The culmination of the Euroleague Basketball Adidas Next Generation Tournament came in Belgrade with U18 Lietuvos Rytas Vilnius defeating U18 Stellazzurra Rome 76-71 to capture the 2018 continental title. It was the second time that Lietuvos Rytas claimed the elite youth club competition following its 2012 crown. And the thrilling championship game wrapped up a season filled with highlights.
Deividas Sirvydis doubled up on MVP trophies by taking top player honors at the ANGT Finals with a masterful showing in Belgrade following his MVP performance at ANGT Kaunas. He etched his name into the annals of Lietuvos Rytas history with 18 points in the championship game while Marek Blazevic collected 20 points and 11 rebounds. Luca Conti, Dalph Adem Panopio and Paul Eboua combined for 57 points for Stellazzurra, but they were not enough.
Lietuvos Rytas joined U18 Zalgiris Kaunas, U18 FMP Belgrade and U18 CFBB Paris with two ANGT titles; they trail only U18 CSKA Moscow and its record three trophies.
Joventut gets back on top in L’Hospitalet
The 16th edition of the ANGT tipped off in the Barcelona suburb of L’Hospitalet, where U18 Seguros Divinas Joventut Badalona knocked off U18 Barcelona Lassa for its first qualifying crown since winning both the L’Hospitalet tournament and its sole ANGT continental crown in 2013. Luka Samanic was masterful for Barcelona in taking the MVP title despite losing the final and Joventut’s Joel Parra joined him on the All-Tournament Team. L’Hospitalet saw the emergence of Joventut’s Latvian point guard Arturs Zagars and the debut of the 14-year-old Eleftherios Mantzoukas for competition newcomer U18 Promitheas Patras.
Down goes Zalgiris: Lietuvos Rytas take Kaunas title
History was made in the second qualifying tournament as U18 Zalgiris Kaunas lost for the first time at Zalgirio Arena as host of ANGT Kaunas. Stellazzurra was the team to take down Zalgiris - and end its 22-game winning streak dating back to 2012 - to reach the Kaunas final, where Lietuvos Rytas prevailed to book its first ticket to the ANGT Finals since 2016.
Madrid wins the first-ever ANGT Munich
The ANGT made its first stop in Munich in February with U18 Real Madrid being a rude guest in taking its fifth straight qualifying tournament title by knocking off host U18 FC Bayern Munich in the final. Madrid, which was paced by Munich MVP Mario Nakic, now has a 23-game winning streak in qualifiers dating back to its loss in the 2013 ANGT L’Hospitalet final.
Akay collects fifth-ever triple-double
ANGT Munich also saw Mert Akay of U18 Darussafaka Istanbul collect 20 points, 11 rebounds and 11 assists against U18 Brose Bamberg for just the fifth triple-double in ANGT history - joining Dario Saric in 2011, Damien Inglis in 2013, August Haas in 2015 and Amar Gegic in 2016.
Zvezda extends streak to eight straight Belgrade crowns
U18 Crvena Zvezda mts Belgrade proved it is still the dominant force at ANGT Belgrade by winning the tournament as hosts for an eighth straight time. Zoran Paunovic was MVP as Zvezda knocked off city rival U18 Partizan Belgrade in the final to extend its Belgrade winning streak to 35 games going back to 2011.
Lietuvos Rytas too much for Stellazzurra
The ANGT Finals belonged to Lietuvos Rytas, which survived a tough battle against Real Madrid to reach the championship game. Stellazzurra received a wild card to the finals and showed it was deserving by winning three straight games, including tough games against Zvezda and Joventut. The Italian team was appearing in its second ANGT Finals, but did not win a game in its first trip in 2015. Stellazzurra’s only loss in Belgrade came at the hands of Lietuvos Rytas in the championship game.
Scorers going wild
The 2017-18 ANGT season saw a number of near records including four of the top five all-time scoring outputs. Morgan Stilma of U18 Unicaja Malaga scored 42 points against U18 Virtus Bologna - ranking him second in the history of the competition, just 1point behind Dragan Bender’s 43 points for U18 Maccabi Teddy Tel Aviv in December 2014. Mustafa Kurtuldum of U18 Anadolu Efes Istanbul hit for 41 points against U18 Spars Ziraat Bank Sarajevo and Nikos Arsenopoulos from U18 Olympiacos Piraeus nailed 41 points versus U18 Brose Bamberg to tie for the third-most all-time. Brose’s Henri Drell poured in 40 points against Bayern Munich to pull even with two others for fifth most.
Other near records
The season also saw other near record-breaking performances. U18 Virtus Bologna big man Gora Camara pulled down 23 rebounds vs U18 Torrons Vicens L’Hospitalet, just 1 rebound off the record shared by Marko Pecarski and Jonas Valanciunas. Dalph Adem Panopio of Stellazzurra and Joventut’s Didac Cuevas both dished out 13 assists at the ANGT Finals, which was 3 assists behind the record of 16 set by Marius Grigonis in 2012 and matched by Arnas Velicka in 2016. Dino Bistrovic of U18 Cibona Zagreb and Luka Samanic of Barcelona both made 16 free throws in a game, which was 1 off the all-time mark by Luigi Datome with U18 Montepaschi Siena in 2005.