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Nikoloz Tskitishvili


Notes: The 19-year-old Nikoloz Tskitishvili joined Benetton of the Italian League midway through this past season after growing up playing for the Sukhumi (Georgia) youth teams. Tskitishvili made his debut with Sukhumi during the 1997-98 season and was part of the 1999 championship team. He then moved to Slovenia for the 1999-00 season, signed by KD Slovan Ljubljana, where he was part of another title team in 2001. Moved to Italy for the 2001-02 season, signed on January by Benetton Basket Treviso.

After signing with Benetton, Tskitishvili played in six games leading up to the European Final Four. He played limited minutes on a talented Benetton team, averaging just six minutes and 1 point a game. Did not play in Benetton's semifinal loss to Kinder Bologna.

Tskitishvili played in both the 2000 and 2001 Slovenian All Star Games and has been a member of the Georgian Cadets National Team. Played at the 1999 European Cadets Championship and has been member of the Georgian Junior National Team. Currently a member of the Georgian National Team.

Positives: Tskitishvili is a 7-footer who can shoot the ball, has excellent handles, and can run the floor. Can play the two guard position. He's got great range on his shot -- ESPN.com saw him drain 10 NBA three pointers in a row during a workout in Italy on May 4. He likes to put the ball on the floor and has a sweet cross over. Quicker and more athletic than Dirk Nowitzki.

Negatives: The kid is still very raw. Doesn't get a lot of playing time in Italy so scouts have to rely on watching him in practice. Needs to develop his body and hit the weight room. Doesn't have the low-post skills of a Nowitzki or Gasol yet.

Summary: Every team in the NBA traveled to Treviso to see him play. They all came away impressed. It isn't very often that you find a big man with the type of skills he possesses. While he's still a project at 19, he's as fundamentally sound as anyone in the draft. Has the potential to play four positions in the NBA, that's why he's getting all of the attention. He's a lock for the lottery and could go much higher once teams start pondering the alternatives.

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