The final qualifying event in the 2015-16 Euroleague Basketball ADIDAS NEXT GENERATION TOURNAMENT series comes to basketball-crazy capital of Serbia this weekend for the EB ANGT Qualifying Tournament – Belgrade. The three-day event tips off Friday and features dozens of basketball prodigies eager to showcase their skills on the continental stage. Learn more about who are some of the players to watch from the eight teams set to clash for a ticket to the ANGT Finals.
U18 ALBA Berlin: Ferdinand Zylka
Zylka will be competing in his second ANGT after playing a major role for ALBA last season in Belgrade with 17.4 points, 4.8 rebounds, 1.6 assists and 1.6 steals a game, including a 32-point outburst against U18 Vaerlose BBK. The 1.90-meter shooting guard played for Germany at the 2014 FIBA U16 European Championship and averaged 4.6 points, 2.1 rebounds and 1.1 assists. Zylka is one of the club’s biggest young talents and has already practiced with the professional squad. The Berlin native leads the U19 NBBL team in scoring with 19.9 points, including 41% on three-pointers to go with 5.8 rebounds, 3.0 assists and 2.9 steals. He has an excellent scoring instinct and is a very good shooter, who can create his own shot. Zylka has a good pull-up jumper and can also drive to the basket and finish against bigger opponents. The area Zylka must improve the most in is defense.
U18 FC Bayern Munich: Richard Freudenberg
Freudenberg will appear in his third ANGT; he was named to the All-Tournament Team at the ANGT Rome in 2013-14 and then averaged 14.3 points, 8.0 rebounds, 2.3 steals and 2.0 blocks at the ANGT Kaunas last season. Freudenberg, who will be attending St. John’s University in New York next season, has played two summers for Germany’s youth national team ranks. He averaged 5.0 points and 2.8 rebounds at the 2015 FIBA U18 European Championship. The 2.02-meter forward has played three Beko BBL games for Bayern this season and leads its U19 NBBL team in scoring with 19.2 points a game to go with 8.0 rebounds, 2.0 assists and 2.0 steals. The Heidelberg native has great length with long arms and long legs. He is a great shooter with a positive attitude. Freudenburg can attack the rim and also defends well, using his athleticism to come up with big blocks and steals.
U18 Buducnost VOLI Podgorica: Ognjen Carapic
Carapic enters his second ANGT after averaging 7.3 points, 2.5 rebounds and 1.5 assists at the 2013-14 tournament in Belgrade despite being two years younger than the rest of the competition. The 1.95-meter point guard played last summer at the 2015 FIBA U18 European Championship, where he averaged 16.2 points, 2.2 rebounds, 2.2 assists and 1.5 steals for Montenegro. Carapic played in seven Eurocup games this season (2.6 points, 1.0 assists) and 12 Adriatic League contests (2.3 points, 0.2 assists) for Buducnost. He is intelligent, quick, sees the floor well and makes smart plays. He’s an above-average ball-handler with good size and leaping ability, who can drive to the basket and finish or shoot from long range, however his defense is at times suspect.
U18 Cedevita Zagreb: Dzanan Musa
Musa will make his ANGT debut after joining Cedevita just shortly before last season’s ANGT campaign. The 16-year-old guard led Bosnia and Herzegovina to the 2015 FIBA U16 European Championship title – the country’s first international crown – and won MVP honors with 23.3 points, 9.0 rebounds, 6.3 assists, 1.6 steals and 1.1 blocks. The 2.03-meter guard is a member of Cedevita’s senior squad and has appeared in eight Turkish Airlines Euroleague games this season in which he has averaged 2.3 points, 1.0 rebounds and 0.5 assists. Musa has also posted 4.6 points and 2.9 rebounds in 16 Adriatic League games. The Bihac native is a great one-on-one player and has excellent court vision and passing abilities. He is getting better at moving without the ball and has improved his shot. Musa still needs to improve on his patience.
U18 Crvena Zvezda Telekom Belgrade: Borisa Simanic
Simanic will be competing at his third ANGT after he averaged 10.8 points, 5.6 rebounds and 1.6 blocks in nine games in helping Zvezda to the ANGT Finals championship game last season. He posted 0.5 points, 2.5 rebounds and 0.5 blocks as Zvezda won the 2013-14 ANGT Finals crown. The 2.09-meter forward played two national team tournaments last summer, averaging 9.0 points, 4.4 rebounds and 1.5 blocks for Serbia at the 2015 FIBA U18 European Championship and 10.1 points, 3.4 rebounds and 1.6 blocks at the 2015 FIBA U19 World Championship. Simanic has also played in five Turkish Airlines Euroleague games this season, including a 10-point, 4-rebound, 2-block effort against Real Madrid, and has appeared in nine Adriatic League contests, too. Simanic is blessed with an excellent body for basketball with good agility and quickness. His shot ranges beyond the three-point line and he handles the ball well. Simanic can attack the rim or pull up for a jumper. He defends well and is a rim protector on defense, but plays more of a finesse game on offense.
U18 Partizan Belgrade: Milos Glisic
Glisic will be playing at his fourth ANGT after averaging 16.3 points, 7.0 rebounds and 1.0 steal last season. He collected 15.5 points, 8.0 rebounds, 1.3 assists and 2.3 steals at the 2013-14 ANGT Belgrade. The 2.05-meter power forward played twice for Serbia last summer, averaging 8.7 points and 4.9 rebounds at the 2015 FIBA U19 World Championship as well as 7.7 points and 4.7 rebounds at the 2015 FIBA U18 European Championship. Last season, the native of Banja Luka, Bosnia and Herzegovina, made his Eurocup debut against CSU Asesoft Ploiesti. Glisic is a very intelligent player with a good feel for rebounding. He plays with a good energy and has a positive attitude. He possesses a solid mid-range shot, which doesn’t quite reach out to the three-point line, but does make him an effective inside-outside player. He still must touch up on his defensive deficiencies.
U18 Spars Sarajevo: Amar Gegic
Gegic will be playing in his third ANGT campaign after averaging 8.3 points, 3.0 rebounds, 4.3 assists and 2.4 steals in seven games last season, including the ANGT Finals, where he averaged 5.0 points, 1.7 rebounds, 3.7 assists and 1.3 steals. The 1.97-meter shooting guard played for Bosnia and Herzegovina’s youth teams for the third straight summer last year and averaged 6.9 points, 2.7 rebounds and 2.8 assists at the 2015 FIBA U18 European Championship. Gegic, who was born in Stuttgart, Germany, also has played at high level international exhibitions, participating in the Jordan Brand Classic as well as the Basketball Without Borders in Gran Canaria and the BWB Global Camp in Toronto. Gegic is playing this season with Spars’ Division 1 team and averaging 1.4 points, 0.6 rebounds and 0.8 assists in 14 games. Gegic is very well built and a real athlete. He has a very strong feel for assists, though he has struggled with turnovers. Gegic also must work on his jump shot and his aggressiveness on defense.
U18 Zemun Belgrade: Mateja Todoric
Todoric will be making his ANGT debut this season after coming to Zemun from Flash Belgrade last September. The 1.84-meter point guard, who has not played for Serbia’s youth national team ranks, led the Serbian cadet league in scoring last season. Todoric is a very creative playmaker, who is great in one-on-one play. He has excellent ball control and is very quick. He also does a good job changing the pace and direction and organizes the game very well. Todoric still must work on becoming stronger and the club is working hard to help him with that.