Malaga, Spain – From July 2-10, NetScouts Basketball was in the most southern region of Spain – Andalusia, to cover from Day 1 to its end the FIBA U17 Basketball World Cup 2022, which was held in three cities – Alhaurin de la Torre, Marbella and Malaga.
In a span of nine days, we were able to get in-depth touch on all of the 16 teams’ players, coming from six different continents. Despite not having many down-to-the-wire games in the group stage of the event, the final stage offered us a lot of close and competitive battles, especially those, in which the hosts from Spain were playing. Every time Spain was playing, the arena was packed and frenetic, especially in the first-place game between Spain and USA – 8112 spectators.
The United States dominated its opponents with speed and athleticism going all the way to the final game against the hosts from Spain. On the other side of the bracket, in order to reach the final, Spain firstly had to face in the elimination phase, two of the toughest teams at the event – Australia and France. After two crazy comeback wins, each with incredible fourth quarter performances (21-11 vs Australia and 22-5 vs France), Spain punched their ticket for the final game at the tournament against the unbeaten team of the USA. There, after trailing by 5 at the half (33-38), the deeper USA roster outplayed its opponents in the third quarter – 29-13, forcing them into turnovers, which resulted in easy points in the open court and a quick change of momentum. The United States prevailed over Spain 79-67 to win the title for the sixth straight time. In the third-place game, the athletic team of France controlled the game from the jump against Lithuania – 66-58 to secure the bronze medal at the event. Lithuania was one of the teams, which overachieved, exceeding the expectations thanks to solid team basketball and sharp outside shooting.
Most Valuable Player – Izan Almansa (Spain)
Koa Peat (USA) – 9.6 ppg and 4.3 rpg
Cooper Flagg (USA) – 9.3 ppg & 10.0 rpg, 2.9 blk
Ilane Fibleuil (France) – 12.6 ppg & 5.9, 61.5% 3pts
Izan Almansa (Spain) – 12.1 ppg and 11.9 rpg
Lucas Langarita (Spain) – 11.1 ppg and 2.9 apg
Here below you will find more on a small sample of the prospects who played at the event, we consider interesting from college perspective. If you’d like to check out the full list of recruits we covered from the event with contact info, suggested rankings and video links, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to subscribe.
Ilane Fibleuil ( 2005, SG, c/o 23’) – a 6-foot-6 athletic shooting guard with a +3 wingspan and solid leaping abilities. Lean and quick, he will excel in the open court, finishing with ferocious dunks. Fibleuil had a breakout performance at the event, cementing himself as a cornerstone for the French success in Malaga, on a loaded roster with high-level type of talents. He led his team in points and rebounds – 12,6 ppg and 5.9 rpg. Could be a threat from long range, either off the catch or off the dribble. Capable of creating his own shot, showcasing solid footwork and various repertoire. More of a secondary ball handler, he will be able to space the floor well, waiting for the right kick out or time to cut and finish above the rim.
Vytautas Zygas ( 2005, SG/SF, c/o 24’) – another player who helped his stock tremendously due to his strong showing in Malaga. A tough 6-foot-6 lefty swingman with solid shoulders and strong body. Sniper from long and mid-range, off screens or 1,2 dribbles, his ability to use elbow screens and capitalize on them reminds me of the game of Fabien Causeur (another lefty). Scored 54.2% of his outside shots. Crafty and aggressive driver who will not shy away from contact. Plays winning basketball – knows how to share the ball, will compete on both ends and be a team player. With all this being said, it’s hard to be a college coach and not like his production and effort on both sides of the ball.
Ognjen Stankovic ( 2005, CG, c/o 24’) – one of the most promising 2005-born Serbian prospects and a definite high-major recruit. A 6-foot-6 tall combo guard with good physical tools in terms of size and strength for both backcourt positions. Expected to be more efficient as a secondary ball handler, Stankovic showed nice playmaking abilities and solid court vision to go along with promising upside as a tall point guard throughout the event (5.4 apg and 2.0 AST/TO), as the Serbians lacked a true floor general on their roster. More of a scorer, than a playmaker though. Has pretty good defensive awareness and will often anticipate the passing lanes. His creativity should only get better with enhanced ability to change speeds/directions. Capable of scoring the ball at all three levels. Improvements in his stroke from either free-throw line and long distance will help him significantly at the next stage.