By Ruben Alcaraz

Another Albert Schweitzer Tournament is on the books and the winner was the host, Germany. Eurohopes lived this biennial event that missed top prospects as Frank Ntilikina (’98) and Isaiah Hartenstein (’98) among others due injuries and other reasons. With only 12 teams instead of traditional 16 of last editions the tournament took place from March 25th to April 2nd in Mannheim, Germany. Kostja Mushidi (’98) was selected MVP of the tournament and Davide Moretti (’98), Aleksa Radanov (’98), Richard Freudenberg (’98), Borisa Simanic (’98) and Rongzhen Zhu (’98) the All-Tournament Team.

Let’s do a recap of the European and Asian teams that competed in Mannheim.

Group A

Germany finally succeeded. For the first time ever Germany won the AST with a loaded team full of interesting players and a great teamwork that ended unbeaten. MVP of the tournament and the go-to guy for Germans was Kostja Mushidi (’98). The 6’5 guard played with determination during the whole week and showed his skills and basketball IQ in the hot moments. Mushidi did it all, scored in isolations plays where he drove and finished inside with style, made threes and created for his teammates. Alongside with Mushidi some players highlighted in a high athleticism team. The St. John’s bound Richard Freudenberg (’98) is probably the German player with higher ceiling. The 6’8 small forward started the tournament in a great shape and he overcame the challenge that Serbia sent him with tough contacts and trash talk. In the final games he struggled in shooting percentage but helped his team in the rebounding area. One of the nicest surprises of the AST was the performance of Oscar Da Silva (’98). Class of 2017 6’8 forward was under the radar for general public but he will not be anymore. Da Silva is strong and athletic but he is developing skills to become a more complete player at offensive end. Slashing and finishing inside in a great way Da Silva starts to stretch the floor with a 40% in 3-point shooting. At defense, he was the wall of the German defense, protecting the rim and being the stopper. Another player that opened some eyes was Louis Olinde (’98), a 6’8 small forward that is evolving by leaps and bounds. Olinde still has plenty of room to bulk up his skinny body but he owns the ability to get buckets with tremendous ease. He always finds the way to score in traffic and take advantage playing off the ball in cuts. Germany deserves his own chapter and they got it a couple of months ago in our series of reports: The emergence of German players.

· Kostja Mushidi: 15.1 points, 4.6 rebounds, 3.4 assists, 1.6 steals, 45.5% FG in 23.1 minutes per game.
· Richard Freudenberg: 11.9 points, 8.1 rebounds, 1.0 blocks, 36.4% FG in 20.8 minutes per game.
· Oscar Da Silva: 7.0 points, 5.4 rebounds, 1.7 blocks, 69% FG in 19.3 minutes per game.
· Louis Olinde: 6.6 points, 5.0 rebounds, 1.3 assists, 58.1% FG in 18.1 minutes per game.

Serbia was the runner up after beat everybody except Germany twice. Well known top European prospect Borisa Simanic (’98) is their most interesting player and probably of the tournament too. Simanic showed flashes of his talent but was not the big reference of Serbia. Playing all the time at perimeter, Simanic shot more than 6 threes per game with below average percentage, 26%. His face up game was limited to shoot from the arc and to play isolations from time to time with great success though. The soul of Serbia was Aleksa Radanov (’98) that besides playing as a small forward played ton of minutes as a playmaker. Radanov was the perfect example of Serbian strong character never giving up and trying to win by any means. The leading scorer of the team was Milos Glisic (’98), usually coming from the bench. Glisic was the finisher in the paint, even not being a center but thanks to his strength, for the Serbian offense. 6’3 point guard Novak Music (’98) did not found the best way to lead his team and combined good minutes with bad games where he struggled. 6’6 Matija Radovic (’98) had not a great tournament in terms of percentage. Limited to be ready to take the open shot Radovic however hit big shots when his team needs it.

