By: Sam Meyerkopf / @euro_adventures
Going into this weekend’s Copa del Rey in Barcelona we have some very interesting prospects that will play key roles in their team’s trophy chances. Let’s take a little preview of five young talents going into the tournament, and then we’ll reassess them again next week after I get my hands on all the live action at Palau Sant Jordi.
Tomas Satoransky, G, Banca Civica Sevilla (1991)
Points: 5.7 Rebounds: 2.7 Assists: 1.6
First Game: Friday vs. Unicaja
The Czech Republic native has been steady but rarely spectacular so far this season. He’s only scored in double digits once and hasn’t had over three assists in any one game. Cajasol—or, I mean Banca Civica—has built on their Eurocup and ACB success from last season and had a phenomenal year so far. Satoransky has been a huge part of this as a secondary ball-handler, solid defender, and occasional fantastic play maker. I’ll have my eye closer to Tomas than other player this weekend, because I really want to get every glimpse I can of the 6’6″ (2.01m) combo guard who has a chance at being an NBA first round pick.
Raul Neto, G, Lagun Aro (1992)
Points: 6.6 Rebounds: 1.7 Assists: 1.8
First Game: Thursday vs. Caja Laboral
From what I’ve seen of this Neto-Satoransky-Freire group, Raul looks to have the best chance to become a fulltime point guard. If you missed it I profiled him for our Zoloft a few months ago. I’m really excited to see how Neto has improved over that time period because Lagun Aro has gone from a team possibly facing relegation to a team contending for the Cope del Rey. Neto usually plays under control and asserts himself only in spurts. With two of the best scorers in the ACB playing beside him (Andy Panko and Jimmy Baron), Neto and Lagun Aro have a chance to make some noise over the next few days.
Rafael Freire, G, Lucentum Alicante (1991)
Points: 6.2 Rebounds: 1.8 Assists: 1.6
First Game: Thursday vs. Barcelona
Last time Alicante was in town Freire was hurt and didn’t get a chance to suit up against Barcelona. Needless to say I was depressed and felt slighted of the chance to watch another blooming prospect. Freire has since gotten healthier and continued to be a necessary cog in the Alicante machine that just keeps winning. The last time I saw Freire play in person he was an all-everything animal for Unicaja’s youth team at the 2010 Paris NIJT. Now, he’s all grown up and we’ll get a chance to see what Freire really does well.
Cesar Augusto Lima, PF, Unicaja (1991)
Points: 3.5 Rebounds: 5.3 Assists: 0.3
First Game: Friday vs. Banca Civica
Lima is another prospect that seems to have been lurking around for the past few years, waiting to catch his break. He’s only played four games for Unicaja in the ACB this year, and I was lucky enough to catch his seven rebounds in ten minutes effort against Barcelona back in December. Lima is still getting inconsistent minutes with Unicaja’s stocked front court, but when he gets in, look out for one of the best boarders you’ll see this weekend and someone who’ll stand out physically immediately.
Alvaro Munoz, G, Mad-Croc Fuenlabrada (1990)
Points: 2.2 Rebounds: 1.0 Assists: 0.2
First Game: Friday vs. Real Madrid
I don’t expect Munoz to knock anyone’s socks off this weekend, but there is opportunity to play on this current Fuenlabrada team. The one contribution Munoz has really given his team so far is long range shooting. In his first match on Friday against Real Madrid the game should be up and down, affording Munoz the room to tossup bombs from behind the arc. If his coach doesn’t play the young guard at all in the Copa, count me as one of the most disappointed.