Roundup: Ante Tomic In Progression

Roundup: Ante Tomic In Progression
Oct 23, 2006, 11:34 am
We’re only a day away from the start of the Euroleague, but for now we turn our heads to a major talent that won’t be playing there.

Ante Tomic continues with his excellent progression this season in the Adriatic League. After a slow start, he has enchained four consecutive games scoring in double figures. Leading Zagreb to another victory (they enjoy an excellent 4-2 record so far), he had 21 points, 5 rebounds and 2 assists against Geoplin Slovan. Although not playing in one of the strongest leagues in Europe, and therefore not being under the spotlight as much as other youngsters, Tomic is still one of the top international prospects, and his performance level will only increase as he manages to develop physically.

Still in the Adriatic League, Vladimir Dasic had 15 points and 8 rebounds for Buducnost in the loss against FMP. Meanwhile, Crvena Zvezda was too strong for Siroki, where Stanko Barac helped with 13 points, 5 rebounds and 3 assists.

In the ACB League the big news is the debut of Marko Keselj with Akasvayu Girona. The team is plagued with injuries in the wings, so Keselj enjoyed some meaningful minutes, over 12, and not all in garbage time. He had time to score 9 points and grab 2 rebounds, showing in the process his very nice shooting range and athleticism despite being 6-10 tall. Keselj is part of the excellent 1988 class, and looks like an extremely promising player. Unfortunately, he couldn’t play in the European Junior Championships this past summer so we couldn’t size him up against his peers, but if he establishes himself in the ACB League, he will climb really fast in our charts. After all, he has impressive tools to play this game as he showed last season in Mega Ishrana.

Back to Girona, despite the injury troubles, Akasvayu still remains undefeated (the victim this weekend was ViveMenorca) showing a terrific playing level under the guidance of Svetislav Pesic. The Serbian coach is trusting Marc Gasol for the inside rotation, and the Spanish center has answered back with very solid showings. The previous week we completely forgot to mention him in our roundup, but his 15 points, 6 rebounds and 2 blocks surely deserved it. This weekend he contributed with 6 points, 11 rebounds and 2 assists. Just extending the very favourable impression that he provoked in the World Championships, Marc is playing hard, using his body either to score in the low post or defend the paint (with very nice positioning), while showing notable decision making. He’s becoming a very solid candidate for the second round in the next draft. His poor athleticism severely limits his NBA potential, but seven feet are always seven feet.

Another Balkan newcomer in the ACB as Keselj, Goran Dragic has amassed double digits in scoring for the first time this season. In only 15 minutes of playing time he scored 10 points and grabbed 2 rebounds. Still, Polaris World Murcia fell one point short of the victory against Winterthur FC Barcelona.

Climamio Bologna is struggling early this season in the Italian League. This week they got a victory at home, against Livorno, but suffered a defeat on the road, versus Angelico Biella. Marco Belinelli is the team’s offensive reference alongside Tyus Edney and David Bluthental, and his performances are becoming very influential for the final result. He had only 12 points and 3 rebounds in the loss, but improved to 17 points and 3 steals in the victory. Anyway, he’s averaging only 13.5 points after four games played, basically due to the fact that his game relies in a big part in the three-point shooting, and he’s achieving so far a horrible 12.5%.

Danilo Gallinari is in a completely different situation. He’s not any go-to player and just needs to wait for good options to score, forcing only when he feels really inspired. It’s remarkable his consistency as an 18 year-old rookie: he has scored in double digits in every game this season. This week he netted 14, with 2 rebounds, in the victory against Legea Scalfati, settling for 11 points and 3 rebounds in the loss against Premiata Montegranaro.

In the Greek League, Renaldas Seibutis, loaned for this season to Maroussi, has established himself as a solid starter in his new team. This week he had 13 points in the one-point loss against Aris, helping Maroussi to come back against AEP Olympias Adam’s with 12 points. As usual, intensity and basketball IQ are his trademarks.

In France, Le Mans is finally getting some victories with the addition of point guard Tyson Wheeler after a horrible season start. Against Le Havre, Pape-Philippe Amagou shined with 15 points, 2 rebounds and 8 assists.

In the Baltic League, the fantastic shooter Martynas Gecevicius scored 21 points on Zalgiris Kaunas, missing only 3 field goals. He also added 3 rebounds, but Sakalai couldn’t do anything against the Lithuanian powerhouse. A few days later, his team faced the other powerhouse in Lithuania, Lietuvos Rytas, settling this time for 15 points and 4 rebounds, although again missing only 3 field goals. It’s very interesting to note his productivity and accuracy while being pretty much the go-to guy against these high-quality teams, although the wide scoring margins don’t force them to play at full strength. Zalgiris also faced Siauliai this week, and Mantas Kalnietis had 16 points, 2 rebounds, 3 assists and 2 steals helping his team to another victory.

Moving to China, Guangdong keeps rolling over anybody they face. Yi Jianlian keeps amassing stats with impressive ease. Against Shanghai he had 26 points, 13 rebound and 3 blocks, just to erupt for a ridiculous 20-point 23-rebound performance against Zhejiang. We can get an approximate idea about the real level of the CBA league just by checking how easily Yi’s junior teammates Chen Jianghua and Zhou Peng, both born in 1989, get regular production. Chen is the usual starter, although he plays limited minutes as he shares the point with other guys. This week he had 10 points, 4 rebound, 5 assists and 4 steals against Shanghai and 10 points, 4 assists and 5 steals against Zhejiang. Meanwhile, Zhou started with 17 points and 5 rebounds to follow with 14 points, 5 rebounds and 2 steals.

A solid week for Joe Ingles in the Australian NBL, even if not that good for his team South Dragons, suffering two losses. Ingles had 17 points and 2 rebounds against Singapore and 16 points, 4 rebound and 3 assists facing Melbourne.

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