Starting from 31st of March until 7th of April we will witness 29th edition of Albert Schweitzer Tournament. Event that takes place every two years in Mannheim gathers national teams from many continents and can be considered unofficial U18 world championship.
It is always great to see the talent from all around the globe. For European prospects it’s a rare opportunity to compete against other basketball cultures and for scouts to evaluate them by comparing to for example Top 100 recruits by USA standards. Let’s take a look at the rosters of all Euro teams participating in AST.
The host team which will try to defend the title has really deep roster and it’s hard to predict which players from 17 man roster will make the final cut. Two 2002 talents Ariel Hukporti and Luc Van Slooten are already established and ready from physical standpoint to contribute against two years older players. Other underaged guys like Kay Bruhnke and Franz Wagner are Top 15 caliber of their generation and many offensive possessions will go through them. Roster also displays four very interesting mid level wings: Kilian Binapfl, Marco Hollersbacher, Matthew Meredith and Jason George. Two lefty guards with nice positional size and two way game – Jonas Mattiseck and Joshua Obiesie should be responsible for playmaking while 4-5 hybrids Hendrik Drescher and Finn Fleute should provide inside-outside contribution.
Russia possess quite an interesting roster. Pavel Zakharov and Alexander Shashkov will create highly intriguing frontcourt duo. Both have considerable potential to finish on high level and moreover can play complementary role for each other. First is super mobile and fluid athlete with defensive potential intriguing for modern small ball center while Sasha is good in stretching the court and displays really polished skillset for a big man. He recently signed three year deal with Helios Domzale. Backcourt will be lead by Alexander Ershov. Strong, powerful guard had ups and downs at Kaunas AdidasNGT but should display more consistent performance surrounded by better talent. On the other hand at the same tournament three Khimki Moscow Region players – Anton Alakin, Vladislav Odinokov & Dmitry Kadoshnikov showed decent form and should support Russians in big degree in Mannheim.
Most likely it will be guards team. Federico Miaschi and Mattia Palumbo seems to stand out from peers in their country. Similarly to Shashkov and Zakharov both are good fit for each other as they bring other assets to the table. Miaschi is excellent athlete for European standards and is extremely hard to keep in front. Palombo possess worse physical profile but probably more sophisticated game which allow him to be given regularly 20 minutes per game in strong Italian A2. Another good backcourt prospect is Matteo Lagana who had a lot of episodes in Basketball CL and Italian Top tier this season with Capo D’Orlando. Next well known prospect in the roster is big bodied stretch four – Omar Dieng. Player with Senegalese roots participated in global edition of Basketball Without Borders at NBA All-Star Weekend and last week scored his first A2 bucket. Candidate for a positive surprise is Giordano Bortolani from Olimpia Milano who has played very well in domestic leagues recently. He is a shooting guard with good ball handling and sweet three point stroke.
A familiar team to see in Albert Schweitzer Tournament, Turkey goes to Germany with a balanced roster this time. Mostly constituted from 2000 born players, team will likely rely on the guards to win games. Mert Akay coming out from a great performance in Munich ANGT will definitely a player to keep an eye on once again. Akay will be accompanied by Mert Konuk of Tofas and Eray Akyuz of Bandırma Banvit. Akyuz has been enjoying a stellar performance in his second year Turkish second division while Konuk seen some playing time in BSL with Tofas. Turkey also has some decent wings in the roster with Mustafa Kurtuldum, Efe Ergi Tırpancı, Mert Camcı and Adem Bayrak. Kurtuldum also coming out of a strong ANGT perfomance in Belgrade where he scored 41 points against Spars and will likely be one of two players from 2001 that will crack the roster. Other 2001 born player in the team will be Tarık Sezgün, 211 center with good fundamentals and some shooting range still has a tremendous upside. Other centers are Alperen Demir and Sadık Emir Kabaca from Banvit. Demir already a regular part of this generation’s team while Kabaca will try to build on his dominant performance in Basketball Development League in Turkey.
France may have the most disappointing roster of all participants. Absence of surefire future NBA Draft lottery pick – Sekou Doumbouya is not surprising at all as he is already integral part of Pro B Poitiers 86. We also won’t see Gonzaga’s redshirting freshman Joel Ayayi. Federation decided to bring only 2000 born players so another highly touted prospects from golden 2001 generation like Malcolm Cazalon, Killian Hayes or Theo Maledon won’t make the tournament. Without them all we may expect big role for two INSEP players – Mathis Dossou Yovo and Marco Coudreau. As well as duo coming from Cholet Basket – Karlton Dimanche & Florian Leopold additionaly supported by Babacar Niasse who made his Pro A debut with Elan Chalon on January.
Two frontliners will be Deni Avdija and Tomer Levinson. Son of former pro Zufer Avdija was one of the standouts at FIBA U16 European Championship. He is currently listed 6’8 which combined with his relentless attacking style, strength, poise and fantastic shooting skills make him one of the best from his generation. Levinson already plays really good minutes in Croatian top tier with Osijek and his IQ, skillset and mature physical profile helps a lot to excel among peers. Other interesting player is definitely Raziel Hayun who is good scorer with great athletic potential. Also Combo forward Yotam Hanochi who stands at 6’9 and can handle the ball, pass or shoot may have impressive moments. Finally Eidan Alber was the best player in U18 Israel league this season but his body has some limitations.