The 2016-17 edition of the EUROLEAGUE BASKETBALL ADIDAS NEXT GENERATION TOURNAMENT tips off in the suburbs of Barcelona with the ANGT Qualifying Tournament - Torneig de Bàsquet Junior Ciutat de L’Hospitalet from January 6 through 8, 2017. The 15th season of Europe’s elite club youth competition begins fittingly with reigning European champion U18 FC Barcelona Lassa playing the opening game against U18 Union Olimpija Ljubljana. Joining those two teams in Group A are U18 ALBA Berlin and U18 Herbalife Gran Canaria Las Palmas. The four teams in Group B are host U18 Torrons Vicens L’Hospitalet, U18 Cedevita Zagreb, U18 Divina Seguros Joventut Badalona and U18 Panathinaikos Superfoods Athens.
The top teams from each group will cross groups for the semifinals in the morning on January 8 with the two winners squaring off in the final. The tournament winner will book itself a ticket to the ANGT Finals at the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague Final Four in Istanbul from May 18 through 21, 2017.
Barcelona has reached the ANGT L’Hospitalet final in five of the last six years, but won it just once, in 2010-11. The Catalan club lost to U18 Lietuvos Rytas Vilnius in the 2011-12 final, to Joventut in 2012-13 and U18 Real Madrid in 2014-15 and 2015-16. Slovenian club Olimpija, which played in the inaugural ANGT Finals in 2002-03, has appeared at the L’Hospitalet qualifier each season since 2012-13. Olimpija took eighth place last season after reaching the semifinals in 2013-14 and 2014-15. U18 ALBA Berlin comes to L’Hospitalet after playing at the Belgrade qualifying tournament the past two seasons, taking third place in 2014-15 and fifth in 2015-16. Gran Canaria is taking part in the ANGT for the first time since the 2011-12 season, when it finished fifth in Rome. The Spanish club last played L’Hospitalet in 2009-10.
In Group B, Cedevita is back in L’Hospitalet for the first time since the 2011-12 season after playing in Belgrade in three of the past four seasons. The Zagreb club took third place in the qualifying tournament in 2013-14 and fourth place in Belgrade last season. Joventut is the only other former European champion in the L’Hospitalet field. The Badalona club won both the L’Hospitalet tournament and the continental crowns in 2012-13. Since then Joventut has finished fourth, fifth and sixth in L’Hospitalet over the past three seasons. Panathinaikos may be a six-time EuroLeague champion, but the Greek giant will be making its ANGT debut. Host U18 Torrons Vicens L’Hospitalet followed up its first ever ANGT victory in 2014-15 by grabbing two wins in 2015-16, including beating Joventut for fifth place.