Istanbul, Turkey – The best U18 club tournament in Europe – the Euroleague’s Adidas Next Generation Tournament (ANGT) started today at the Anadolu Efes Sports Club Facilities after the event was previously postponed due to the COVID-19 crisis. The tournament is played for three days with eight teams divided into two groups to compete for a place in the ANGT 2021 Final Four in Cologne.
In the opener of the competition the hosts, Anadolu Efes started with an important win against Zaragoza – 83-68. The Turkish team used a late 15-2 fourth quarter run to pull away from its Spanish opponent. Zaragoza made only 4 of its 21 shots from long range, while committing 29 turnovers. Both Yigit Tekin (2004, G, 6-1) and Muhammet Ali Gunes (2003, F, 6-7) led the winners with 14 points, while their teammate – 6-foot-3 quick guard Ozan Yilmaz finished with six points, eight boards and six steals. For the Spanish team Aday Mara (2005), a 7-foot-2 skinny big guy had his breakout performance, leading his team in points and rebounds, with a strong 18 points and 14 rebounds, shooting 9-of-11 from the field. Most of those shots were dunks, performed with ease.
In the second game of the program Stella Azzurra Rome started the event with an expected win over the Czech team – Basket Brno – 82-65. The Italian team controlled the game by putting immense focus and effort on the defensive end (17 steals against only 5 for the Czechs) and made the difference by winning the third quarter 22-11 to secure the win. Both Nicola Giordano (2003, G, 6-2) and Benjamin Marchiaro (2004, G, 6’4.5”) led Stella Azzurra in scoring with 18 points, while their teammate Matteo Visintin flirted with the triple-double, finishing with 11 points, nine rebounds and eight steals, but scored only four of his 12 shots from the field. Jakub Necas, a 6’7.5” lefty forward, had a strong showing for Basket Brno, leading the team in scoring with 13 points, and adding nine boards and five assists.
The favorites of the tournament Real Madrid had a dominant performance against Tofas Bursa – 89-60. All twelve players of Real received playing time and scored at least a point, while the Slovenian sniper – Urban Klavzar (2004) led the team in scoring with 14 points, starting off the bench. Juan Nunez (2003, PG, 6’3.5”) helped for the win with his 13 points, six dimes and five boards, showing his great passing skills and creativity off the dribble. The best Bulgarian prospect – Konstantin Kostadinov (2003), a 6-foot-9 versatile forward had a very efficient game, recording 13 points (6-of-10 from the field), three boards, two steals and an assist in less than 20 minutes on the floor, but his poster dunk against Ege Demir (2004, PF/C, 6’9.5″) was the best action of the game and probably the best dunk of the first day. Demir led Tofas, recording a solid double-double – 19 points and 10 boards, adding four assists. He did all the damage close to the basket, relying on his strong build and immense physique.
In the next game Zalgiris Kaunas prevailed over Fenerbahce – 84-69. Dominykas Butka (2003), a 6-foot-6 forward, led the winners in scoring with 15 points, while two of his teammates – Motiejas Krivas (2004, PF, 6-8) and Ugnius Jarusevicius (2003, PF, 6-9) recorded double-double performances, having 11 points and 13 rebounds and 12 points and 10 boards, respectively. Yusuf Bayrak (2003), a 6-foot-7 versatile small forward scored 15 points in a losing effort, while his teammate Sayhan Yetkin added 13 points, three assists and three steals, shooting 5-of-8 from the field.
Anadolu Efes improved to 2-0 after winning a close game against Basket Brno – 83-80. Both teams swapped quarters and momentums, but at the end the hosts of the event came out victorious. Yigit Tekin had another strong showing, recording 18 points, four boards, three steals and a dime. Tekin is a crafty and sneaky playmaker, who changes speeds and directions very well and does not shy away from contact going down the lane. Koralp Turk (2003), a 6-foot-9 frontcourt player with solid frame and size, led Fenerbahce with his 22 points, shooting 8-of-13 on 2s and 2-of-6 from outside, showing nice versatility. Yunus Emre Hamatoglu (2003, F, 6-8) had a solid double-double performance, finishing with 16 points and 13 rebounds. Both Ondrej Hustak (2003, C, 6’11.5) and Petr Krivanek (2003, G, 6’5.5”) scored 15 points in a losing effort.
In the final game of the day Stella Azzurra went to 2-0 after a blowout victory against Zaragoza – 90-62. Nicola Giordano had another solid performance, showing his nice mid-range game off the dribble and off pick and roll actions. Giordano led his team with 17 points, shooting 5-of-7 from the field and 7-of-8 from the charity stripe. Nicolo Virginio (2003), a 6-foot-9 skinny forward scored 14 points for the win, adding four boards and three steals. Lucas Langarita (2005), a bouncy and energetic 6’3.5” guard led Zaragoza in scoring with 15 points, converting on three of his four shots from long distance. Aday Mara was well guarded from the Italians and didn’t manage to have any impact on the game. Mara finished with only one point and four boards, but his promising future is way beyond numbers in a one-game stat sheet. Undoubtedly his development will be closely monitored by NBA scouts in the next seasons.
In the second day of the event in Group A Stella Azzurra will go against the hosts from Anadolu Efes to decide who will finish first in their group and play at the final, while in Group B all four teams still have a chance to eventually finish in first place.