Last weekend the Adidas Next Generation Tournament concluded a great 2015-2016 season in the best possible way, with a great performance of all eight teams participating and with a high-level final between FC Barcelona and Crvena Zvezda that ended with the Spanish team getting their first crown ever.

Final: FC Barcelona – Crvena Zvezda 90 – 82

All-Tournament Team: Borisa Simanic (Crvena Zvezda – MVP), Arnas Velicka (Zalgiris Kaunas), Ferdinand Zylka (Alba Berlin), Rodions Kurucs (FC Barcelona) and Atoumane Diagne (FC Barcelona).

Group A

FC Barcelona showed in four games why they are now the best U18 team in Europe after get one week ago the U18 Spanish Championship. Playing with a high-pace tempo, quick ball movement and a wide variety of zone defenses the Spanish team is well loaded of long skilled wings and big athleticism. After a weak start against INSEP in the first game FC Barcelona played in a very solid way averaging more than 85 points per game. The best player, and clearly the real MVP of the tournament, was Eric Vila (’98). The 6’8 forward ended his season showing all the progress that he has experienced during the year with a 21 points, 8 rebounds and 4 assists performance in the final. Playing with great confidence Vila scored from perimeter and corners off the catch and he even hit shots off the dribble not only from mid-range but also from deep far. His improvement during the season of his one on one game is pretty evident and he created a lot to his teammates kicking the ball at the right moment. Defensively Vila step up this season and he is able to guard perimeter players, disrupt passing lanes and be aware from help-side. He also displayed great commitment in rebounding terms. His teammate on the other wing, Aleix Font (’98), was not far ahead of Vila during the weekend. Font ended his great season with a nearly perfect tournament (he deserved to be at All-Tournament team too) where he performance at high level. Font, a 6’4 shooting guard, was impressive in offense with great shooting percentage and some accurate moves to score in isolations. His motor and his basketball IQ should be assets for him to reach the next level soon. Perhaps the most talented player on the team came from the bench due his too long meniscus injury, Rodions Kurucs (’98). The 6’8 Latvian small forward showed flashes of his NBA-talent even being not fully recovered physically. Kurucs brought energy to the second unit and he was the key player to overcome INSEP double-digit lead in the first game. Kurucs exhibited great focus, awareness and determination on the court and his killing instinct was too much for all defenders that tried to lock him down. Atoumane Diagne (’98) was the key inside for FC Barcelona and he overcame a left sore knee produced after long two weeks of games. The 7’1 Senegalese center showed glimpses of his unlimited physical potential and was a blue chip in team’s defense. With a developed ferocity in the paint, Diagne dunked the ball often that he used to do and he surprised everybody taking a couple of jumpers. Diagne is establishing himself as a reliable free throw shooter and although his evolution is slow his ceiling is very high. Sergi Martinez (’99) is the versatility in Catalan team and he is a tweener that does not care what position he plays and just produce. The 6’7 forward increased his productivity game by game and finished the tournament with 17 points and 7 rebounds in the final. Playing sometimes as undersized center Martinez finishes quick and well underneath with right hand. Honorable mention for Pol Figueras (’98), the floor general of the team that finished with 7 assists per game (leader of the tournament) and Maxim Esteban (’98) that was always aware to kill from 3-point line as he did in the final with 4 of 4 beyond the arc.

Eric Vila: 14.7 points (49% FG), 8.2 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 steals in 27.5 minutes per game.
Aleix Font: 16.2 points (58% FG), 4.2 rebounds, 2.5 assists, 2.7 steals in 27 minutes per game.
Rodions Kurucs: 15 points (54% FG), 3 rebounds, 3.5 assists in 23.2 minutes per game.
Atoumane Diagne: 9.5 points (74% FG), 6.5 rebounds, 2 blocks in 17.2 minutes per game.
Sergi Martinez: 13.7 points (50% FG), 5.2 rebounds, 2.5 assists in 29.6 minutes per game.

