All the remaining games of 2017/2018 Adidas Next Generation tournement season will be played in Belgrade as the city was given Euroleague’s Final Four organisation. With less than 48 hourse left to tip-off of last qualifier we present our usual team by team rundown on who to follow closely upcoming weekend.
Red Star rarely ever loses games in Belgrade Adidas Next Generation Tournament. This year they may be frontrunners again however it doesn’t seem to be unbeatable Crvena Zvezda team. Main offensive weapon will most likely be Zoran Paunovic. 6’7 athletic swingman can either drive and shoot. Moreover he is adjusting to play as a point guard. He will be supported by 6’8 Forward Nemanja Popovic. Typical glue guy who doesn’t produce much highlights but is scouts and coaches favourite. Lazar Vasic is a quality youth playmaker who can feed teammates with good dimes. Finally Bojan Tomasevic is Montenegrin skilled strech 4 who recently had amazing performance in ABA Liga Junior semi final.
Turkish team has concentrated talent in 2001 class which was the winners of Turkish U16 Championship. Team will likely to be led by Mustafa Kurtuldum, who has improved himself as a shooter and a court leader this year. Along with him, Ömercan İlyasoğlu can display his amazing court vision and passing skills at point guard. Hard working Göktuğ Baş is one of the most improved players in Turkish U19 League this year, puts in a lot effort on the court and brings athleticism to the frontcourt. Big man Tarık Sezgün has tremendous physical upside and a promising stroke that has range up to 3pt line while the other big Abdülkadir Gülşen has strength and fundamentals to finish around the rim. 00′ players Doğukan Üzüm and Mert Camcı will bring depth to the team and more experience even though they had ups and downs during this season.
The Italian team will be lead by the talent of Miaschi, one of the best players in the entire nation. After the invitation to BWB last summer, Federico is playing an important season being protagonist with the under18 team and playing important minutes in Padova, B Serie. In addition to their leader, Venezia has two excellent soldiers as Candotto and Favaretto, point-guard and shooting-guard, both solid defensive players and capable of making themselves useful in scoring. Under the basket, they can also take advantage of Possamai’s size, 208cm big man who is improving a lot this season. Even if the team is not one of the best of recent years, they can still annoy all the opponents of the tournament.
Most of the best players in the academy are currently entering last year before collegiate or pro career and are no longer eligible for this age group tournaments but still there will be few interesting players. One of them is Tomas Pavelka. 7’2 blocking machine from Slovakia is fairly mobile and at times show flashes of utilizing his intriguing tools. Another notable prospects are newcomers from Eastern Europe: Mark Jaakson who was more than solid at Baltic Sea Basketball Cup for Estonia and David Odiah from Belarus. Also Modestas Marscionka who joined GBA from Joventut Badalona should present why he was recruited by one of the best Spanish teams some time ago.
Biberovic was already go-to offensive option last season and upcoming weekend even more scoring burden should be on his shoulders. Bosnian talent was one of the biggest missing names of FIBA U16s and this tournament will be great chance to get more clear look at his potential. Tarik impressed Zeljko Obradovic on the tryout and joined Fenerbahce on multi-year deal but is loaned back until the end of this season. There will be some obvious pressure regarding this prominence and alleged buy-out amount but it’s a great opportunity for Biberovic to step up and prove himself as not very good/great but elite prospect. During the absence of Timur Krupalija caused by injury, Center Kenan Kamenjas who played 3 games in Bosnian Top League this season should have a notable role on both ends. Also 2002 born Nikola Micic is likely to be given solid minutes and help the team.
Unquestionable star of the team will be well known Marko Pecarski. Serbian pure talent is Partizan regular this year in either ABA Liga and Eurocup where he had some notable performances against powerhouses like Lietuvos Rytas or Alba Berlin. At AdidasNGT he will play almost straight from from global edition of FIBA/NBA Basketball Without Borders camp. From 2001 generation we will have a chance to watch again U16 national team members: Stevan Karapandzic and Dusan Tanaskovic. First is electrifying and athletic point guard and other somewhat oldschool big who currently averages 16.5 points per game in Serbian U17 league. Among more underaged players Mateja Gorunovic definitely deserves some attention and should be started to track down.
While looking at the roster surname Prkacin immediately stands out to all basketball people. Roko is a son of Nikola who played many years in Euroleague and took part in several Eurobaskets as a member of Croatia national team. Youngster seems to have likewise potential. He already stands around 6’9 despite being born in the late 2002. Recently produced 10.5 ppg and 6.8 rpg in ABA Liga Junior against three year older competition. It’s even more impressive considering that at this time Matej Rudan was still with Cibona and many offensive possesions were run through him. Dino Bistrovic will most likely be the most efficient 2000 born player. He is energetic 6’3 guard who can shot it from the outside. 7 footer Danko Brankovic should be a starting center and get more looks than last season when he was kinda in the shadow of Kresimir Nikic. We cannot forget of Luksa Buljevic however his older brother who plays for local rival – Cedevita seems to have bigger talent. Finally 2002 born Leo Menalo is 6’8 fluid athlete. Unlikely to have a big role now but must follow moving forward.
Mega has just won U19 ABA Liga championship in Aleksandrovac behind Goga Bitadze MVP performance. Unlikely to last year when Nikola Miskovic’s and mentioned above Georgian center domination was clear, Mega has quite well rounded roster this time. On the other hand there is no clear-cut highest level prospects. Maybe except Mihailo Musikic but 6’11 talent is two years younger than the rest of competition. Before tip-off we can highlight Montenegrin comboguard Igor Drobnjak who can score in bunches on youth level. He will be surrounded by capable shooters with positional size: Bogdan Nedeljkovic, Luka Cerovina & Altin Islamovic. Athleticism & length will be provided by Aleksandar Langovic and Amar Mehic respectively. Finally Miskovic is not a coincidence of surnames but 2001 born Novak seems to be much less talented than his 2 years older brother.