The ANGT 2021 tournament has just ended with the victory of Real Madrid in the clasico against Barcelona, but the real star of the tournament does not come from either of the two finalist rosters. We must go fishing on the third step of the podium, occupied by Mega Belgrade, author of an infallible path in the youth Euroleague until the narrow defeat on the last day of the final phase against the Catalans. Here is Nikola Jovic, the new child prodigy of the renowned Serbian youth sector, which has made a rapid rise in the lists of scouts, for the modern characteristics in a long-limbed body of 208 centimeters and for the application on the field to say the least prevailing in competitions of the same age. So much so that not only the big Serbs have already appeared at the window for next season (Partizan and Stella Rossa), but even also Barcelona and Real Madrid. Not bad for a prospect who had never touched an orange ball until he was 13: his father is a former basketball player who was playing the championship in England when little Nikola was born in Leicester. The family returned to their homeland in 2012, where the boy began practicing water polo in the Partizan youth academies. Then he decided to start with late-flowering basketball at the Sava club in Belgrade only to get noticed and move on to Mega. His basketball growth led him to be among the squads in the national team in the preparation phase for the U16 European Championship in Udine: unfortunately, an injury to his right arm denied him the opportunity to appear on the continental showcase. This year’s ANGT, however, has definitively consecrated him at a youth level, dominating the Belgrade stage (victory in the final against the Red Star, recovering from -19, MVP of the tournament) and, as previously mentioned, the third place at the stage final in Valencia; moreover, 4 calls came from the first team in the Adriatic League, where he managed well the impact with the professionals with excellent performances against Buducnost and Cedevita Lljubljana. We are sure that this summer, at the FIBA World Cup U19, you will not miss the opportunity to compete with the best athletes in the world and to establish yourself also at an intercontinental level. Let’s find out the characteristics of the Serbian player.
A: Leicester (England)
ROLE: Point Forward
TEAM: KK Mega Basket
PHYSICAL: 208 cm by 95 kg. It has a really wide frame to which it adds a highly performing athleticism, it moves on the field non-stop. The lack of consistent muscle mass is compensated for by excellent agility, rapidity of jumping, good body control and good resistance to contact; in addition to this, it is able to devour the field from one side to the other in no time. The footwork adapts to his pace of play.
TECHNIQUE: set in progression. For a player of his size, he demonstrates an unusual confidence in dribbling both in open court and in area traffic, sometimes kicking off the action in first person, while also adding a good ability to beat the opponent with help. of the first step, despite not being totally versed and versatile in the fundamental. Another point in favor is the ability to pass, with a vision of the game across the board that allows him to trigger the best positioned teammates and an ability to vary the angle of passage such as to make the ball reach his teammates even in tight spaces. The shot is the point that needs the most improvements: despite a fast and clean mechanics, it lacks softness in the shape and in the parabola, making it inconsistent for any range of action and in any situation. His physical size and stretchy legs make him a dangerous rebounder and a responsive blocker under both irons.
FONTE: IDProspect Youtube Channel
ATTACK: Terrifying scoring machine and game facilitator. He has an impressive all-round offensive production, moreover succeeding very easily even in difficult situations. With the ball in hand he can do practically everything: from the perimeter he can easily penetrate the iron thanks to his long strides and the ability to shell (even with snake moves) between the defensive shirts, changing the solution in the race to trigger the teammates. He can also receive from the post up, from which he manages to feed his teammates’ hands on cuts and perimeter open shots (even when doubled). It exalts itself in transition whether you drive it or as a target to sink into a dunk. A defense deployed, he moves to give a reference from which to start his personal action or he can block and open quickly in pop to receive. Equipped with great IQ and a team mindset, he can show more patience and better play selection.
DEFENCE: versatile, but can show more application and effort. The position is not always reactive and ready to prevent penetration from the perimeter, given the mobility of the feet it possesses. It exalts itself much further from the ball, when it has to intervene to help or it remains as the last line of defense to prevent the counterattack, since it has the levers to be able to block the opponent with the right times and a second quick jump to be able to capture the ball rambling and restarting the action. He can improve in reading and in the exit of the blocks, where he still swerves and loses the man.
In short, we are faced with a modern player with an overwhelming production on the field, aware of his own means and very intelligent in understanding the game and dominating it: all characteristics that the boy studies from NBA athletes such as Kevin Durant, Julius Randle e Brandon Ingram. The projections are not yet clear, but this summer’s FIBA World Cup U19 is the right tournament to concretely attract transoceanic attention. On the other hand, in a club that is about to launch Filip Petrusev and who has already given several prominent players to the NBA (Nikola Jokic above all), there is no better starting point.