Two 14-year-olds and one seven-footer
The Adidas Next Generation Tournament 2020 is getting closer and closer. From January 17th to the 19th the U18 teams from Athens, Berlin, Ludwigsburg, Madrid, Moscow, Rome and Ulm as well as the FC Bayern Basketball team will compete in the Audi Dome. Here we briefly introduce the seven guest teams:
Since the 2002/03 season, the Russian team has been represented at ANGT almost every year. In the last few years they played the qualifying tournament in Kaunas, this year ZSKA will be playing against Munich for the first time. The line-up consists exclusively of national players, three of whom already gained experience on the ANGT court in 2019. Right in the first game (Friday, 11:00 CET) the team around top scorer Aleksandr Maltesew (18.9 oog) will meet the Munich hosts.
Player to watch: Aleksandr Maltesew (League: 18.9 ppg; ANGT 2019: 7 ppg) Anton Kardanakhishvili (League: 11.4 ppg)
Stellazzurra Rome also shares a long history with the ANGT. For the twelfth time in a row, the Italians are coming to Munich for the tournament in 2020. Two years ago, Rome made it to Belgrade for the Final Four. There they met the FCBB, won the game 67-63 and achieved their greatest success so far with a second-place finish. This year, Stellazzurra is competing with a small "world selection": Coach Germano D'Arcangeli's players come from eleven nations. Yannick Manzila Nzosa (2.13 m - 7ft) is the tallest player of the tournament.
Player to watch: Matteo Visinti (Series B: 14.5 ppg; ANGT 2019: 9.8 ppg)
There will be a reunion with Anton Gavel, the Bayern captain in in 2018, as the long-time Bayern professional will return as coach of the Ulm junior team (also ProB). Since 2018, the players from the Donaustaedter have been an integral part of the tournament line-up in Munich.
Player to watch: Aleksa Bulajic (ANGT 2019: 15.3 ppg), Igor Milicic (NBBL: 21.3 ppg)
In recent years, hardly anyone has been able to stop them: Since 2018, the ANGT champion of 2015 and 2019 has lost only three games, one of them surprisingly against Ulm. Real has U18 talents from eight nations in its line-up. Ab Sediq Garuba, the younger brother of last year's ANGT MVP in Munich, Usman Garuba has already made the leap into the Real professional team and shone at the Royal's EuroLeague game at the Audi Dome. We are curious to see who will follow in his footsteps and point guard Matteo Spagnolo is a very hot candidate.
Player to watch: Matteo Spagnolo (EBA: 15.5 ppg), Tristan Tsalikis-Vouktsevits (EBA: 13.3 ppg)
The youngsters from the capital will be one of four German teams. This season the team around the national coach Elias Rödl have not yet lost a game in the NBBL-North. The Berliners have no lack of experience, with seven players already playing in 2019. Berlin lost to the FCBB 2019 in the game for fifth place (94-62). On Friday afternoon (13:00 CET) Alba will start the tournament in the German duel with Ludwigsburg.
Player to watch: Elias Rödl (ANGT 2019: 13 ppg), Nolan Adekunle (ANGT 2019: 12.3 ppg)
In the NBBL South, the youngsters from Ludwigsburg have so far remained undefeated. In the 2.12 m center (6'11) Ariel Hukporti (NBBL: 21.3 ppg, 11 rpg) the Swabians bring one of the greatest German talents with them. The 17-year-old is also part of the BBL squad. The team is also supported by guest players Adrian Worthy (Wuerzburg), Aleksa Kovacevic (Crailsheim), Mathias Groh (Urspring) and Ralph Hounnou (MBC).
Player to watch: Ariel Hukporti (ANGT 2019: 18 ppg)
Patras is taking part in the ANGT for the second time after 2018, when Eleftherios Mantzoukas was part of the Greek squad and who is now playing for the club's professionals. Just like ZSKA, the Promitheas squad is made up exclusively of national players. Right at the start (Friday, 15:00 CET), the supposedly toughest opponent of the tournament, Real Madrid, is waiting. The 14-year-old Nikolaos Vasileiou is one of the ANGT's youngest talents, with only Moussa TeninDoumbia of Stellazzurra Rome (also 14) a few months younger.
Player to watch: Eleftherios Mantzoukas (EuroCup: 3.0 ppg)