Nike Hoop Summit Scouting Wrap-Up: World Team Breakdown

Analyzing NBA prospects Hartenstein, Mushidi, Dos Anjos, Sedekerskis and Simanic

Isaiah Hartenstein and Tadas Sedekerskis (World) battle for a rebound with USA center Mohammed Bamba | Photo by Austin J. Smith

Austin Green is an independent journalist and scout covering EuroLeague and NBA prospects in Europe. If you’d like to support and see more articles like this, feel free to donate.

The 20th annual Nike Hoop Summit concluded Friday night in Portland with Team USA beating World Select 98-87.

Germany’s Kostja Mushidi (14 points) starred in the game itself, but prospects had almost a full week to impress NBA scouts and executives in attendance.

After an embarrassing 34-point loss in last year’s game, the World team took a different approach when building their roster. Most of the guards were Canadians who are NCAA-bound and have experience playing against USA athletes, and some of the big guys attend American high schools.

Unfortunately there were also some big-name Europeans who didn’t make the trip. French point guard Frank Ntilikina turned down an invite, likely because he’s already a potential lottery pick, and Latvian wing Rodions Kurucs — another potential 1st-rounder — wasn’t in Portland either.

That said, there were some talented European prospects in attendance. Let’s take a look at how the four Europeans and Brazilian Felipe Dos Anjos (Real Madrid) performed during the week.

Isaiah Hartenstein (PF, Germany)

Height: 7’1.25 in shoes

Team: Zalgiris Kaunas

My Thoughts: Hartenstein entered the week as the World Team headliner, at least in terms of this upcoming draft. He’s No. 18 in DraftExpress’ most recent mock (March 25) and it’s pretty easy to see why.

He has great height for a stretch big, he’s coordinated and agile, and in drills he showed a fun set of skills, including Euro-steps and off-hand floaters that you don’t usually see from guys his size.

He also has good vision and passing ability, hitting guys on backdoor cuts and working high-low passes with some of the other bigs. During the game, he had a beautiful drive and no-look pass to set up Nick Richards for an easy dunk.

After the game, USA coach Miles Simon praised Hartenstein.

“He came in with a lot of accolades. I’d never seen him play before in person, but you can tell his skill level’s real high,” Simon said. “The step-back jumper that he had, the way he crashes the glass and he can put the ball on the floor with his size.”

Defensively, he has good timing and the ability to challenge shots at the rim. In the final World Team scrimmage on Thursday he had three blocks, all of which came right at the rim.

In the game itself, Hartenstein had two blocks and challenged plenty of other shots. He was also talking constantly on defense, which coaches and scouts like to see. He was born in nearby Eugene and spent the first 11 years of his life in the U.S., so he speaks fluent English, which definitely helps at an event like this.

On the negative side, he’s not the most explosive athlete and his shooting stroke has caused some concern among scouts.

The ball comes off his pinky and ring finger when he shoots, giving it an odd side-spin rotation. He has been knocking down catch-and-shoot jumpers throughout the practices, but it’s tough to see him being a consistent NBA shooter if he doesn’t fix his release.

The other negative with Hartenstein is his hunched-over posture. In the short-term, it partially negates his height advantage over other 4s. In the long-term, it could lead to some health issues.

Overall, Hartenstein looked good and I doubt his draft stock changed very much. My guess is he’ll be picked in the 16-25 range.

Kostja Mushidi (SG/SF, Germany)

Height: 6’5

Team: Mega Leks

My Thoughts: This was my first time seeing Mushidi in person and I liked him more than I did on film.

While some World team members looked rattled, Mushidi was clearly unafraid on the big stage. He buried a catch-and-shoot 3 on his first touch, then hit a pull-up 3 a couple possessions later. He finished the game as the World’s leading scorer with 14 points, including a World team record four made 3-pointers (4/7).

