The field for the 2018-19 Euroleague Basketball Adidas Next Generation Tournament Finals is now set after three teams were awarded wildcard entries to join reigning champion U18 Rytas Vilnius and the four teams that punched their tickets by winning the qualifiers across Europe.
U18 FC Bayern Munich, U18 Maccabi Teddy Tel Aviv and U18 Crvena Zvezda mts Belgrade were invited to compete alongside already-qualified U18 Valencia Basket, U18 Real Madrid, U18 Zalgiris Kaunas and U18 Mega Bemax Belgrade for the 17th edition of the event. The games will take place from May 16 through 19 in parallel with the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague Final Four in Vitoria-Gasteiz, Spain.
The field features three other past champions in addition to last year's winner. Zalgiris lifted the trophy in both 2003 and 2007, Zvezda was the 2014 champion and Madrid took the title in 2015. Adding in Rytas's first triumph in 2012, the teams coming to this year's finals have claimed six of the 16 titles to date.
The finals will see the eight teams divided into two groups of four, which will play a round-robin format during the first three days of the event at Polideportivo Mendizorrotza. Sunday's championship game will take place at Fernando Buesa Arena and will serve as the prelude to the game later that day on the same floor that will crown this season's EuroLeague champion.
Group A of the Finals is comprised of ANGT Belgrade winner Mega, ANGT Kaunas victor Zalgiris, ANGT Munich runner-up Maccabi and ANGT Munich 5th place team Bayern. Group B features ANGT Valencia winner Valencia, ANGT Munich winner Madrid, ANGT Belgrade runner-up Zvezda and ANGT Kaunas runner-up Rytas.
Many of the greats of the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague and 7DAYS EuroCup took part in Euroleague Basketball's showcase U18 event over the years. Among them are stars such as Luigi Datome (Fenerbahce Beko Istanbul), Thomas Heurtel (FC Barcelona Lassa), Mantas Kalnietis (LDLC ASVEL Villeurbanne), Nikita Kurbanov (CSKA Moscow), Nikola Milutinov (Olympiacos Piraeus) and Goga Bitadze (Buducnost VOLI Podgorica).
Entrance to all games of the Euroleague Basketball Adidas Next Generation Tournament Finals is free of charge, allowing both local and visiting fans to see many elite young talents in European basketball compete against each other, who will be the future stars of the EuroLeague and EuroCup.