Credit: FIBA, AFP, ZUMA Wire-Scanpix
Credit FIBA, AFP, ZUMA Wire-Scanpix

Spanish league ACB has already started, so this feels like a good moment to analyze some of the most intriguing players to watch this season.

Henry Ellenson

Henry  Ellenson
Position: PF, C
Age: 24
Height: 208 cm
Weight: 110 kg
Birth place: Wisconsin, United States of America

Some of them have already shown their talent and potential, others still need some time. Just like we did for the Italian Serie A and the VTB League, also for ACB, we went for more 'under the radar' names.

As usual, it has to be noted that this is a personal selection based on pre-season performances and other subjective aspects.

Henry Ellenson (PF/C, Obradoiro)

Drafted in the first round by the Detroit Pistons back in 2016, Henry Ellenson's career in the NBA didn't work out. Too many issues defensively and not enough physicality limited his time in the league, forcing him to follow the G League route to revive his career.

Ellenson spent most of last season with the Raptors 905, averaging 21.2 points, 8.1 rebounds, and 2.4 assists per game and being named in the All G League second team.

This summer, he joined Obradoiro, and it's hard not to be excited about his potential in Europe. It's true that defensively Ellenson is not a fantastic player, but at the same time, his offensive potential is very intriguing for European basketball.

A big man who can stretch the floor and has nice secondary playmaking skills, Ellenson has put up some serious numbers in the first few games of the season, averaging 18 points and 5.3 rebounds per game.

It wouldn't be surprising if some EuroLeague teams will try to poach him during the season. Ellenson's skill set is something that belongs to the European top level.

Derek Willis (PF, Joventut Badalona)

After two solid seasons in Germany, Derek Willis had his breakthrough year in Italy with Happy Casa Brindisi, where he was one of the best players of the Serie A.

Brindisi had a fantastic year, finishing at second place in the regular season and reaching the semi-finals of the playoffs.

Willis averaged 10.6 points, 7.9 rebounds, and 1.8 assists per game in Italy while shooting 35% from three-point.

After such a strong season, it was only a matter of time before some bigger teams came knocking at Brindisi's door. Willis signed a two-year deal with Badalona and has already shown signs of his potential in the first three games.

An athletic power forward with the ability to run the floor in transition extremely well while effectively attacking the rim with energy.

Willis is also a decent three-point shooter, which makes him a threat also on the perimeter. At least a couple of Euroleague teams are already monitoring his situation in anticipation of next summer, a source told Basketnews. 

Chima Moneke (PF, BAXI Manresa)

The Nigerian forward is one of my favorite players in this season's ACB. His defensive potential is absolutely impressive, he can play switch defense on basically every single player out there, he has quick feet and impressive lateral quickness.

Moreover, he has great timing for rebounding, and despite not being the biggest guy on the floor, he can defend the post effectively thanks to a mix of smart positioning and relentless energy.

His growth in the past few seasons in France has been impressive, and now he's ready to show his potential in what it's probably the best league in Europe.

In the first three games of the season with Manresa, he averaged 12.3 points, 6.7 rebounds, and 1.3 steals per game.

Offensively, there's room for improvement, especially when it comes to his drives to the basketball, but he has a clean shooting motion from outside and has the potential to become more of a threat from outside. 

Steven Enoch (C, Baskonia)

A Louisville alumn, American/Armenian big man Steven Enoch spent his rookie season with Obradoiro last year, averaging 9.6 points and 4.3 rebounds per game, finishing the season on high notes.

This summer, he signed a two-year deal with Baskonia, where he's expected to have a big role on a EuroLeague team.

Enoch is a very interesting big man; he has a nice frame and can use his body well in the post, he has a good touch from the mid-range and can also knock the occasional three-point shot. He's also a very effective free-throw shooter.

Defensively Enoch has some nice potential, but he's also still a work in progress. As a rim protector, he is not very effective, but despite his size, and even in pick&roll situations, his positioning is often not ideal. Still, an experience in a bigger team like Baskonia could definitely help him improve on that front. 