“My mentality was just to show people what I can do,” Mushidi told me after the game. “I had a good season overseas in Serbia and I just wanted to carry it over here to Portland. People underrated me a little bit when I came here, but I think I played a solid week and I’m just happy to play a good game.”

My favorite aspect of Mushidi’s game was the no-fear attitude he showed. After two made 3s, he stared down Kentucky commit Jarred Vanderbilt, who happened to be the one closing out on him both times. I asked Mushidi about the glares after the game.

“I just wanted to show people who I am. I think they didn’t know at the beginning who I was. When I came in I wanted to make a statement right away,” Mushidi said. “It was all in fun. Nothing bad, you know, no bad feelings. It’s just part of the game for me.”

Kostja Mushidi address the media in the post-game press conference | Photo by Austin J. Smith

Other than his mentality, the thing that jumped out immediately with Mushidi is his length. His wingspan measured at 7’0.5, the fifth-longest ever for a shooting guard, according to DraftExpress‘ database that goes back to 1987.

In a practical sense, this length helps cover potential weaknesses. If he gets beat off the dribble or is slow on a rotation, he can still recover to challenge/block shots and deflect passes. He can grab rebounds and catch passes that other 6’5 guys can’t.

It also gives him a high release point so his own shot is harder to block. And as he showed in the final scrimmage, it allows him to poke the ball away from guys as they dribble, which he did to 16-year-old phenom R.J. Barrett.

Skill-wise, Mushidi needs to make some improvements. The most pressing need is his 3-point shot. He has shown potential to be a good shooter, as he proved in the game and throughout practices.

He also knocked down some smooth  step-back mid-range jumpers in scrimmages and the game.

However, Mushidi fails to shoot with consistency. His mechanics tend to breakdown when defended closely,  which is partially why he’s shooting 30.9% on 3s in the Adriatic League (42/136). In the FIBA Champions League this year, he hit 21/64 (32.8%) and at the U18 Euros in December he made just 8/42 (19%).

I definitely think Mushidi is better than some guys who have been drafted in the 2nd round before, and he’s represented by Misko Raznatovic, which helps his chances of being selected. My guess is he’ll be a 2nd-round pick either this year or next, and he should develop into a solid EuroLeague-level player. Whether or not he can be an NBA contributor will largely depend on the development of his outside shooting.

Felipe Dos Anjos (C, Brazil)

Height: 7’3

Team: Oviedo (on loan from Real Madrid)

My Thoughts:  Dos Anjos was one of the most intriguing prospects on the World roster. There aren’t very many 7’3 dudes running around, and even less with a smooth shooting stroke and nice touch outside of the paint.

This is the 3rd season I’ve seen Dos Anjos in person after watching him at the Adidas Next Generation Tournaments in Madrid (2015) and Berlin (2016), as well as the Spanish U18 Championships in 2015. His progress is impressive, particularly with his body, coordination and agility.

He struggles to slide laterally with quicker players, but he does get up and down the floor well. He can have some good timing when the ball comes off the rim, as he showed with some nice tip-ins in scrimmages. He’s also has good touch around the rim with both hands.

His progress isn’t surprising when you talk to guys who know him. Everyone raves about his character and work ethic, including World Team coach Roy Rana.

“He’s a worker,” Rana said. “He’s got a great mentality. He’s just a good-tempered kid and I see nothing but great things for him.”

Felipe Dos Anjos and a referee embrace between plays | Photo by Austin J. Smith

However, Dos Anjos really struggled in limited action during the game.

He played just 7:43, grabbed only one rebound and missed his only shot. He couldn’t catch the ball when teammates passed it to him in traffic and he mis-handled it coming off the rim as well. He was clearly bothered by USA’s length and athleticism and he was never able to get comfortable.

Other than his lateral quickness, the biggest thing Dos Anjos needs to improve is handling the ball in a crowd. He gets flustered when pressured, which leads to turnovers and rushed shots. However, this is common for young big men, and I expect him to get more comfortable with more reps.