INSEP Paris brought the youngest team of the ANGT with really interesting prospects and completed a great tournament with two wins and only one defeat against the future champion FC Barcelona. The most outstanding player in the French team was once again Bathiste Tchouaffe (’98) the 6’5 smooth wing that had a good tournament in shooting percentage. After a poor performance at Albert Schweitzer Tournament in Mannheim a month ago Tchouaffe played very consistent as the leader of the team and led the way to the promising teammates of INSEP. Another player that changed drastically the bad taste of AST games was Jaylen Hoard (’99). Future 6’7 wing of Wesleyan Christian Academy (North Carolina, USA) is still switching in and out of games for no reason but the flashes that he shows at good moments are wonderful. Loaded with nice skillset and great size for a wing Hoard showed improvement at defensive end, using better his athleticism and wingspan to steal the ball and grab rebounds. But the player that impressed everyone on the stands was Sekou Doumbouya (’00). The 6’7 small forward from Guinea has impressive physical tools for a player and his explosiveness is off the charts. His basketball IQ is low but he showed progress although he averaged a high amount of turnovers. Doumbouya also struggled from 3-point line, shooting with too much arch, but he has a great touch in his jump-shots and finishing close to the basket. Defensively he showed capacity to guard almost every player on the court, from tiny point guards to strong forwards. Unlimited upside. One intriguing player to keep an eye of him is Olivier Sarr (’99). French 6’11 center grew up almost 3 inches this season and he is adjusting to his new position because he used to be a forward. Sarr has good shooting range and is skilled to finish close to the basket. Will grow up more? His next championship should be U17 World Championship and Zaragoza will be a great place to track his evolution.

Bathiste Tchouaffe: 18.7 points (48% FG), 4.3 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 steals in 26.5 minutes per game.
Jaylen Hoard: 15.3 points (69% FG), 4.3 rebounds, 2.7 assists, 2.7 steals, 3.3 turnovers in 27.2 minutes per game.
Sekou Doumbouya: 14 points (54% FG), 3.7 rebounds, 3 assists, 4.3 turnovers, 1.3 blocks in 24 minutes per game.
Olivier Sarr: 6.3 points (57% FG), 6.7 rebounds, 1.7 assists in 23.8 minutes per game.

Mega Bemax Belgrade was the only team that finished the weekend winless and they were on the paper candidates to fight against FC Barcelona for the top spot of the group. Missing the MVP of ANGT Rome Aleksandar Aranitovic (’98) due a knee injury Mega lacked more production of other players besides Novak Music (’98) and Marko Pecarski (’00). Music, a 6’2 guard with good scoring instincts that operates with creativity and facilitates from drives was forced to take more scoring duties than usual and his answer was pretty good. Music showed no fear to attack big players finishing with reverse lay ups successfully. He also hit some pull ups in a row from mid-range but struggled in some moments of games due the high amount of minutes that he played turning the ball over too much. Pecarski, a 6’9 PF/C with lack of strength, struggled to hold strong inside players in defense and did not feel comfortable being forced to create for himself too many times. In his third ANGT season being only an U16 player Pecarski showed great basketball IQ, good nose for rebounds and soft hands to shoot and finish close to the basket. But his lack of athleticism is evident and he must improve if he wants to be as dominant as his basketball instinct is. Mega brought a guest player, Luka Vasic (’98), a 6’7 swingman that will play next season at IMG Academy. Vasic displayed good performances after a terrible first game against Zalgiris and left good feeling on the court of Sportforum Berlin. Vasic is very skilled and shoots jumpers with ease. He has room to improve his physique and become a very complete wing. Meanwhile Vasic improved during the tournament Nikola Miskovic (’99) followed the opposite way. Miskovic played with great confidence first two games but in the blow out against INSEP he completely disappeared of the scene. The 6’7 small forward is still inconsistent from 3-point line and his body is not ready yet to fight against elite forwards. Two prospects that was disappointing at the tournament were Goga Bitadze (’99) and Uros Plavsic (’98). Georgian 6’10 center played without passion and he did not show his potential in any moment. Plavsic seemed unfocused due his lack of effectiveness in his shooting and got in foul trouble practically every game. The 6’11 power forward based his game in 3-point shots and forgot to help his team with his great physical tools.

Novak Music: 16.3 points (48% FG), 5 rebounds, 5.7 assists, 3 steals, 6.7 turnovers in 36.3 minutes per game.
Marko Pecarski: 13.3 points (53% FG), 5.3 rebounds, 1.3 assists in 29.5 minutes per game.
Luka Vasic: 8.7 points (48% FG), 4 rebounds, 2.7 turnovers in 22.6 minutes per game.
Nikola Miskovic: 8.3 points (37% FG), 4.7 rebounds, 3.7 turnovers in 32.2 minutes per game.

