphia 76ers in the Salt Lake City and Las Vegas Summer League competitions. He averaged 12 points, 4.57 rebounds, 1 steals, 0.5 assists, 0.86 blocks, plus 1 three-pointer made on 33.33% shooting in 24 minutes per game. Unfortunately got injured in his last game of summer league, which is why the 76ers waived him. On the bright side, this can become a really good opportunity for a EuroCup team who might be able to add him. He is a really athletic forward who can also play SF. He has great ability to elevate and block shots; a really good, energetic player that should be able to help any EuroCup team.

Brandon Ashley (2.06m, age 23) (Ashley has signed an undisclosed contract with Dallas Mavericks)

Probably the the most well-known name from my list for European fans, because he played for Alba Berlin in EuroCup and German BBL last season. He played for the Dallas Mavericks in the Orlando and Las Vegas Summer League competitions, averaging 10.75 points, 4.12 rebounds, 0.5 assists, 0.75 steals, and 0.75 blocks in 20 minutes of playing time per game. He is a long, athletic forward that can also play at the center position and has really good mobility. I don’t know if he will stay with Alba, but they should keep him because he has really good potential. If not with them, he will be really useful for any EuroCup team that signs him.

Vince Hunter

Vince Hunter (2.03m, age 22)

Hunter played for the Memphis Grizzlies in the LVSL, and for the OKC Thunder in the Orlando Summer League, averaging 11.11 points, 6.11 rebounds, 0.78 assists, 1.11 steals throughout all summer league competition in 19 minutes per game. Hunter has good European experience from last season, having played with BCL and VTB League club Avtador Saratov. Two seasons ago he had a few games with Panathinaikos. Returning to VTB play, he was one of that competitoin’s per-game rebound leaders (7.7 per game). He wasn’t a good shooter from the perimeter at that time, but it seems like he’s been improving that part of his game, if summer league is any indication. He could be really useful as a SF/PF, or even a small-ball C (he played this role at times with Saratov in the past season). If you’re a EuroLeague team seeking an energetic player who can be helpful in the defense and rebounding departments (and his size and athletic abilities aren’t bad either — 2.11m wingspan, 95 kilograms, max vertical of 37”5).

Perry Ellis (2.03m, age 23) (Ellis has signed an undisclosed contract with Sydney Kings)

Ellis played with the Minnesota Timberwolves in LVSL, averaging 11.2 points, 4.4 rebounds, 0.5 blocks, making 1.6 three-pointers per game at 44.4%, in 24.4 minutes per game). An athletic forward with a 38-inch vertical and nearly the same size as Vince Hunter; he could work as a good stretch-4, coming out of big-time basketball university Kansas (he stayed all 4 years). He is a solid player and can be a part of any mid-level EuroLeague team.

Centers:

Matt Costello (2.06m, age 23) (Costello has signed a two-way contract with San Antonio Spurs)

Played with the Minnesota Timberwolves in the Las Vegas Summer League. Averaged 11.3 points, 12 rebounds (best in Summer League), 2.5 assists, 1.8 steals, 1.3 blocks in 25.8 minutes per game. A really good post-up player who knows how to finish in the paint (overall field goals percentage: 60.7%). Has a really high basketball IQ, knows to find the open man anytime a teammate cuts or finds himself open on the perimeter and is really useful on defense too overall making him suitable for EuroCup teams.

Przemek Karnowski (2.16m, age 23) (Karnowski has signed with MoraBanc Andorra)

An alumni of NCAA Finalist Gonzaga, he played for the Charlotte Hornets and Orlando Magic in the Orlando Summer League. He put up major numbers in his 2 game stint with the Magic: In 26 minutes per game he averaged 17 points, 7 rebounds, 2 assists, 1.5 steals, and 0.5 blocks per game with a fantastic field goal percentage of 62%. I followed the Big Pole during his last college season, and he showed some great skills for a center — high basketball IQ, dishing out almost 2 assists per game in the NCAA tournament. He could pair nicely with a stretch-4, using his post gravity to get his teammate open. He’s absolutely massive at 136 kilograms — he finishes well inside the paint, and he could well end up the most dominant big men since Sofoklis Schortsanitis. The fact that he has some good mobility for his size makes him a serious weapon in the pick-and-roll, and moves into the low gap in the painted area mean serious damage against every opponent under the rim. He has a good touch and ability to shoot from mid-range, as well. Any team that will sign him might win one of the best centers in EuroLeague in the upcoming years.

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