Long awaited another season of Adidas Next Generation Tournaments is about to tip off. For the first time we will witness qualifier in world class newly built facility in Valencia. It will feature 4 domestic teams including two catalan powerhouses: Badalona & Barca as well as teams from Italy, Czech Republic, France and Germany. Below our usual rundown on the most important figures in the rosters:
BADALONA – Joventut is the defending champion from this tournament since they won last year in L’Hospitalet, so it’s clear that they will come with a lot of hunger.
This tournament is going to be a great opportunity to guys that last year had a secondary role to stand out and show if they’re capable to lead the team. Especially for Aleix Haro who should display his scoring abilities and consistency on the offensive side. Coupled with Vinicius Da Silva, big center who has been improving in big steps since his last year appearance in L’Hospitalet by being more dominant around the rim. His shooting and footwork is getting better day by day. Finally Latvian addition in Robert Berzins will help to create the 2001 trio which could achieve promotion Vitoria’s Finals.
Besides them, Joventut is fully loaded of 2002 talent with guys like Adrià Domènech, who had some minutes in ANGT Finals last year. Also Helmanis or Maronka should have their moments to show themselves.
BARCELONA – Barça is maybe not unbeatable team but with a really interesting roster they will arrive at Valencia, they will be willing and ready to take home the crown after their last year’s loss in the Finals against Joventut.
Really talented centers such as both adds Matthew Marsh and Haris Bratanovic will be a huge threat for other teams and dominant inside force. Moreover, Borja Fernández will have a big role. He is a pure hustler who can shoot from three and is really improving his drives. In addition, 2002 Filip Siewruk will have his chance to show his shooting and some of his polished movements in such an important and high-level tournament like ANGT.
Nonetheless Barça’s strengths do not stop here, Tom Digbeu will need to prove himself after some up&down seasons which is likely to happen as he has been more consistent and with a more focus mindset last weeks. Fast and powerful slasher who has tools to score in many different ways and consistently improves his shooting. Also, they re-added the electric point-guard Adrián Rodriguez who already played in L’Hospitalet ANGT last year with the hosting team, being one of the sensations from the tournament and the leader of his team despite being one year younger. Furthermore, must not forget Pau Tendero, the highest Spanish ranked guy in our 2002 ranking (after Usman) who despite having some health issues in this early season is ready for the tournament and for sure will have a huge impact.
ASVEL – Asvel is most likely missing no more and no less than Theo Maledon who could possibly have Lebron James type of impact on such tournament and single handedly convert bottom team into serious contender. It is hard to imagine team letting him go as it’s no longer challenging and beneficial for him. Besides they simply need him to win games as he was just basically main factor behind overtime win away in Sankt Petersburg. Most intriguing players during his absence should be 2002 born small guard who can score in bunches Matthew Strazel. NBA scouts will also have to write down the name of perhaps the youngest participant of Valencia AdidasNGT – Kymany Houinsou. 14 years old player possess amazing tools, plays with Asvel U18 regularly and may turn out to be Top 10 caliber from his generation in Europe.
ESTUDIANTES MADRID – Estudiantes has year by year become one of the best basketball producer in Spain. Based on defense, Emil Stoilov and Gilad Levy are great values in the painted area. This second one, with 7’5’’ wingspan may be the most intimidating player of the tournament. Also 02’ Hector Alderete is one of the most gifted players in this team. He perhaps has lack of speed but is able to finish strong with some nice movements for a tall guy and definitely his offensive polish will be nice to see for talent evaluators. Little known outside of the country but talented Spanish point-guard Angel Comendador, could also explode in this ANGT, with great passes and high IQ but unfortunately recently broke a leg.
LUDWIGSBURG – Invitation of fifth German team to the competition seems mostly a nod to Ariel Hukporti. 2002 big is one of the most tantalizing prospect his age out here and probably the most gifted of them all but at times he still plays like he is not aware of that. Other interesting talents are Cyprus born dual citizenship Aeneas Jung (‘02) who was one of the better frontcourt prospects at past low level FIBA U16 European Championship of Division B. Also Dejan Bruce seems to have some considerable potential. He is mixed race lanky and long forward who can shot mid range. Other than this roster is likely to include two Ludwigsburg BBL head coach sons: Johannes (2001) and Jacob (2003) Patrick. Both play guard spots but younger seems to have more upside. Last but not the least important: loanee Radii Casin is physical swingman who plays as hard as anyone and will surely be huge help.
USK PRAGUE – Czech team just came back from another prestigious junior tournament in Spain in Tenerife. Top scorer of the event became David Bohm who will clearly be go to option also in Valencia. 6’8 forward is a versatile offensive threat who simply knows how to play and it shows in game situations. Second most interesting prospect seems to be big man Kristian Kocab. 2002 born, 6’11 lanky center plays with good effort and possess very promising mobility.
VIRTUS BOLOGNA – Second year in a row for Virtus in ANGT. Physically imposing Senegalese center Gora Camara was discovery of last year tournament in L’Hospitalet where he grabbed 38 rebounds in just 62 minutes. He appeared on the court three times this season in limited role in Basketball Champions League for Bologna based team which is revelation of the competition. Not many scouts outside of Italy had a chance to watch Gora again past 12 months and it will be good opportunity to evaluate if he can become more than just rebounding machine. Two solid 2001 guards Lorenzo Deri and Matteo Niccoli should lead the backcourt. Virtus has also quite a few FIBA U16 participants: Estonian center Mait Peterson and Italians: Tommaso Tintori and Gabriele Procida. Last mentioned player who on a daily basis plays for Cantu, looked in Novi Sad as potential Top 30 caliber of his generation given positional size, technical and shooting skills combined with solid athleticism.
VALENCIA – Team is not really a prospects hotbed but sports one of the best facilities in Europe now which is the reason why Valencia may join the Adidas Next Generation for years to come and is rumoured to maybe even host NBA Eurocamp in June. Unlikely to cause upsets but underaged guard Guillem Ferrando who was part of Spain U16 in Novi Sad where we won silver medal is someone to keep an eye on. As well as undersized center with good body from Nigeria: Jordan Agabi, one of the best scorers of Spanish U16 & U18 national championship Millan Jimenez and 6’10 PF late bloomer: Alonso Faure.