· Borisa Simanic: 12.7 points, 8.6 rebounds, 2.7 blocks, 41.3% FG, 26.1% 3P in 29.1 minutes per game.
· Aleksa Radanov: 11.7 points, 3.3 rebounds, 3.3 assists, 1.7 steals, 49.1% FG in 26.5 minutes per game.
· Milos Glisic: 15.1 points, 4.7 rebounds, 0.7 assists, 55.6% FG in 23.7 minutes per game.
· Novak Music: 7.1 points, 3.1 rebounds, 2.1 assists, 33.9% FG in 23.7 minutes per game.
· Matija Radovic: 6.9 points, 3.9 rebounds, 0.9 assists, 32.7% FG, 25.8% 3P in 23.8 minutes per game.

Turkey finished at 6th place with a disappointing balance of 3 wins and 4 losses. Turkish was led by Onuralp Bitim (’99) that showed his evolution after his Huntington Prep stint. Bitim is physically different from last summer with a bulked up upper body and stronger legs that makes him slower but consistent. Bitim is still excellent in transition plays but in some games struggled in perimeter shooting. Although he missed a couple of games Omer Utku Al (’98) was the floor general for the Turkish team when he was on the court. The 6’0 playmaker gets points with ease in drives despite his size and facilitate his teammates with good dishes. The back-up point guard of Turkey, Alihan Deniz Genc (’98), is a 6’3 lefty combo with solid perimeter shot and great court vision. Genc still has upside to develop his body. Ahmet Can Duran (’99) had a disappointing tournament and he is undergoing a restructuring of his game. The 6’9 power forward was a beast inside at U16 level thanks to a nice mix of body and skills but his game changed drastically. Can Duran is developing an interesting mid-range game but the results are poor so far. Due that and the strange absence of Omer Faruk Yurtseven (’98) made Gorkem Dogan (’98) the main weapon inside for Turkey. Dogan is a 6’10 center with great body frame and raw moves in the paint but pretty effective as a finisher. The player that deserves a look in the future is Mumin Tunc (’98). The seven footer stretch forward starts to show glimpses of something very interesting. After two years playing high school in United States and barely enjoying game time at European Championships Tunc showed his great shooting from perimeter and his still raw face up game. Class of 2017 Tunc is a late bloomer with plenty of room to improve his body.

· Onuralp Bitim: 16.0 points, 5.9 rebounds, 1.0 assists, 41% FG, 17.8% 3P in 26.8 minutes per game.
· Omer Utku Al: 15.6 points, 3.0 rebounds, 4.8 assists, 2.0 steals, 43.3% FG in 32.2 minutes per game.
· Alihan Deniz Genc: 11.0 points, 3.5 rebounds, 3.2 assists, 42.9% FG in 29.0 minutes per game.
· Ahmet Can Duran: 7.6 points, 5.4 rebounds, 0.7 blocks, 32% FG in 23.8 minutes per game.
· Gorkem Dogan: 10.6 points, 6.4 rebounds, 0.6 blocks, 50% FG in 19.0 minutes per game.
· Mumin Tunc: 2.5 points, 2.8 rebounds, 0.5 blocks, 35.7% FG, 37.5% 3P in 9.2 minutes per game.

Japan finished at 10th place after only one win in six games but they grew up during the week fighting their last games until the end. Without Rui Hachimura (’98), focus on his eligibility, Japan played in a classic Japanese style, living and dying by threes. And they own two great lefty snipers, Yuki Mikami (’98) and Yudai Nishida (’99). Mikami is a 6’1 shooting guard with low physical upside that plays with great motor. Nishida, otherwise, is a skinny 6’2 shooting guard with still room to develop his upper body and besides a high amount of three point shots attempted drove to the basket fearless and got points in traffic. The player with more fundamentals and better understanding of the game was the Class of 2017 6’2 back-up point guard Kai Toews (’98). Toews currently at Bridgton Academy played with a good control of the tempo and handling successfully the big physically difference between Japan and the rest of the teams. Their only presence inside player was Avi Shefer (’98), a 6’8 center with Israeli roots that competed at his best and kept a good field goal percentage during whole tournament.