Vrenz Bleijenbergh (SF, Real Betis)

A 2.08m Belgian point forward with great playmaking skills and can let it fly from outside? Consider me interested. For Bleijenbergh, this will be the first season outside of Belgium, where he played for the Antwerp Giants.

Before signing his first pro deal in his own country, Bleijenbergh turned down several offers from high-profile colleges like UCLA and Arizona.

He's a very intriguing prospect, his length and ability to run the game are impressive, and his playmaking skills are insanely good for a guy that big.

With Betis, he might need to play more off the ball, considering that the Spanish side already has several ball-handling guys in the backcourt, but the idea for Betis is that Bleijenbergh is kind of a long-term project, so they'll use some patience with him. The forward is only 20-years-old, and there's definitely room for improvement. 

Dzanan Musa (SF, Breogan)

After a not very positive experience in the NBA and a forgettable stint with Anadolu Efes last season, Bosnian forward Dzanan Musa will try to revitalize his career with Breogan, a smaller team with less pressure and fewer expectations but that can give him the central role that he needs.

Musa has shown some good signs in the first few games of the season, including a 25-points performance against Tenerife.

Despite being around the professional basket for several years now, Musa is only 22-years old. A couple of disappointing seasons can't hide the fact that he's a very talented player, especially on the offensive side of the ball. He can score effectively, he just needs more continuity.

Probably, Efes' decision not to continue with him was a blessing in disguise. As of right now, Musa needs his own team. He has to be a central figure to win back some of his lost confidence along the road. 

Khadeen Carrington (PG/SG, Real Betis)

After the amazing 2019-2020 season that he had with Ludwigsburg, I was sure that Carrington would have a huge impact on any Euroleague team, and I wasn't the only one to think that. Unfortunately, though, some serious bad luck came into play.

First, his contract with Baskonia was terminated because the player was having issues renewing his Trinidadian passport. After a few days, he signed with Monaco, but then he suffered an ACL injury and was sidelined for the rest of the season.

Now Carrington will have a chance to start again with Betis, and it's definitely intriguing to watch him this season. In his first game in ACB, he scored 22 points in Betis' win over Andorra.

Carrington is a scorer, but he also knows how to create for his teammates from the dribble. If that knee fully recovered from the injury, Carrington might easily become one of the steals of this transfer market.

Trae Bell-Haynes (PG, Breogan)

The addition of Trae Bell-Haynes is another reason why Breogan is a must-watch team this season. In Germany, Bell-Haynes had an impressive year with Crailsheim Merlins, averaging 16.8 points, 7.2 assists, and 3.8 rebounds per game.

The Canadian point guard has improved constantly over the last few years. He can find his teammates, he can score, and he's also a decent defensive player on the perimeter.

In the first few games of the season with Breogan, he has already shown flashes of his talent, including a 20-points performance in the win against San Pablo Burgos.

If he cut down his turnovers, which were one of his main issues last season, he'd have the potential to become one of the best additions of the summer in Spain.

Matt Mobley (SG, Zaragoza)

Mobley is probably one of the best shooters in Europe, and he signed with Zaragoza this summer after a really strong season with Fraport Skyliners in BBL.

In Germany, Mobley averaged 20 points, 4.7 rebounds, and 3.4 assists per game while shooting an impressive 42% from three-point.

Mobley's offensive talent is clear to everyone, he can score from everywhere on the court, and despite being mainly a shooter, he can also create from the dribble.

Defensively he's not exactly the most intense guy that you'll find, but he has shown to be a willing rebounder and likes to push the tempo after grabbing one.

The expectation was that he might have ended up in an NBA training camp, but Zaragoza decided to invest in him, and their project convinced the player. 

Kareem Queeley (SG, San Pablo Burgos)

British guard Kareem Queeley is one of the most interesting young players in the ACB.

After signing a multi-year junior contract with Real Madrid when he was only 14-years old, Queeley moved to San Pablo Burgos, where he became a part of the team that won the FIBA Basketball Champions League.

With a great body frame and a huge athleticism, Queeley knows how to attack the basket effectively, and he's a complete defensive player on the perimeter, using his body to limit opponents' drives to the basket.

He hasn't played much yet, but the potential is there, and this season, we might see more of him.

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