L’Hospitalet recap: the next tier Spanish prospects

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Oier Ardanza, 6’5 SG, C.B. Gran Canaria (2001)

Statistics: 11.8 ppg, 34.5% FG, 5.6 rpg, 2 apg

An FC Barcelona product who chose to go to Gran Canaria after his stint in Barcelona ended at the U16 stage, Oier Ardanza has progressed well despite a lengthy knee injury and performed at a high level as part of Gran Canaria’s starting unit. An excellent shooter who won Hospitalet’s 3-point contest, Ardanza improved as the tournament went on but mostly played within the flow of the offense, moving off the ball to generate easy looks and making teams pay for focusing on Khalifa Diop or Jovan Kljajic. At 6’5, Ardanza has good size for the shooting guard position, and contributed effectively on the boards during Hospitalet. He exploded for 19 points and 9 rebounds in the final against Joventut, but his shooting and off-ball movement were a constant threat throughout the tournament. Already playing consistently in EBA (Spanish fourth division) for Gran Canaria’s B side, Ardanza will need to improve his body for the pros, as he’s quite thin, and will need to keep developing his floor game to make the transition to a higher level.

Gerardo Pérez, 6’6 SG/SF, C.B. Gran Canaria (2002)

Statistics: 7.4 ppg, 40% FG, 4.6 rpg, 2 apg

A 6’6 Spanish wing player with a decent physical profile and a good outside shot, Gerardo Pérez could easily be a high-level Spanish wing somewhere down the road. He looked very confident letting them fly from deep, totalling 20 shot attempts in 98 minutes — quite a decent mark for a player who isn’t featured prominently in Gran Canaria’s offense right now. He made them at a good clip (8/20, 40%) and his mechanics looked repeatable and solid for higher levels. Part of Gran Canaria’s excellent 2002 generation and already earning minutes in EBA (Spanish fourth division) for Gran Canaria’s B side, Pérez still has another year and a half of junior play to polish his floor game and keep improving on defense, which he will need to do to continue his progression.

Pedro López, 6’7 PF/C, Gran Canaria (2002)

Statistics: 8.8 ppg, 36% FG, 3.4 rpg, 2.2 apg

Pedro López played an excellent tournament as Gran Canaria’s backup big man behind Khalifa Diop and Miguel Serrano. A burly but undersized player, Pedro López is a physical presence who uses his strength to set good screens, carve space inside for sneaky finishes and box out his opponents for easy rebounds. He has good touch from inside the paint, and showed very good awareness attacking zone defences, adjusting his positioning to find the weak spots in the zone and score using floaters or flip shots. He also showed some budding shooting ability, shooting 5/16 from deep in Hospitalet. More importantly, he played hard every game, with excellent intensity on both ends, and even stepped up his game in the final adding 14 points in a high-pressure environment. He will need to keep improving all-around in order to continue his progression, and at only 6’7 or 6’8, will likely need to extend his range and become consistent from deep in order to carve out a solid professional career for himself

Javier García, 6’2 G, Basket Zaragoza (2001)

Statistics: 18.3 ppg, 44.3%, 4.8 rpg, 4.5 apg

The main perimeter generator on a somewhat outmatched Basket Zaragoza team, Javier García did a very good job in a tough position at Hospitalet. Despite the presence of big man Jaime Pradilla, it was García’s job to make something out of nothing when the offense broke down, and he did so quite effectively. A fearless and athletic 6’2 guard, García pushed the pace every time he could and launched three pointers regularly, showing the ability to launch 3s in a hurry: he averaged 10.5 shots from deep per game and made them at an 38% clip, a very impressive mark considering that many of his attempts were self-generated. He did well against the toughest teams here and will likely be a candidate to make the Spanish junior team this summer considering their lack of depth at the guard position, as an athletic shot creator is an interesting player to bring off the bench in these national team tournaments. He will, however, need to continue polishing his skillset, as both his ball-handling and his passing are below average for a point guard — and at his size, it is likely that he will need to make that transition in order to make it at the highest levels.