· Yuki Mikami: 17.3 points, 1.5 rebounds, 0.8 assists, 38.9% FG, 41.7% 3P in 29.8 minutes per game.
· Yudai Nishida: 17.0 points, 2.2 rebounds, 2.0 assists, 35.9% FG, 32% 3P in 27.6 minutes per game.
· Kai Toews: 6.7 points, 2.7 rebounds, 2.0 assists, 28.6% FG in 16.0 minutes per game.
· Avi Shefer: 5.0 points, 4.3 rebounds, 0.5 blocks, 51.9% FG in 20.6 minutes per game.

Group B

Italy completed a great tournament with the third place and only one loss at overtime in semi-finals against Serbia. In a team with great ball movement and no ball hog players 6’2 point guard Davide Moretti (’98) shined as the go-to guy player in hot moments. Moretti is a very skilled guard that handles the pace of the game with leadership and get points easily in many different ways.  Alongside with him Lorenzo Bucarelli (’98), a 6’4 wing, was the main scoring weapons of Italian team. Bucarelli is a finisher with all-around game and good body structure for a wing. In the frontcourt Lorenzo Penna (’98) is another strong part of the Italian success. The short, 5’11, but strong point guard had a great week in shooting and set the defensive tone of his team. But the best defender, and one of the most intriguing prospects, of the team is without a doubt Alessandro Pajola (’99). Pajola is a 6’4 guard with room to develop physically and great basketball IQ. A glue guy with passing first mentality Pajola is skilled and a great facilitator in Italian offense. Isacco Lovisotto (’98) played a great tournament as a stretch forward and taking advantage of the guards’ drives. Class of 2016 6’8 Lovisotto, a lefty, is not highly skilled but he showed solidity in his three point shots. An intriguing player for the future is Andrea Giustetto (’98) a 6’11 raw center with a skinny frame but still to develop.

· Davide Moretti: 14.6 points, 3.0 rebounds, 4.0 assists, 1.7 steals, 38.1% FG in 24.6 minutes per game.
· Lorenzo Bucarelli: 10.0 points, 6.4 rebounds, 2.9 assists, 41.7% FG in 25.4 minutes per game.
· Alessandro Pajola: 3.9 points, 3.4 rebounds, 3.0 assists, 2.3 steals, 32.1% FG in 22.0 minutes per game.
· Isacco Lovisotto: 9.4 points, 5.1 rebounds, 59.5% FG, 50.0% 3P in 20.0 minutes per game.
· Andrea Giustetto: 1.4 points, 1.9 rebounds, 0.1 blocks, 26.7% FG in 11.7 minutes per game.

France went from more to less during the competition and finished 4th with 4 wins and 3 losses. Its most outstanding player was Bathiste Tchouaffe (’98) that struggled in field goal percentage, below 30%, during all AST. The 6’5 wing does not look much different from other events and France missed his production in some moments of the games. Another player that was below of his talent was Jaylen Hoard (’99). Class of 2017 6’7 swingman also struggled in shooting and even showed apathy in some parts of the games. The nicest surprise was Abdoulaye Ndoye (’98) a 6’8 point guard master of none but with great length, body balance and playmaker skills. Adam Mokoka (’98) was the most effective French player of the backcourt scoring in drives and hitting open shots from the arc. Mokoka is a strong 6’0 point guard with limited upside due his developed body and his size. France, with a lack of power over others championships, had Ivan Fevrier (’99) as the biggest reference. Fevrier is a 6’7 forward with soft touch and ability to finish in the paint. He also is in his way to develop a solid three point shot to stretch the floor.  France is specialist in release late bloomers and this could be the case of Warren Woghiren (’98). Woghiren is a 6’11 center with great body frame but poor lower body that left flashes of his high ceiling on the court of GBG Halle.

