De Colo is a bit of a late bloomer, a guy who didnt play with the French Under-16 or 18 National Teams. Born in 1987, last season he already enjoyed consistent playing time with Cholet, and during the past summer, he emerged as the leader on the U-20 National Team. This season, hes established himself as an important player in the French League, where he averages 12.8 points, 2.4 rebounds and 3.7 assists in 28 minutes per game. He even made the All-Star game, starting alongside the likes of Nicolas Batum and Marc-Antoine Pellin.
A pretty skilled combo guard, De Colo provides both solid passing ability and notable scoring power. Standing 6-5, enjoying a nice frame, but average in terms of athleticism, he shows a pretty nice physical profile for European basketball. Not very explosive, he takes advantage of his ball-handling skills, footwork and screens to slash towards the basket. Hes a solid shooter with range out to the three-point line, also being able to knock down shots off the dribble. Able to find his teammates off the drive, he shows nice court vision, while he emerges aggressive on the fastbreak.
Although De Colo can eventually overdo himself if he feels confident, as it happened in the game against Barons, hes a pretty heady guy who seems to play beyond his age. Hes not oozing with untapped potential, but seems like a very interesting player in the making. It wouldnt be surprising if he moved to a bigger squad next season, where NBA scouts could take a closer look at him before he becomes draft-eligible.
A Look at Anton Ponkrashov
Precisely this past week, Ponkrashov faced the team that owns his rights, CSKA, delivering 17 points, 3 rebounds and 2 assists that left Khimki on the verge of stunning the Russian powerhouse. Its not his most typical performance, as Anton is more of a pass-first point guard. Averaging 4.4 assists per game between the Russian Superleague and the ULEB Cup, hes a guy with notable ability to find the open man, effective in the pick and roll, prolific with kick-out passes, and who takes advantage of his size to better see the court and execute his passes over his rivals.
At 6-7 and strongly built, hes obviously not an orthodox playmaker. On the other hand, hes not very athletic, particularly in terms of his leaping ability (highly underwhelming). Still, he can move his feet pretty fast, and he can even challenge smaller guards on defense, showing nice lateral quickness.
Back to the offense, one of the reasons why Ponkrashov is not a very prolific scorer is the fact that hes extremely left-handed when it comes to putting the ball in the net. When he goes right, he almost always passes the ball, even forcing the delivery, unless hes completely open. Everybody knows it, and hes constantly invited by his defenders to attack with his off hand. Actually, in the game against CSKA he executed a successful slashing move from the right side, took the steps for a wide open layup and, when it came to release the ball, he awkwardly used his left hand despite having last touched the floor with his left foot and having his right knee elevated.
In the end, many of his points come off jumpers that he can take off the dribble. Hes coming up inconsistent shooting from the three-point line, but looks pretty reliable from mid-range distances.
Although generally displaying a nice level this season, Ponkrashov still shows up tentative at times. He doesnt completely trust his scoring skills, which might affect to some degree the aggressiveness he displays running the offense, and therefore, his effectiveness there. Anyway, its just a matter of gaining maturity, confidence and experience.
State of the Prospect: Whos Hot
Nikola Pekovic kissed a splendid Euroleague Regular Season goodbye with a 20-point, 10-rebound performance, followed by his 15 points and 2 rebounds in the Adriatic League. It was a successful week, as both games ended up in Partizans bag. Indeed the victory against Fenerbahce-Ulker was only the second triumph on the road in the Euroleague for the Serbian team in their way to the Top-16 round. Meanwhile, Hemofarm was their victim in the Adriatic League, which leaves Partizan as the lone leader in the competition, being one game ahead of Zadar and with an unprecedented 5-victory margin over the second best Serbian team. Of course Pekovic has to be given a lot of credit for his team's extremely solid display so far this season.
Ante Tomic keeps delivering increasingly consistent outings both in the FIBA Eurocup and the Adriatic League. In the continental competition he had 19 points, 9 rebounds, 4 assists and 3 blocks helping Zagreb to overcome Olympia. In 8 games, he averages 13.8 points, 8.1 rebounds and 2.1 assists, never falling under the 9-point mark. In the Balkan league, he settled for 16 points, 5 rebounds and 2 assists, still not enough to beat Zadar. Anyway, in the last 17 games of the Adriatic League, he has only once failed to reach double digits in scoring, while hes netting 64.1% of his field goals.
Pau Ribas, who scored 17 points in the ACB this past weekend for DKV Joventut against Valladolid. Hes gaining more confidence in his role on the team these days, despite his youth. Hes a solid shooter and an able scorer, but he needed minutes to be able to show his abilities on the court.
State of the Prospect: Whos Not
Despite a promising season start, Jure Lalic is struggling lately. While his team Zadar keeps winning games, he only averages 2.6 points and barely played 10 minutes in each of the last 5 matches. Actually, his season scoring average has dropped from 11 points per game to 9.5. For a rather relatively unathletic big man like him that is automatically eligible in the upcoming draft, this might eventually mean losing any hope of being selected.
Ricky Rubio has just been awarded with the FIBA Europe Young Mens Player of the Year. The poll, voted by fans, journalists, players and coaches, ended as follow:
1. Ricky Rubio
2. Milos Teodosic
3. Marco Belinelli
4. Kosta Koufos
5. Danilo Gallinari
6. Milan Macvan
7. Nicolas Batum
8. Alexey Shved
9. Vladimir Dasic
10. Mladen Jeremic
They are all recognizable names, although its a bit surprising to see Macvan falling so low. His impressive MVP performance at the U-19 World Championships and the way he led Serbia to the continental title at U-18 category probably deserved a better outcome.