Mega Leks Belgrade is one of the most exciting clubs for young players in Europe. And 17-year-old Nikola Miskovic is reveling in his chance to help the Serbian side make history. U18 Mega Bemax Belgrade played at the 2016 Euroleague Basketball ADIDAS NEXT GENERATION TOURNAMENT Finals for the first time this season. That came after Mega won the ANGT Qualifying Tournament - Torneo Citta di Roma in late December.
Even though Mega lost all three games at the ANGT Finals, Miskovic said the learning experience was great for the team. “It’s our first time here. We were a young team with seven players born in 1999 or 2000. I think it’s a great experience for us,” said Miskovic, who was one of those seven younger players.
Mega lost its opener to Zalgiris by 13 points and Barcelona beat the Serbs by 25 points before Mega dropped its final game against INSEP by 32 points.
“Unfortunately we didn’t finish the tournament like we expected. We didn’t expect wins, but wanted to surprise European giants like U18 Zalgiris Kaunas and U18 FC Barcelona Lassa,” he said. “We tried to motivate ourselves to play well against U18 INSEP Paris, but the will to win was higher for them. They were more confident and won. This is not the real result for us.”
The ANGT Finals came just two weeks after Miskovic helped Mega capture a historic title by winning the Serbian cadet U17 championship. His team defeated city rivals Crvena Zvezda Telekom Belgrade in the final. “We did a great job. Zvezda had won four straight U17 titles and to take home the first championship for Mega is a great feeling,” said Miskovic, who scored 17 points and picked up 5 steals in the 77-59 victory over Zvezda.
Mega had lost to Zvezda twice earlier in the season, but then came into final after beating Partizan NIS Belgrade by 30 points in the semifinals. “We were very confident after beating Partizan and we came in like we’re going to learn from those two losses and show it. We played team basketball and they didn’t have the solution for us in the low post.”
If there was a downside to the busy schedule for Miskovic and company, it was that their championship celebrations had to be put on hold. “We didn’t have any time to celebrate the cadet championship because we came here [to the ANGT Finals] right away and had major roles. We also have the U19 competition,” he said.
It’s an exciting time to be part of the Mega club, which in recent years has produced a handful of players now competing at the highest levels, including Vasilije Micic and Nemanja Dangubic, who played in the Euroleague this season with Crvena Zvezda. Three Mega players from this season, Timothe Luwawu, Ivica Zubac and Rade Zagorac, are garnering hype as future stars, too.
“It’s a great opportunity to be with Mega,” Miskovic said. “Mega is getting better and better each season, and they are setting higher goals. This year we won the ANGT Rome and were in the finals for the first time. Next year we will be much, much better, and I expect to be in the final.”
Another confirmation of his talent level was Miskovic playing at the 2015 Jordan Brand Classic International Game. “It was a great opportunity to be 16 years old and play in the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. What’s better than that. Some much better players never played in an NBA gym, and you get the opportunity to do that at 16 years old.”
It’s an exciting time for Miskovic, just like for the rest of the Mega club.