After one of the practices, I talked to Dos Anjos and he said he hopes to play in the ACB next season. He will likely be on loan again, as it’s tough to see him getting any meaningful minutes for EuroLeague powerhouse Real Madrid.

My expectation is Dos Anjos will be a 2nd-round pick in 2018 after a year of proving himself in Spain’s top-tier competition. I think he could find himself on an NBA roster in his early-to-mid 20s, and at worst I expect him to be a solid EuroLeague-level center during his prime.

Tadas Sedekerskis (SF/PF, Lithuania)

Height: 6’9.75

Team: Baskonia

My Thoughts: Sedekerskis wasn’t a standout star during the game or practices, but he proved to be a versatile player who isn’t scared of tough competition or big moments. He is a bit of a Dario Saric-style point forward, although he didn’t get a ton of opportunities to show his ball-handling and passing ability in the game.

After one of the practices, I asked him about his game and he stressed that he wants to be a jack-of-all-trades type of player.

“I want to be the guy who can do a little bit of everything,” Sedekerskis said. “I’m working on everything, but most important is my 3-point shot and my handles.”

This is an accurate self-assessment when it comes to his potential as an NBA player. Sedekerskis is a good athlete — not great, but good — and his length (6’9 wingspan) isn’t ideal. However, he’s smooth athlete and his physical tools won’t be a big barrier if his skill level improves enough.

He has a really slow release on his jump shot, which allows defenders to close out even when they start from a bad position. He missed his only 3-point shot in the game because he took damn near forever to gather and launch, giving Duke commit Wendell Carter Jr. a chance to challenge his shot.

Sedekerskis did a solid job defensively, he competed hard and he played with intelligence offensively. He filled lanes on fastbreaks and leaked out for an easy 2 during a critical stretch of the game. He finished with four points (2/4 FGs), four rebounds, 2 steals and an assist in 19:14.

He seems like a smart, hard-working kid and I expect him to improve quite a bit in the coming years, especially if he can crack Baskonia’s rotation next season. He’s better than recent 2nd-round ACB picks like Dani Diez, so I wouldn’t be surprised if a team picks him up in the 50-60 range and stashes him overseas.

Borisa Simanic (PF, Serbia)

Height: 6’11.75

Team: Crvena Zvezda

My Thoughts: Unfortunately Simanic really struggled throughout the week.

Once considered the top European prospect in his class, Simanic hasn’t developed the way everyone has hoped. He seems to be really introverted and quiet, and basketball is a tough sport for introverts. There’s only 10 guys on the floor at a time, there’s a lot of eyes watching and you can’t hide behind a helmet or hat like in other sports.

He also doesn’t play with passion or a clear love of the game like some of the other kids in attendance. He often seems to just be going through the motions and in the game he had a nightmare with Team USA’s aggressive defense. He turned the ball over twice in 10 minutes and had multiple near-turnovers when pressured. Coach Roy Rana chose not to play him very much in the 2nd half after it was clear he couldn’t handle the ball against long, intense athletes.

Borisa Simanic goes for the block against Jaren Jackson Jr. | Photo by Austin J. Smith

On the positive side, Simanic did have two blocks in the game and he did a nice job of challenging shots at the rim in practice. He has a really smooth jump shot and he’s a good athlete. He has the physical tools and talent of a potential first round pick, but his mentality is a big concern. If I was a scout, I wouldn’t put my job on the line by suggesting that my team should draft Simanic.

That said, I wouldn’t be surprised if a team takes him in the 2nd round, because he does have some nice skills and maybe he’ll develop a more competitive mindset as he matures. As with all of these kids, it’s important to remember that they are just that — kids.

Overall, it was a good week of action and the World team did a great job of competing in the game. Hopefully next year more top-tier Europeans are able to attend.

Austin Green is an independent journalist and scout covering EuroLeague and NBA prospects in Europe. If you’d like to support and see more articles like this, feel free to donate.


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