Between July 22-26, the first edition of the Amiral League took place. The French Summer League was held in Cergy, France, on the outskirts of Paris. Where eight teams, packed full of European talent, battled it out for the championship. Which was won by Team Amiral.
Adam Mokoka of the Chicago Bulls/Windy City Bulls headlined the talent on show, winning championship and MVP honors. Mathias Lessort (Bayern Munich), Bandja Sy (Andorra), Lahaou Konate (Metropolitans 92), and Boris Dallo (ESSM Le Portel) were among those who featured over the 5-day tournament. As did former G League player for the Windy City Bulls and Capital City Go-Go, Darel Poirier.
In-among the established talent was many up-and-coming European prospects for fans to feast their eyes upon. With a few of those prospects being on the Yard x Paris Basket team. A hybrid team that consisted of members of Paris Basketball, who play in the second tier of France, in the LNB Pro B.
17-year-old Juhann Bégarin (right) has a reputation of being one of the best international prospects in the 2021 NBA Draft. Like many top prospects before him, Bégarin joined INSEP in Paris and played for their affiliate club, Centre Fédéral. Who compete in the Nationale Masculine 1 (NM1), the third-tier of basketball in France.
The 6-foot-5 shooting guard averaged 11.6 points, 3.4 rebounds, and 2 steals per game, in the 2018-19 season. In February 2019, he featured in the Adidas Next Generation Tournament, where he averaged 19.8 points, 6.5 rebounds, and 4.3 steals. Bégarin was named MVP of the Basketball Without Borders Europe camp in June 2019. Which took place in Riga, Latvia.
In July 2019, Bégarin left Centre Fédéral and signed with Paris Basketball. Paris operate in the second-tier of France, in the LNB Pro B. In the 2019-20 season, he played in 19 games (16.7 MPG) and averaged 4.8 points and 2.1 rebounds.
Juhann Bégarin really does fit the mold of a modern basketball player. He’s an exciting, explosive guard that already possesses a reasonably sized frame. His eye-catching handles can create opportunities not just for himself, but for his teammates too.
19-year-old Ismael Kamagate (left) was another highly touted prospect to feature in the Amiral League. Like Juhann Bégarin, Kamagate has played for the Centre Fédéral team, and still does. In fact, the 6-foot-11 center is on a duel-registration, which allowed him to sign for Paris Basketball on a contract that runs until June 2021.
In the 2019-20 LNB Pro B season, Kamagate played in 21 contests for Paris. Averaging 6.1 points, 3.7 rebounds, and 1.2 blocks. This past season with Centre Fédéral (NM1), he averaged 10 points, 6 rebounds, 1.4 assists, and 1 block, in 11 games.
Kamagate has gone through the French youth international ranks and last featured at the 2019 FIBA U18 European Championships. Where he posted averages of 3 points and 4.5 rebounds, in 6 games.
Standing at 6-foot-11, Ismael Kamagate has incredible length that makes him dominant in the paint on both ends of the ball. He’s not as highly regarded as teammate Juhann Bégarin, but if he gains some strength and continues his development, his time could come. He is eligible for the NBA Draft in 2023.
Guard Milan Barbitch (right) is another that played with Centre Fédéral. Averaging 10.5 points, 2.3 rebounds, 2 assists, and 1.2 steals through the 2018-19 campaign. Which proved to be his final season, as he left to join Paris Basketball for the 2019-20 and 2020-21 seasons.
18-year-old Barbitch featured in 22 LNB Pro B games for Paris in the 2019-20 campaign. Averaging 3.5 points, 1.8 rebounds, and 1.5 assists, in 11.5 minutes per contest.
Standing at 6-foot-5, Barbitch has great size for a combo guard and has unlimited range when he gets hot from 3. With a bit more weight, he should be able to compete at the professional level, on both ends of the ball, with relative ease.
Unlike Bégarin and Kamagate, Barbitch is a player that goes under the radar. To date he hasn’t been capped by France at any of the youth international levels. He is eligible for the NBA Draft in 2023.
He is the son of Yann Barbitch, who is a former professional player and is now involved in the French men’s national team.