Scouting: Bigs (Winner League – Israel)

After a thrilling Winner League stretch run that culmulated in a close finals game between Maccabi Tel Aviv and Rishon Lezion, it’s about time to evaluate what we saw in the past weeks. In the last part of our scouting series it’s all about the bigs. Zach Hankins, Cameron Oliver, Tomer Ginat and plenty more!

Euroleague Potential

Zach Hankins (Rishon Lezion) – ’96 | 2.11m
Continued his impressive rookie season. Great size, great body, great player. Pick and roll target on offense and a man amongst boys in terms of rebounding. Can protect the rim on defense and dunk everything on offense. Has good touch on his right handed hook, but needs to improve his left hand. Doesn’t get completely rattled in the post if the stunt or double comes, but also not an outstanding passer. IQ could be better. Mobility and positioning on defense, especially in the pick and roll, could be better too, but not always a huge factor thanks to his outstanding size. Has more than shown that he’s ready for the highest level and will be a tremendous addition to a stacked Galatasaray team.

Cameron Oliver (Nes Ziona) – ’96 | 2.03m
Huge talent. Has some Devin Booker (Khimki) to him. Slightly undersized at the 5, but really athletic and with good shooting ability. Powerful body too. Can post and face up, shoot the three with ease, finish above the rim on offense and protect the rim to some extent on defense. Great switch defender too. Has all the talent in the world (EL/NBA), but also some question marks surrounding him: Is he smart enough? Gets in foul trouble, is out of position defensively and lacks grit at times. Plays easy, but gets physical in the wrong moments. Argues with the refs. Also: Is he determined enough? Has some moments here and there, but too soft at times and not dominant enough on both ends over long stretches. Body language isn’t the best either and he’s kinda up and down as a screen setter. His talent however is undeniable, especially at that position. You could argue he’s to dependent on tough turnaround jumpshots in the post, but if you got a guy who makes up and under finishes, tough fadeaways, highlight dunks and transition scores look easy, then you should be happy. If he develops more of a killer instinct and plays a little bit smarter, he’ll be at the highest level in absolutely no time. Teams in Europe have him on their radar, but looks like he could go back to Australia. Regardless where he’s heading, keep an eye on him!


Tomer Ginat (Hapoel TA) – ’94 | 2.02m
Hapoel’s captain and a really consistent contributor at the 4. Nice physical body with solid touch from the outside. Made important threes each game and was a somewhat reliable shooter. Makes few mistakes, although his drives sometimes end up in offensive fouls or wild shots. Not super fast, but still gets to his spots (also as a driver) and easily scores in double digits. Takes open shots, posts up and just looks like a veteran, that played on the pro level for ten years. Will play Eurocup next season for Boulogne Metropolitans in France and is absolutely ready for his first stint outside of Israel. Has some Adrien Moerman to him.

Reliable 5’s

Akil Mitchell (Gilboa Galil) – ’92 | 2.06m
Solid, physical 5, who really developed a shot in the last year. Nailed over 60% from the free throw line after only hitting in the 30’s before. Was consistent from the three point line as well. Really good rebounder thanks to size, wingspan and decent athleticism. Has always been a 9 and 7 type of guy, but raised his production with Galil Gilboa. Averaged 15 and 8 and made plays as a solid passer too. Whoever gets him can rely on consistent play from the center position and should be happy to have him.

Talib Zanna (Hapoel TA) – ’90 | 2.06m
Inside presence. Good rebounder and good finisher. Has potential even as a shooter from deep, but not really his strong suit. Not the best rim protector and sometimes turnover prone. Gets in foultrouble too. Overall still a really solid 5 that could help many teams in Europe. Has a contract for next season with Hapoel.

Devon Scott (Hapoel Eilat) – ’94 | 2.06m
Solid finisher inside the paint. Not an above the rim athlete, but always finds ways to lay it in and has solid touch around the hoop with both hands. Decent size at the 5 and quite robust. Gets second chance points. Really good and smooth roll man and can play in the post. Also able to hit a midrange jumper here and there, but mostly an inside finisher. Likes to pass and share the ball, but also fairly high turnover numbers. Struggled with his passing accuracy at times and had problems with his foul management too. Spins into opponents or runs through them. Overall a really decent option for mid-level teams in Europe. Averaged 15.7 points and 7.4 rebounds for Eilat.

Local 4/5’s

Roman Sorkin (Maccabi Haifa) – ’96 | 2.08m
Israelian stretch big at the 4/5 with good size and nice potential. Had an offer from Maccabi Tel Aviv. Really worked for it, but still needs enough playing time to further develop. Has been aggressive with his outside shot all season long and nailed his threes at a high percentage. Can play in the post and has some potential as a passer and rim protector too! Really needs to work on being more physical on both ends though. If he gets down and dirty and continues to develop, he’ll be a good stretch big who can pass, protect the rim to some extent and punish switching defenses in the post. He might not be the best laterally, but can leap here and there for a big dunk and should continue to prouduce, especially on offense. Someone to keep an eye on!

