Assessing Nikos Rogkavopoulos, Dalibor Ilic, and Darko Talic in 2 BCL Basketball Games
November 7th, 2020
By Alan Lu
I decided to take the time to watch a couple of Basketball Champions League games that took place recently. In the first game I saw, I watched AEK’s 6-8 Greek forward, Nikos Rogkavopoulos play against Hapoel Holon in a November 4th game, with thanks to YouTube via Basketball Champions League. Rogkavopoulos is an agile, skilled swingman that has been getting significant playing time in the Basketball Champions League this season, and so I wanted to watch him play to get a better sense for his overall skill set. Here are my thoughts on how he fared against Hapoel Holon on this day, and where his game may stack up as a prospect for the NBA.
AEK’s 6-7 forward, Nikos Rogkavopoulos is a mobile, skilled combo forward that is an early-entry candidate for the 2020 NBA Draft. He didn’t play much in the Basketball Champions League during the 2019-20 season, but started to get playing time as of lately, and he’s been getting some minutes for the new 2020-21 season. Right now, he may project to be a borderline second round candidate for the 2020 draft, but he project into a 3 and D role if he makes it to the NBA.
In this game, Rogkavopoulos excelled at scoring on hustle plays. He was able to get the ball on a baseline cut, and he used a pump fake before patiently scoring on a turnaround jump hook. He also would run the floor hard to get open in transition, but his teammates often were not able to get him the ball in this game.
He also displayed an adequate ability to score off the dribble. After getting the ball on a dribble handoff, he drove aggressively to the rim to his left to draw free throws on a layup. However, he struggled more when taking the ball to the hoop in the other direction, as he ended up missing on a floater, and he also had another shot blocked in traffic.
He also flashed the ability to knock down threes, but he didn’t make outside shots consistently when hoisting up jumpers from beyond the arc. Rogkavopoulos was able to make a quick, corner three off the catch after being left open to shoot the basketball early on. However, he tended to miss on open, corner threes, and he was not able to make his opponents consistently pay for leaving him open in the corner.
Also, Rogkavopoulos displayed adequate playmaking skills. He is an unselfish player that will swing the ball to open shooters to set up scores for them. He also will move quickly off the ball on offense. Plus, he did not turn the ball over once against Hapoel Holon.
In addition, he was able to help his team get their share of boards when he was on the floor. Rogkavopoulos was able to leap up to get a pair of defensive rebounds. He also managed to fly in to save an offensive board to a teammate another time due to possessing a solid motor. He also would get his hands on other balls to try to get other defensive boards, but it would end up going to his opponents instead.
He also played above average defense in this game. Rogkavopoulos is an active help defender that will play passing lanes. On one play, he managed to deflect an entry pass to a teammate to help his team get a steal due to possessing solid length and anticipation skills, and he made a good read on the play to do so. He also will stay in front of opposing ball handlers and use his length to successfully contest shots and disrupt passes, and he also will fight through screens to stay with his man on the defensive end. However, he will sometimes get caught ball watching and over-help by leaving his own teammates open, which will cause his team to commit fouls and allow scores. Another time, he misplayed a ball when gambling for a steal as he tried to jump a passing lane, but it led to a scramble situation and towards his team to allow a corner three score. Other times, he can get caught on screens and sag too far off of shooters, as his team would tend to allow opponents to score on three-point shots.
In general, Nikos Rogkavopoulos is a skilled combo forward that can make some solid hustle plays on both ends of the floor, but he will need to make more outside shots consistently, and he will need to be a more disciplined defender in games. Right now, he may be a long shot to be drafted, but if he makes his way to the NBA, he could end up being an effective role player similar to current Miami Heat forward, Solomon Hill in the association.
I also saw another game that took place on October 28th, as I also saw that with thanks to YouTube via Basketball Champions League. This game featured several prospects such as Dalibor Ilic, Darko Talic, Ludovic Beyhurst, and Timothe Crusol, and BC Igokea and CSP Limoges squared off against each other on this day. Here are my thoughts on how Ilic and the other prospects fared in this match.
Dalibor Ilic is an athletic, energetic 6-8 forward that plays for BC Igokea. He excelled as a finisher around the basket, and he also was active as a rebounder and defender in this game. However, he will still need to improve his outside shot in the meantime.
Ilic excelled at scoring on hustle plays, especially on rolls to the rim. After setting screens for his teammates, he would roll to the hoop and catch lobs, as he was able to score on a tip shot, and on an emphatic two-handed alley-oop dunk in this game. He also managed to throw down a powerful, two-handed jam another time. He also ran the floor to score on a layup on the break.
However, he struggled to score more in one-on-one situations. On an aggressive drive to the hoop, he missed on a contested runner. He also posted up another time, but he ended up missed on a jump hook badly. Ilic also was unable to make either of his three-point shots, and he especially struggled to shoot jumpers on the move in this game.
Also, Ilic displayed decent playmaking skills in this game. He is an unselfish player that can find teammates on the move, and he does a good job of passing off the dribble to set up scores for his teammates. He throws solid interior passes, and he has good patience and vision to consistently get them the ball. He did drop a pass off of a cut that ended up in his opponent’s hands once, but overall Ilic excelled as a passer and ball handler in this game. He also was able to get his fair share of boards, and he would chase down balls to get several defensive rebounds in this contest. He also would tip balls to help his team get extra boards when he was on the floor.