· Bathiste Tchouaffe: 11.3 points, 4.3 rebounds, 2.4 steals, 29.5% FG in 26.1 minutes per game.
· Jaylen Hoard: 7.0 points, 2.0 rebounds, 1.3 steals, 35.6% FG in 18.1 minutes per game.
· Abdoulaye Ndoye: 7.7 points, 4.7 rebounds, 4.0 assists, 1.9 steals, 38.2% FG in 26.2 minutes per game.
· Adam Mokoka: 10.3 points, 3.7 rebounds, 2.3 assists, 60% FG in 25.9 minutes per game.
· Ivan Fevrier: 9.1 points, 4.9 rebounds, 1.1 assists, 49.1% FG in 23.9 minutes per game.
· Warren Woghiren: 2.2 points, 2.8 rebounds, 0.5 blocks, 71.4% FG in 9.3 minutes per game.

China ended at 8th place with only 2 wins and 4 losses. Chinese team left a good impression with a true U17 team that is preparing the next U17 FIBA World Championship. The most impressive and long term project of the team is Rongzhen Zhu (’99), a 7’1 center with an elite low post game. Zhu owns nimble feet and a wide variety of moves at the post. Thanks to his length he is a great rim protector with good rebounding attitude and great block timing. Bai Haotian (’99) is another name to keep in mind for the future. The 6’4 combo guard showed his international experience playing with solidity all the tournament and being a consistent shooter from perimeter. His drives in transitions and isolations plays finishing in style is another strength of his game. The youngest member of Chinese team was Jie Xu (’00), a short point guard listed in 5’10 with terrific quickness and great shooting skills. Xu is not a great playmaker but owns a high scoring instinct and his shooting range is really deep. Rongqi Huang (’99) is an intriguing 6’3 shooting guard with a body to develop that could not finish the tournament due a left ankle injury. Huang is a good slasher and he is proficient in shooting too.

· Rongzhen Zhu: 14.9 points, 9.7 rebounds, 3.0 blocks, 46.5% FG in 27.5 minutes per game.
· Haotian Bai: 12.9 points, 4.3 rebounds, 3.4 assists, 41.7% 3P in 35.8 minutes per game.
· Jie Xu: 11.4 points, 2.9 rebounds, 1.9 assists, 1.3 steals, 40% 3P in 28.0 minutes per game.
· Rongqi Huang: 11.6 points, 3.6 rebounds, 2.6 assists, 41.2% FG in 28.7 minutes per game.

Greece got the 5th position after a 4 wins and 3 losses run. Dimitrios Moraitis (’99) and one of the best frontcourt of the tournament let Greeks finish the AST with their heads held high. Moraitis is a 6’4 point guard that was the team leader in scoring and run Greece firmly. Although Moraitis had not a great shooting performance he scored in a solid way through drives and transitions. Moraitis is a good facilitator but took more scoring responsibility due the needs of his team.  6’4 shooting guard Michail Lountzis (’98) was the second player in importance of Greece but he struggled in shooting, especially from perimeter. Lountzis looks with the same above average body and athleticism than past championships and still has room to bulk it up. Lountzis excelled in transition plays but showed problems to score in half court. Dimitrios Kourepis (’98) played a great tournament from the bench and was very effective. Kourepis is a 6’9 center with good body frame and solid finishing moves in the paint. Vasilis Christidis (’98) is a 6’10 power forward with good upside and rebounding skills who scored solidly but stayed unnoticed during some moments of the games.

· Dimitrios Moraitis: 11.7 points, 3.6 rebounds, 2.9 assists, 2.1 steals, 50.8% FG in 27.8 minutes per game.
· Michail Lountzis: 8.3 points, 3.7 rebounds, 2.7 assists, 1.6 steals, 29.8% FG in 25.9 minutes per game.
· Dimitrios Kourepis: 11.0 points, 4.6 rebounds, 57.7% FG, 94.4% FT in 16.3 minutes per game.
· Vasilis Christidis: 10.1 points, 6.0 rebounds, 0.7 blocks, 45.6% FG in 20.7 minutes per game.