Nimrod Levi (Hapoel Jerusalem) – ’95 | 2.08m
Oustanding size at the 4. Has some Johannes Voigtmann to him. Can also play at the 5 and is light on his feet, especially in transition. Really covers ground and has a good motor changing ends. Outruns his matchup and gets easy points. Also a solid defender and good as a cutter. Decent in the post. Swing skill is his shooting. Has potential, but still not good enough. If he hits his threes with 35%+, he’s a super valuable player that could attack closeouts too. Had a good stretch in the last month with two great outings in the playoffs against Nes Ziona and is looking for a new challenge now. Might sign somewhere outside of Israel.

High IQ

Darryl Monroe (Rishon Lezion) – ’86 | 2.02m
Outstanding IQ. Great veteran at the 4, who simply knows the game. Not athletic anymore, but can play in the post, face up, hit it from midrange and really disect the defense with his passing. Outside shooting could be better, but he’s able to hit a three every now and then. Not good defensively, but at least knows how to use fouls and is not unplayable on that end, especially not in Winner League competition. Big reason why Rishon played so well and made it to the finals.

Evan Bruinsma (Be’er Sheva) – ’92 | 2.02m
Unbelievable start, was red-hot in the first games. Not the most physical PF, but fairly high IQ. Good shooting stroke, can hit it even under pressure. Loves to fake, then step back into the three. Can bring the ball up court and find open guys playing in the post. Pick and pop option but also solid against smaller dudes in the post. Not good at establishing post position though. Good with freedom, exactly what he got with Be’er Sheva. Lacks toughness, but good production in a fast pace, not so physical league.

Player to watch

Jordan Caroline (Hapoel Eilat) – ’96 | 2.01m
Made his debut in Europe after being close to the NBA last summer. Impressive and massive body at the 4. Can also play some 3 and 5. Only 2.01m, but weighs around 107kg. Draws fouls on a consistent basis. Relentless offensive rebounder and really physical in general. Scored a bunch of putbacks and did a lot of his damage under the rim. Good motor offensively, was super active as a cutter, made himself available and got into scoring positions. Also used his physical advantage in the post, where he tried to power through guys with sheer force, but wasn’t always fundamentally sound. Nailed 4 out of 14 threes and while he had at least decent percentages in the past on low volume, he is more of an inside than outside scorer. His free-throw shooting isn’t screaming good shooter either. Has other qualities though, good in transition and can push the ball after grabbing the rebound. Possesses solid ballhandling ability for his size and can go all the way to the cup. Could be better converting in catch and drive situations in halfcourt though. Not really good in terms of lateral quickness, transition D and mobility, but has the body to compensate for some of his shortcomings and showed intriguing potential as a switch defender. Can really dominate in a league, that isn’t overly physical. If he brings his A-game on both ends, locks in defensively and shoots the ball well enough on offense, he’s easily a BCL/EC guy with potential. Player to follow!

High Production

Jimmy Hall (Hapoel Holon) – ’94 | 2.03m
Not the tallest and most imposing 5, but outstanding offensive rebounder. Averaged almost 4 offensive boards per game for Holon and put his name on the map. Has long legs, crazy long arms and nice motor. Regularly snatches 50/50 balls and more than works for his second chance points. Impressed with his huge production on offense and was fairly consistent throughout it. Not a fast roll man, but able to do damage in the short roll area and always ready in case the ballhandler keeps the dribble alive. Has decent touch from close to midrange with his patented turnaround fadeaway hook shot, but is also more than capable of working his way to the rim. Might not always catch the ball directly under the hoop, but will get there regardless. Scores mostly with his right hand. Overall movement looks like a mix of Justin Sears, Stephane Lasme and Michael Ojo. Definitely not the defender Sears and Lasme are though. Very little impact defensively, which is a pity looking at his offensive numbers. Interesting guy to follow.

Who else?

Reggie Upshaw (Maccabi Haifa) – ’95 | 2.03m
Had a huge role for Haifa as a mobile and versatile big that can space the floor, push the ball in transition and go one on one. Too much in the post for most of his opponents, but really struggled with his outside shot, especially at the beginning. Went 1 for 6 in most of the games and couldn’t get it going. Played better against Rishon in the playoffs. Did his damage at the 3, 4 and 5 and had to really rebound the ball well. Made some nice plays every game, but definitely could have been more efficient. Overall still a guy that can easily function in different settinsg and for a bunch of (high-level) teams.

Joe Furstinger (Be’er Sheva) – ’96 | 2.09m
Lanky 5. 2.09m tall, ‘only’ around 100kg. Still young. Has a solid and smooth touch from midrange and upside as a three point shooter. Likes to catch and shoot, but also able to score with the face up J. Good FT shooter. But too soft, especially in the post. Isn’t able to back opponents down all the way to the rim due to strength limitations. Scores around the rim after dump offs, gets himself in solid position. Not a guy for the highest level, but solid for teams in need of a tall stretch big.



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