Ranking the top 20 NCAA players at this summer's Euro Championships
Last week, when the English version of Israeli newspaper
Cohen has been worth accommodating thus far: He's the breakout star of the U20 Division B tournament in Gussing, Austria, averaging a team-high 20.6 points and 7.4 rebounds through Tuesday for the Israelis, who were 3-2. He excelled in the Southern Conference last season, earning the league's freshman of the year honors after averaging 13.3 points and 5.1 rebounds, but is thriving even more in an international environment that requires a different set of big-man skills.
"At Davidson, I was usually on the block or taking a jump shot from the top of the key, but the post game isn't the same in European basketball, just because when you do go down [on the block], the defense is free to beat the hell out of you," he said. "So I've mostly been creating a lot of stuff on pick-and-roll and pick-and-pop sets, and working on driving to the rim with my left and right hand."
"They were all gathered together at center court at the end of practice, and Jake called me over and said, 'The team would like to say something to you.'
"I had no idea what was going on. And all of a sudden, they're singing Happy Birthday to me in Hebrew. It was certainly memorable."
It was McKillop's 60th, and it was the first time he'd ever been serenaded in Hebrew. For a coach who had to celebrate a milestone birthday during a recruiting period, Austria wasn't a bad place to do it. Especially since the same tournament featured two more Wildcats, incoming recruits
Davidson wasn't the only team keeping tabs on a breakout player abroad, though: Over in the Division A tournament in Croatia, Arizona sophomore-to-be
When the 6-11 Natyazhko first came to the U.S. from the Ukraine in 2007 and enrolled at IMG Academy in Florida, it took him until his second season to fully acclimate to the speed of the American game, and he told Arizona coaches that he believes there could be parallels between his high school and college development. He experienced significant gains in skill- and strength-work in Tucson during April, May and June, setting up the summer explosion in Croatia. Wildcats assistant
We'll find out in November if a post-U20 boom is in store for Natyazhko. All we can say with certainty, in July, is that he tops SI's ranking of the 20 collegians we found playing on U20 rosters (all stats through Tuesday):
Soko, who played high school ball in Virginia but was born in London, was a bit player for the Blazers as freshman, averaging 1.5 points in 10.1 minutes. He's using his size to dominate the interior in Austria, scoring 29 points (to go along with seven boards) against Poland on Tuesday. He also ranks fourth in Division B in steals.
Neighbour could be a nice frontcourt role player for a Division I team in 2011-12. He was rumored to be headed to Arkansas-Little Rock in 2008, but surfaced instead at Daytona State, where he averaged 15.3 points per game as a freshman.
Czyz, who left Duke early in the '09-10 season and will be eligible for the second semester at Nevada in '10-11, has been highly efficient for the Poles, shooting nearly 75 percent from the field. He should be a strong frontcourt presence in the WAC once he's eligible.
DiLeo, the son of 76ers senior VP
Lawrence could be Charleston's future starting point guard. He's playing quite well for the 4-1 Brits in Austria, with a 2.2-to-1 assist-to-turnover ratio in five games.
Sarikopoulos played significant minutes in a run to second place in Croatia, but cracking the Buckeyes' frontcourt rotation -- which will include
Marcotullio had the green light to shoot threes as a freshman at Northwestern, and he made them at a 36.9 percent (41-of-111) clip. He's emerged as the Brits' primary gunner, and has made 38.5 percent of his international treys thus far.
There's no way McKillop will give Czerapowicz, who was discovered on a tip from ex-Wildcats playing in Sweden, the kind of shooting freedom he's been allowed in the U20s: In his past two games, he's gone 2-of-12 and 4-of-12 from beyond the arc. But the Wildcats do have hopes that Czerapowicz will develop into an excellent wing player in the Southern Conference.
Tishman's trial year in D-I didn't go well; he couldn't break into the Gators' rotation behind
Kondratyev was one of the few bright spots for a Bryant club that went 1-29 last season and was arguably one of the worst two teams in Division I. He was named to the NEC All-Rookie team after averaging 8.9 points and 3.1 rebounds, and followed it up with a decent summer in Croatia, serving as a solid role player for the Ukrainians.
Vargas is an oversized point guard who could end up on a D-I team in 2011-12. He scored 16 points on eventual third-place team Spain in Germany's opener, but was quiet for the rest of the U20 tournament.
Pateev's U20 experience was remarkably similar to his freshman year with the Sun Devils, for whom he averaged 2.1 points and 1.9 rebounds in 8.3 minutes per game. His minutes should increase as a sophomore now that fellow import
Mackay is a Scottish project who'll need time to get acclimated to D-I hoops, but could be an asset for the Wildcats in a few years. It's not easy for mid-majors, even those of Davidson's ilk, to recruit size stateside.
Thompson, whose father, Leo, is a former member of the British national team, was a bit player for Bobcats this past season ... and a bit player for the Brits in Austria. Soko and Neighbour earned the bulk of the minutes at forward for England.
Bouchman only appeared in nine games for the Owls, averaging 1.3 minutes, but didn't have much of a role on the Israeli team, either: In the four games he appeared in, he had three