The first qualifier of Adidas Next Generation season will be played in L’Hospitalet, Spain from January 5 to 7, 2018. Tournament will feature 2016 champion FC Barcelona Lassa, 2013 champion Divina Seguros Joventut Badalona as well as ASVEL Villeurbanne, Herbalife Gran Canaria, Promitheas Patras, Torrons Vicens L’Hospitalet, Unicaja Malaga and Virtus Bologna. Here’s our rundown which will reduce your time and allow to focus on the best prospects when following the tournament.
Barcelona run by coach Marc Calderon is probably the strongest team in this year at ANGT and can repeat their last year triumph. Most eyes will be on one of the best in Europe from his generation Luka Samanic (’00). Croatian Forward has good ball handling, moves very fluidly and can control his body really well. On the other hand he is very skinny and sometimes has problems with stronger opponents. Other prospect followed closely by scouts will be lefty Montenegrin Center Nikola Zizic (’00). He is not overly fast player but has good moves in the post and possesses skills & instincts to grab rebounds easily. He is competitive player and last year did good job by fighting a lot in the paint.
Shooting Guard, David Font (’00) brother of Aleix Font (’98), is probably one of the best shooters of his generation at least in Spain. Last year he didn’t play much but he won the 3 point contest. Forward Pau Carreño (’01), is considerably one of the best players in his generation in Spain. He has good physical profile and excels in transition basketball. Swedish Center Erik Kall (’01) is getting used to the Barcelona’s game. He isn’t very fast but can alter some shoots using his long arms. One of the best 2001 prospects in Europe is Tom Digbeu (’01), lefty, skinny but has a perfect athleticism. He is good defender when he digs in.
Another Shooting Guard, Pau Tendero (‘02), from Balearic Islands, is one of most interesting spanish guys from his age. Has a good physical profile standing at 1,92 m. His offensive abilities are insane, making him able to score from any situation, shooting threes, creating his own shots or crafting himself a way to the rim thanks to his 1v1 talent. Moreover he shows good decision making in all games he plays and likes to have clutch situations. He may join the team later in L’Hospitalet if Catalunya doesn’t advance to the semifinals of the Spanish Championship of Regional selections.
Santiago Aldama (‘01) who play in The Academy was called by FC Barcelona to play this great tournament. Aldama has a lot of talent. He is a SG/SF who can shoot very well for three and recently won shooting contest in Orotava U18 tournament. He has high IQ basketball and good skills for his height.
One of the best youth teams in Spain. Their coach Dani Miret has amazing experience in 2000 and 2001 generation as he coached Spanish U16 two consecutives years. In Joventut Badalona there are always some interesting players. This year, the best prospect is Arturs Zagars and Pedro Barros who is still recovering from knee injury. The first player who arrived from BS DSN Riga has a good court vision and well balanced ability to either assist and score.
Shooting Guard Aleix Haro (’01) isn’t physical but has nice individual technique and good stroke. Forward Joel Parra (’00) with very strong body can even play center on youth level but his ultimate position is 3-4 tweener. He has a excellent moves in post and also can grab rebounds. He already made his debut with Penya senior team. Forward Arnau Parrado (’00) has good body and made significant strides in his transition from center to forward by improving his range shooting. Last worth mentioning domestic player is Arnau Jaime (’01) who has interesting 3 & D potential.
Finally newcomer from Brazil Vinicius Lucio (‘01) is 7’0 undeveloped center who is a rim protector and makes blocks easily. He can have some problems at this tournament because of his skinny body. He started to play when he was 12 yo and has an incredibly big room for improvement. He is good rebounds grabber thanks to his long arms (wingspan is 7’2).
HERBALIFE GRAN CANARIA
Good team that scouts African players well. Herbalife is returning the core from the last year. Center Biram Faye (’00) is a moster at U18 stage. He is improving his technique and basketball IQ. He has body of NFL player and his game in post is good enough to play in ACB. Another Senegalese in the roster is Babacar Fam (’00) who is lanky, hard working defender. He is good rebounder for Forward position and displays not bad footwork. However the best long term potential may be Polish Center Aleksander Balcerowski (‘00). He is NBA prospect with rare ball skills for 7’1 player. Best underaged player is Montenegrin Guard Jovan Kljajic. He has good size & strength for position and shows strong desire to win.
Local team mosty supplies talents to other powerhouses from Catalunya region and doesn’t have potential stars in the roster. However they benefit from participating in good level of competition on regular basis. There are two players who may stand out from others. Gerard Sola (’00) is a skinny forward who has good touch and can guard multiple positions. Adrián Rodríquez (’01) a guard who has played solid minutes in Leb Silver and was member of FC Barcelona last year. He has good dribbling skills and nice 3 point shot, One of his weaknesses is short height which reduces his chances to play on high level.
Unicaja may be one of the most dangerous teams in L´Hospitalet. With a ranking of 5 wins and 4 loses in Liga EBA, this team has in his roster one of the main prospects on the tournament – Jesús Carralero. This 2000 kid is playing a new role this year with an improvement in his athleticism and stats with 10.7 points and 5.5 rebounds per game in Liga EBA, he also plays for the Spain 3×3 national team. He made his debut in preseason but he didn´t have played an official game. Three players of this team made the preseason with the first team: Jose Ibañez, Jesús Carralero and Morgan Stilma. This last player, Morgan Stilma is one of the best rebounders in the tournament. This dutch center is a great defender because of his body, he can also shoot threes and is not an easy deal for defenders. In the three point line we can highlight Jose Ibañez who have played for U-18 Spain national team and who can create his own shoots while having a great no-ball movement.
Virtus won Italian U18 Championship last year and finished as a runner up in U20 stage. This experience can help players who were part of it as underaged. We can expect Lorenzo Deri to showcase his shooting skills. Beside stroke he possess great techinque, ball-handling and owns nice first step. Another talented prospect is Matteo Nicoli. Good shooter with long arms is 2016 Jordan Brand Classic invitee. Estonian Mirkk Jurkatamm is great passer, able to create for teammates by a great lecture of offensive situations. He makes an important presence in the paint as rebounder, he should work more on consistency and efficiency of the shot. Rim will be protected by 212 cm Senegalese – Gora Camara.
Team is making significant strides in the right direction to build good and stable youth system. Two most interesting prospects can be U16 National team members who contributed to big degree in the promotion that Greece won in Sofia this summer: Aris Sotiriou – 6’8 offensive minded, fluid forward with good mid range shooting and center with great body – Dimitrios Karaiskos. Also guards Chrysostomos Sandramanis (‘00) and Aggelos Grammatikos should stand out from others. Especially second one as he is 203cm PG who missed opportunities to make a name for himself outside of the Greece due to injury so far.
ASVEL was very active on the transfer market last summer and signed high level prospect like: Sofiane Briki, Khadim Sow or Ukrainian 7’2 center Yulian Yemets. However they all are eligible to play for LNB Pro A Espoirs U21 team not in AddasNGT. Theo Maledon left CFBB and will run the team of Tony Parker who he idolizes as role model athlete. Extremely mature and refined guard already debuted in senior team vs Cholet. Another star potential is Malcolm Cazalon who was one of the biggest names missing at Championship in Podgorica. Very talented backcourt duo will be supported by small PG Matthew Stratzel. We should also keep an eye on Jaylen’s Hoard little brother – Elijah who as for now seems to be less talented though.