Valencia, Spain – The Euroleague’s Adidas Next Generation Tournament started today at Alqueria del Basket in Valencia. The ANGT, one of the most important U18 tournaments in every basketball scout’s agenda returns after the 2020 Final Four in Cologne was cancelled due to the pandemic. For three days, eight teams are divided into two groups to play for a spot in the 2021 Final Four in Cologne. For most of the teams these are first games for the season as their domestic championships remain cancelled due to the COVID-19 situation.
In the opening game of the tournament Barcelona outsmarted Ratiopharm Ulm to win a low-scoring 59-50 game. Despite leading most of the game Ulm went scoreless in the last nine minutes against the 2-3 zone defense of Barcelona and eventually lost the game. The 6-7 Mexican guard Gael Bonilla (2003) led Barca in scoring with 14 points and added seven rebounds, five assists and five blocks. An all-around type of player, he demonstrated his intriguing two-way potential thanks to his length and offensive skills. For Ulm, Baylor commit Jeremy Sochan (2003) had a monstrous double-double – 16 points and 16 boards showcasing again his high-level athleticism.
In the next game the Spanish squad Gran Canaria dominated against Nanterre 92 to get an easy win – 72-52. Kany Tchanda (2005), a 6-foot-9 athletic big and Congo native put up 17 points and five rebounds for the win, while his teammate and one of the top 2003-born international prospects Jean Montero (2003), a Dominican point guard who already made his debut for the men’s national team this year, had a nice all-around game with nine points, seven boards, seven assists and five steals in close to 32 minutes of playing time.
The Spanish team Joventut Badalona started the tournament with an important win over LDCL Asvel Villeurbanne – 67-57. Both teams were ice cold from outside, shooting a combined 6-of-46 on threes. Joventut was a bit more disciplined and patient in organizing its offense, while the French Asvel most of the time leaned on the better athleticism of its players, running and attacking the rim simultaneously, without having a true floor general. Miguel Allen (2003), a 6-8 lean forward posted a solid double-double – 19 points and 15 rebounds (six offensive) in 30 minutes of playing action. His 5-11 teammate Conrad Martinez added 17 points off the bench (twelve fouls drawn, 8-of-13 from the charity line) showing his craftiness and court intelligence. For Asvel its best prospect the 6-5 athletic French guard Kymany Houinsou (2004), who practices with the men’s team already, scored 17 points and grabbed eight boards, but shot 0-of-4 from deep, while his teammate Killian Malwaya (2005), an athletic and bouncy 6-3 guard who has great feel for cutting and rebounding added 14 points and seven boards (six offensive).
In the first all-Spanish game for the day Unicaja Malaga got a 68-56 win over the hosts of Valencia, pulling away in the second half which Unicaja won by 15 points. The 6-7 Senegalese forward Pierre Sene (2003) led his team in scoring with 14 points and also added an impressive 13 boards, bringing a lot of energy and aggressiveness to his team, cutting and driving. Sene should work on his shot selection and his form but doesn’t lack confidence and willingness to accomplish that. Jose Tanchyn, a 6-8 Spanish forward with good 3-and-D potential recorded 11 points and nine boards for the win, while Freds Bagatskis (2003), a 6-7 Latvian point forward with great basketball genes and high IQ led Valencia in scoring with 19 points (5-of-9 on threes).
In a much awaited game between two of the most talented teams at the event Barcelona ran past Gran Canaria 85-47. All of the players of Barcelona contributed, scoring at least a basket while Rafa Villar (2004), a 6-3 point guard (seven points, nine rebounds and five steals) and the Mexican guard Bonilla (nine points, three boards and four steals) stood out most. Barcelona completely neutralized the star of Gran Canaria Jean Montero, forcing him to commit five turnovers, as he finished with only seven points and three assists, taking only five shots from the field in close to 25 minutes of playing action.
In the last game of the program the German team Ratiopharm Ulm got its first win at the event, topping Nanterre 92 67-52. Jeremy Sochan led the winners in scoring with his 16 points and eight rebounds, while his 6-6 Danish teammate Tobias Jensen had a nice showing off the bench, putting 13 points and four assists. In the absence of the most promising French talent Victor Wembanyama at the event due to an injury, the go-to-guy for Nanterre 92 was Maxime Raynaud (2003), a 7-0 mobile big who scored 17 points and grabbed 12 boards, showing some nice dunks and dominating within the paint. Despite going 0-of-7 for the first two games from downtown, Raynaud has the confidence and upside to be an effective stretch big.
Today all eyes will be on the games in Group B where all four teams have their chance to eventually finish in first place in the Group, while in Group A Barcelona has already secured its place to the Final game after its dominant performance against Gran Canaria.