Getting a look at Goga Bitadze's measurements for the first time, it is easy to see why he's such an imposing player at the junior level, given he already stands 6'11.25 in shoes with a 251-pound frame and a 7'2 wingspan at just 16 years of age. This setting has been a major learning experience for the young Georgian center as this is one of the first times he's been tested against the caliber of athletes he's gone up against here. He's struggled quite a bit with the physicality and experience of the older players, and has looked very frustrated at times, demonstrating some poor body language along the way. There is quite a bit to like about the high skill-level the Georgian center brings at this size, but he'll have to continue to sharpen his mental approach, improve significantly defensively, and find ways to fight through adversity when his offense isn't there.
Bitadze was a force in the Serbian Junior League for Mega Bemax this season after averaging a double-double at the 2016 FIBA U18 Division B European Championship for Georgia last summer. Also seeing minutes in the Serbian First Division on loan with Smederevo amid standout showings at the adidas Next Generation Tournament, it has been an eventful year for the massive center. It will be interesting to see how he handles himself in a high pressure setting like this against far more experienced competition. Bitadze has a very high skill-level for someone his size, regularly stepping outside and making 3-pointers, while also demonstrating an impressive feel as a passer and shot-blocker. A strong showing at the EuroCamp
Santiago Yusta will be among both the most seasoned and highly regarded prospects at this year's camp. After spending a number of years with Real Madrid's junior team, Yusta saw regular rotation minutes with Obradoiro in the ACB the past two seasons. Averaging 5 points and 2 rebounds per game this year, Yusta is a crafty slasher who needs to significantly improve as a jump shooter to take advantage of his fluidity and creativity off the dribble. Having a clear edge in terms of experience over most of the players here, scouts will be looking for Yusta to standout with his maturity, but he'll have to show better potential as a perimeter shooter to hold their interest heading into next season.
Strengths -Very good size for a 17-year old center at 6'11, 250 pounds -Has a strong frame and what appears to be a solid wingspan -Mobile big man. Can get up and down the floor. Not a stiff by any stretch -Very skilled for a big man his size -Knows how to operate with his back to the basket. Has footwork and touch he can rely on in the post. -Has solid shooting mechanics and good touch facing the basket. Even shows range out to the 3-point line. Career 25/73 for 3 in 37 games in the DX database. -Above average basketball IQ. Solid passer. -Solid rebounder
Weaknesses -Body can improve. Not toned at the moment. Conditioning leaves something to be desired -Not very explosive vertically -Skilled, but not efficient inside the arc. Has shot a very poor percentage for his career from 2-point range (43.5% in 37 games). Doesn't finish that well through contact in traffic. -Motor is inconsistent at this stage. Doesn't bring the same intensity level to every possession -Looks lethargic at times defensively, especially when forced to step outside of the paint and move his feet on the pick and roll. Has average fundamentals on this end
Outlook: Was by far the most productive big man at the camp, which was admittedly very weak in terms of pure size. Has been productive at the FIBA national team junior level with the Republic of Georgia at the U16 and U18 level in the B division. Elected to make the jump to Mega Leks last year, where he'll undoubtedly have a chance to develop both physically and skill-wise. May lack a degree of upside due to his average athleticism, but will be on the radar for a while thanks to his combination of size and skill.