Also, Ilic played solid defense against CSP Limoges. He would jump passes to get steals and deflections, and he even reached in to deflect an entry pass even when pinned back in the post due to possessing long arms. He also rotated to block a shot when defending in the post due to possessing solid length, mobility, and timing. He also would often contest jumpers to force misses. However, sometimes he would gamble too much, as he would be too aggressive defensively, which would lead him to commit a slew of fouls. Another time, he was late to get back, which led to a pass that set up a score for an opponent inside the paint.
In summary, Aleksa Ilic is an athletic, combo forward that may project to be a defensive specialist if he makes it to the NBA. He will need to improve his jump shot and extend his shooting range, but his ability to distribute the ball and defend could enable him to be an effective role player similar to Houston Rockets’ forward, Luc Mbah a Moute in the association.
BC Igokea’s 6-6 1998-born combo guard, Darko Talic from Bosnia and Herzegovina played very well in his team’s loss to CSP Limoges. He excelled as a shooter and facilitator for his team, and he could be a potential second round pick in the 2020 NBA Draft.
He did a very good job of knocking down jumpers to provide floor spacing for his team on offense, as he can score on threes and mid-range shots. Talic was able to make a quick three off the catch early on, and he also ran the floor to make a quick, spot-up three in transition. He also drove to the hoop, arguably got away with a push off when going to his right, and then promptly made an open, pull-up mid-range jumper. He wasn’t able to get all the way to the rim when looking to score, but he showed a crafty ability to get separation, and his ability to shoot the basketball enabled him to make shots efficiently within a limited number of touches.
Talic also displayed solid playmaking skills. He drove to the hoop to throw a no-look bounce pass to set up a score at the rim due to possessing good vision, and he excelled at throwing passes off the dribble. He is a good ball handler that can kick it out to shooters as well as throw interior passes to find roll men on the move. He did throw one pass that led to a turnover though, and he threw a bounce pass in traffic that was dropped by his teammate prior to getting intercepted by an opponent once.
He also was able to collect an offensive rebound in this game, and Talic was able to tip balls to his teammates to help his team get some rebounds. However, he is not an elite rebounder nor athlete, and he had trouble coming away with boards in traffic.
He also will need to improve his defense. On one good play, he jumped on a loose ball that his opponent lost to get a steal for his team, and he was opportunistic in recovering that loose ball that was on the ground. However, Talic tended to struggle to defend screens in this game. He would sometimes go too far over the screen, which would force his teammates to rotate to his man on pick and rolls, which would lead opponents to get open to score. He also was caught ball watching when trying to fight through screens, and he ended up getting beat on a cut, which caused him to commit a foul to allow a score and an extra free throw. Other times, he has trouble staying in front of his man, which would cause him to commit fouls.
Overall, Darko Talic is a skilled combo guard that can shoot and pass the basketball, but he is only an average athlete and will need to defend better in games. Right now, he will need to show that he can consistently excel at the higher levels in Europe. If he can do that and also improve his defense significantly, he could end up being a reliable role player similar to former Utah Jazz’s guard, Gordan Giricek in the NBA.
CSP Limoges’ 6-4, 2001-born guard Timothe Crusol also played in this game. He didn’t play much, but he is an above average athlete that can knock down shots and defend when he is on the court. Though he didn’t score in this game, he appeared to make a quick, spot-up three that didn’t count because his teammate had drawn a foul earlier in the play. Crusol also threw an entry pass that managed to get to his teammate in the post. He also handled the ball up court, but then threw a pass that got deflected out of bounds.
He also played solid defense. Crusol raced in to steal a mishandled ball from an opponent mid-court, and he showed good recovery speed and acceleration to do so. Overall, Crusol is a fairly athletic, skilled combo guard that could be a player to watch in the future. He will need to get more playing time in games, but he could potentially end up being a late second round pick if he can play well at higher levels in international basketball.
CSP Limoges’ 5-9 guard, Ludovic Beyhurst doesn’t look to be much of an NBA prospect at first glance. He is a diminutive playmaker that doesn’t have great athletic gifts, and his lack of size or athleticism would surely put him at a disadvantage at the NBA level. On the other hand, he is a cerebral playmaker that can effectively run the team, and he is a feisty defender that competes hard on the defensive end, and those qualities make him a solid backup point guard as an overseas player in international basketball.
Though he went scoreless in this game, he was able to draw a non-shooting foul on a drive once. He also appeared to make an open three off the catch, but it didn’t count because his teammate drew a foul in the post earlier. Beyhurst tried to score on a drive in traffic midway through this contest, but he ended up missing on a tough, off-balanced layup in traffic.
He also displayed adequate playmaking skills. He is an unselfish player that will move the ball to find open teammates, and he also set a hard off-ball screen to help a teammate get an open jump shot late in this game. On the downside, he was not able to get many rebounds in this game, as his lack of size or athleticism made it tough for him to get boards when he was on the floor.
He also played average defense at best. For the positives, Beyhurst is a competitive player that will actively contest jumpers to force misses, and he will get into his opponents’ bodies to do so. He also will fight through screens to stay with opposing ball handlers. On another possession when defending in the high post, he was able to poke a ball back to his man to nearly force a steal. However, he struggled to defend opponents off the dribble or in the post, which would cause him to commit fouls and allow scores.
Overall, Ludovic Beyhurst may not project to be drafted in the NBA, but his ability to run the team and compete may make him a serviceable role player in professional basketball overseas. He may not necessarily end up in the NBA, but he could carve out a lengthy career elsewhere in basketball.
Also, I would like to take the time to congratulate Joe Biden and Kamala Harris in winning the 2020 presidential election. Joe Biden will be the 46th president of the United States of America! I am confident that he and his team will do a very good job in office, and our team congratulates Biden and Harris on becoming the new president and vice president of the United States of America.