As the ADIDAS NEXT GENERATION TOURNAMENT moves into its finals stage at the Turkish Airlines Euroleague Final Four in Berlin next week, a new group of future stars looks to build upon an annual tradition that has become the top international youth club competition in the world.
Many of Europe's greatest players have already played their roles in lifting the status of the ANGT, which culminates its 14th campaign in the German capital. A list of ANGT alumni reads like a who's who of European basketball elite: Milos Teodosic, Dario Saric, Jonas Maciulis, Luigi Datome, Alexey Shved, Bogdan Bogdanovic, Cedi Osman, Nihad Djedovic, Alessandro Gentile, Thomas Heurtel, Leon Radosevic, Mantas Kalnietis and Milan Macvan are just some of the past players who wowed fans at the ANGT over the previous 13 seasons.
A number of current NBA players also showcased their skills at the ANGT over the years, including Jonas Valanciunas, Mario Hezonja, Nikola Mirotic and Donatas Motiejunas.
Among the players who have captured both ANGT and Euroleague titles is Nikita Kurbanov of CSKA Moscow and his former teammate at both levels, Vasily Zavoruev, as well as Maciulis, who helped U18 Zalgiris Kaunas claim the first ANGT title in 2003 and captured the last Euroleague crown in 2015 with Real Madrid.
Zavoruev is one of two players who have won the ANGT MVP on two occasions, in 2004 and 2005 in the first two years of U18 CSKA Moscow’s three-peat from 2004 to 2006. The other was Dejan Musli as U18 FMP went back-to-back in 2008 and 2009.
CSKA is the only team to win three ANGTs in a row and is the record-holder with three championships, while FMP and Zalgiris (2003 and 2007) both have two crowns. FMP also owns the mark for consecutive appearances in the title game with four straight from 2007 to 2010.
Three teams – Zalgiris, CSKA and FMP – shared the first seven ANGT titles but there has been a new champion every year since 2009, in order: U18 INSEP, U18 KK Zagreb, U18 Lietuvos Rytas, U18 Joventut Badalona, U18 Crvena Zvezda Telekom Belgrade and U18 Real Madrid.
FMP's star Musli had two of the best performances ever in a final as he collected 25 points, 14 rebounds and 4 blocks for a 36 PIR against U18 AXA FC Barcelona in the 2008 title game and followed that with 31 points, 17 rebounds and 3 blocks for a 46 PIR in the 2009 final against Lietuvos Rytas.
Another of the great individual showings in a final came from Saric for in 2011 when he collected a triple-double of 19 points, 14 rebounds and 10 assists to go with 10 fouls drawn as U18 KK Zagreb beat Zalgiris in Barcelona.
The 2015 title bout between U18 Real Madrid and U18 Crvena Zvezda Telekom Belgrade was the closest final in ANGT history – and the first repeat of a finale since CSKA and Zalgiris faced off in 2005 and 2006. Luka Doncic took the MVP crown last year by guiding Real Madrid to a thrilling 73-70 victory over Zvezda by collecting 14 points, 11 rebounds and five assists.
Doncic also showed just how high the level of the competition is by graduating from the junior team and playing an important role for Madrid’s senior side this season in the Turkish Airlines Euroleague. Doncic’s opponent in last year’s final, Borisa Simanic of Crvena Zvezda, also moved from the junior team and appeared in a handful of Euroleague games this season.
And there are a number of players who are just a couple of years removed from the ANGT and are already leaving a major mark on the game including Marko Guduric, Berk Ugurlu, Livio Jean-Charles, Mam Jaiteh and Dragan Bender.
Get ready to see the future of European hoops again in Berlin from May 12 to 15!