Pau Carreño, 6’3 SG, FC Barcelona Lassa (2001)

Statistics: 13.5 ppg, 64%FG, 5.3 rpg, 1.5 apg

One of the best FC Barcelona players at Hospitalet, Pau Carreño solidified his status as a clear-cut choice for the wing rotation on the Spanish junior team this summer. Carreño continued being the same all-around presence he has traditionally been, playing within the team system on both ends of the ball and being reasonably effective at it. Although at 6’3 he is slightly undersized for a shooting guard at the highest level, he moves fluidly, is relatively athletic and has role-player potential. He is quite easy to slot in a rotation, since he does not take shots out of the flow of the offense and plays hard on defense. Looking forward, it will be important for him to become a more confident shooter from deep, as he only attempted 9 shots from behind the arc the whole weekend, and he will need to keep developing his all-around game as he struggles somewhat both generating offense by himself and playing defense against the toughest opponents.

Pau Tendero, 6’4 SG/SF, FC Barcelona Lassa (2002)

Statistics: 4.8 ppg, 36.4% FG, 2.5 rpg, 1 apg

Pau Tendero, coming off a lengthy injury and having only recently made his season debut, understandably looked rather rusty in Hospitalet. He was hesitant shooting, with only 21 attempts during the entire weekend, and struggled to make them effectively, especially from deep. He looked especially outmatched in the first round high-level game against Gran Canaria, where he failed to score or rebound in his 11 minutes of action against a good Gran Canaria wing rotation and barely impacted the game. However, he improved as the tournament went by and looked more confident in a tough game against Joventut in the semi-final. He was fresh off a good summer stint before his injury, so it is very possible that he will perform at a much higher level by the end of the season.

Isaac Mayo, 6’5 SF, Torrons Vicens CB L’Hospitalet (2001)

Statistics: 14 ppg, 53.1%, 5.8 rpg, 3.3 apg

Isaac Mayo, an undersized 6’5 small forward playing the local team CB Hospitalet, did well enough during the weekend to earn a 1st Team All-Tournament spot. Mayo, a former FC Barcelona youth player, made a living in Hospitalet out of being an efficient scorer, averaging 14 points per game while shooting 14/24 from inside the arc and 8/17 from deep. He showed excellent offensive instincts and touch, scoring in a variety of ways both inside and from the perimeter, taking pride in his job as a scorer and fighting very hard during the games, showing excellent intangibles. He also showed a physicality and intensity that allowed him to rebound like a big guy during the important segment of the tournament, capturing 8, 6 and 8 rebounds in the first three games.

At only 6’5, Mayo faces an uphill battle to reach the highest levels of Spanish basketball, but he has already made his debut for Hospitalet’s senior team in LEB Plata (Spanish 3rd division) and clearly has a knack for basketball. He will need to improve his lateral speed to keep up on defense against professional players and probably his shooting if he wants to continue progressing, but his performance at the tournament was already an excellent sign and we will get to see more of him against the top players in Europe at the Kaunas ANGT in less than a month.

Antoni Lliria, 6’2 PG, Torrons Vicens CB L’Hospitalet (2001)

Statistics: 5 ppg, 31.8% FG, 1.5 rpg, 4 apg

Antoni Lliria was the other main man in a CB Hospitalet backcourt that proved troublesome for teams at the tournament. Lliria, a former FC Barcelona product, is simply a good basketball player. With decent size for the PG position at 6’2, Lliria shows a good ability handling the ball and breaking down the defense to then kick out to teammates along the arc. However, he still lacks strength to finish inside and is more of a fluid athlete instead of an explosive one, so he will need to develop his craft as a finisher to keep on developing. More importantly, he did not look to be a good shooter at Hospitalet, routinely turning down open shots from deep and showing little confidence when having to pull up — a limitation that he will absolutely need to keep working on if he wants to keep progressing at a higher level.

Arnau Jaime, 6’6 SF, Divina Seguros Joventut (2002)

Statistics: 1.6 ppg, 16.7%FG, 3 rpg, 2.4 apg,

A 6’6 wing with very good lateral quickness and a good vertical leap to go with it, Arnau Jaime shows some intrigue on the defensive side of the ball. Joventut used him against the opposition’s best perimeter threat, even regularly matching him up with guards. Jaime had no issues staying in front of quicker players and using his length to contest jumpers. His size and decent frame should make him an effective switch defender in time if he maintains his progression. On offense, Jaime showed to be a very minor player at this point in time, with limited ball-handling ability and no generation skills to speak of from his time at Hospitalet. He plays within himself, avoids mistakes and only shoots when open, but his offensive impact right now is very poor (he only took 18 shots in the whole tournament, and only made 3 of those) and should clearly be an area of emphasis for him in Joventut.

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