A largely new crop of young players comes each season to the Euroleague Basketball Adidas Next Generation Tournament. Going into the second qualifier, in Munich starting on Friday, January 25, here are some players to watch.
Partizan NIS Belgrade – Dusan Tanaskovic
Tanaskovic will be playing his third ANGT after having participated in the Belgrade qualifier the last two seasons. In 2016-17, the 2.08-meter big man averaged 3.0 points, and last season he followed that up with 6.5 points, 3.5 rebounds and 1.0 assists per game. He also has played two tournaments with the Serbian youth national teams, helping the country to third place at the FIBA U16 European Championship 2017, averaging 4.3 points and 4.4 rebounds. Last summer, the right-handed center averaged 9.4 points, 5.3 rebounds and 1.3 blocks for a Serbia team that finished 10th at the FIBA U17 Basketball World Cup 2018. Tanaskovic is an excellent low-post player with fantastic passing abilities. He can control the paint both offensively and defensively and is a solid mid-range shooter. One of the main areas he needs to work on is his strength and conditioning.
FC Bayern Munich – Jason George
George will be playing in his second ANGT after averaging 8.0 points, 3.5 rebounds and 1.5 assists for ratiopharm Ulm at the ANGT Munich last season. The 2.01-meter forward moved from Ulm to Bayern before this season. Last summer he played for Germany at the FIBA U18 European Championship 2018 and averaged 7.3 points, 4.3 rebounds and 0.9 assists for a team that finished sixth. The previous summer, George averaged 4.8 points, 3.5 rebounds and 1.0 steals at the FIBA U16 European Championship 2017. He has great athleticism and is a strong offensive rebounder. George excels in the open court and fastbreaks, and he can defend all four guard and forward positions. He still needs to work on his shot.
ratiopharm Ulm – Zach Ensminger
Ensminger will be appearing at his second ANGT after averaging 8.5 points, 4.0 rebounds and 1.3 assists for Ulm at the ANGT Munich last season. The 1.95 meter-point guard is the son of Chris Ensminger, an American who split five seasons in the EuroLeague and EuroCup between 2004 and 2010, and is now Ulm's Orange Academy director of player development. The younger Ensminger is a good floor leader and tough competitor. He has great court vision and is good at running the pick-and-roll and getting the ball to teammates at the right moment. He has an excellent mid-range game off the dribble and is a solid rebounder at both ends. He still must become more consistent on his three-point shot as well as at moving and playing off the ball on offense.
Panathinaikos OPAP Athens – Aristotelis Sotiriou
Sotiriou will be playing his second ANGT event after averaging 7.8 points, 5.0 rebounds, 1.0 assists and 1.0 steals at the 2017-18 ANGT L'Hospitalet qualifier for Promitheas Patras. The 2.03-meter forward also has experience with Greek national teams, winning the FIBA U16 European Championship 2017 Division B title as he averaged 11.3 points, 4.5 rebounds, 1.3 assists and 1.0 steals. Sotiriou is very effective penetrating to the basket and runs the floor well in offensive transition with the ability to finish on the break. He is athletic and aggressive on offense and also has a knack for the offensive rebound. He must work on his consistency from the outside and improve his defense, especially near the rim.
ALBA Berlin – Malte Delow
Delow will be playing in his second ANGT event after he averaged 2.8 points, 2.5 rebounds, 2.0 assists and 1.0 steals for ALBA at the ANGT Munich qualifier last season. The 1.97-meter shooting guard has not yet played for Germany internationally. The 2001-born guard is averaging more than 22 minutes in the German ProB third division, putting up 6.2 points, 2.8 rebounds, 1.5 assists and 1.1 steals per game. Delow is a good shooter and one-on-one player who is not selfish and passes the ball very well. He's a good defender who usually guards the opponent's best player. Delow still needs to improve on reading the pick-and-roll as well as taking on more responsibility.
Maccabi Teddy Tel Aviv – Deni Avdija
Avdija will be playing in his first ANGT as Maccabi returns to the competition. He starred at the FIBA U16 European Championship 2017, averaging 15.3 points, 12.6 rebounds, 5.3 assists, 2.0 steals and 1.0 blocks. Last summer, he helped Israel to win its first-ever international title by claiming the FIBA U20 European Championship 2018. Avdija, who is the son of former Yugoslav national team player Zofer Avdija, averaged 12.7 points, 6.4 rebounds, 1.1 assists and 1.3 steals in being named to the all-tournament team despite being just 17 years old. The 2.04-meter guard has already appeared in three Turkish Airlines EuroLeague games for Maccabi , playing a total of 4 minutes, 35 seconds and picking up his first basket. Avdija is great at driving to the basket, owns a good three-point shot, and passes extremely well. A smart player, he must still improve his defense on guards and his mid-range shot.
Fraport Skyliners Frankfurt – Len Schoormann
Schoormann will be making his ANGT debut though the 2002-born, 1.90-meter combo guard played for Germany at the FIBA U16 European Championship 2017 and averaged 6.9 points and 2.0 rebounds. He was named as the MVP of the German U16 league NBBL in 2017-18. This season, Schoormann has already become a go-to guy at 16 years old playing in the German ProB third division, where he put sup 5.2 points, 1.5 rebounds and 1.4 assists per game. He is very athletic and explosive, which makes him a high-flyer. Schoormann is an excellent defender with a good motor. He still must work on his shooting consistency and become a bit more controlled with the ball.
Real Madrid – Mario Nakic
Nakic will be playing his second ANGT after he helped Madrid win the ANGT Munich last season as that qualifier's MVP, averaging 15.3 points, 5.8 rebounds, 3.3 assists and 1.0 steals. At the ANGT Finals in Belgrade, the 2.00-meter forward collected 17.3 points, 4.0 rebounds, 1.3 assists and 2.7 steals. Nakic, the son of three-time EuroLeague champion Ivo Nakic, has yet to play internationally. He is an offensive talent who can play both guard spots plus the small forward position. He can dominate with his physical strength and technical skills, including shooting. He also plays in the low post and rebounds at both ends of the court. Nakic still must be a bit more consistent defensively and improve his team-leading skills on the court.