Zalgiris Kaunas finished with only one win in three games but displayed a solid team game without his main player Isaiah Hartenstein (’98) that has a back injury that seems will push him to miss summer competition too. Without the MVP of ANGT Kaunas Gytis Masiulis (’98) took advantage to play with more freedom in both inside positions and finished as the tournament leader in efficiency rating. The 6’9 Lithuanian power forward showed his versatility getting points from every part of the court, under the basket, perimeter shots and finishing what Arnas Velicka (’99) generated. Velicka was the best point guard of the tournament with no doubts. The 6’3 playmaker ran Zalgiris with determination and scored mainly in drives to the basket due his inconsistent perimeter shooting. The positive surprise for Lithuanian team was the performance of Lukas Uleckas (’99) a 6’5 shooting guard that showed himself as a solid shooter. And he is not only a shooter, Uleckas exhibited hard intensity in both ends finishing the tournament as steal’s leader and playing with good fundamentals in offense. Taking advantage of weak performances of Dziugas Slavinskas (’98) Uleckas alongside with Ignas Sargiunas (’99) were the perimeter threat for Zalgiris. Sargiunas showed development of his game being not only a spot up shooter. He still has to improve his body and all-around game but the progress that he exhibited in Berlin was remarkable. As a negative point everybody expected more of Volodymyr Markovetskyy (’00). The very young 6’11 Ukrainian center came with high expectations after his promising ANGT Kaunas and without Hartenstein he had a good chance to show his evolution. But Markovetskyy did not performance well, being slower than other centers and few contribution to his team. However his ceiling is very hard and he is not raw as he may seem.

Gytis Masiulis: 22 points (46% FG), 10.3 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 block in 36 minutes per game.
Arnas Velicka: 16.7 points (37% FG), 6 rebounds, 5 assists, 2 assists, 4 turnovers in 35 minutes per game.
Lukas Uleckas: 14 points (47% FG), 5.7 rebounds, 3 assists, 4 steals in 29 minutes per game.
Ignas Sargiunas: 11.7 points (52% FG), 2 rebounds, 2.3 turnovers in 25 minutes per game.

Group B

Although every year they miss a main starter Crvena Zvezda Belgrade played for third time in a row the ANGT final. Their competitive is incalculable and they clinched a spot in the final after defeat the former champion Real Madrid in the last game surpassing the first and unexpected loss against Lietuvos Rytas. The player that everybody look at is Borisa Simanic (’98). Simanic played as always, showing flashes of his NBA talent and being unnoticed during phases of the same game. The expectations around him are very high and his shyness too. Simanic was the MVP but was not as dominant as other players at Sportforum Berlin. Aleksa Radanov (’98) was once again the go-to guy, the all-around player that wants to win by any means. Radanov did not play a good tournament, struggling in turnovers, shooting percentage and foul trouble. And the worse thing was the frustration that he exhibited with bad body language, but his winning character and toughness is doubtless. The future of this team is in Aleksa Uskokovic’s (’99) hands. The 6’3 point guard played a great tournament being very effective at offensive end and being crafty stealing the ball in defense where he showed himself as a pesky defender. He is not a threat yet from perimeter but his drive and kick game is outstanding. Honorable mention to wings Matija Radovic (’98) and Aleksa Corovic (’98) that struggled in perimeter shooting but however they attacked hard the rim finishing sometimes with ferocious dunks.

Borisa Simanic: 18 points (45% FG), 7.5 rebounds, 3 assists, 2.7 blocks in 33.7 minutes per game.
Aleksa Radanov: 15 points (42% FG), 2.2 rebounds, 2.75 assists, 4.2 turnovers in 29.2 minutes per game.
Aleksa Uskokovic: 12.7 points (56% FG), 4.2 rebounds, 4.2 assists, 3.2 steals in 31.7 minutes per game.

Lietuvos Rytas seemed one of weakest team on the paper but they played great and fearless during the event and only fell short to reach the final in the last game losing against Alba Berlin. The team’s leader was once again Aistis Pilauskas (’98), a 6’2 point guard with good offensive tools. Pilauskas played a great tournament running his team with enthusiasm, talking with leadership and taking successfully big shots. He was very effective beyond the arc making 12 of 22 in only three games. The other important piece of Lithuanian team was Grantas Vasiliauskas (’99) although the 6’8 forward did not play at good level. Vasiliauskas made a great adjustment to small forward position this season but after a good ANGT Kaunas he struggled in Finals. He had problems to produce inside and had a bad shooting weekend but he displayed his playmaker skills to facilitate to teammates. One of the teammates that took advantage was Matas Jogela (’98) especially in their only win against Crvena Zvezda where he scored consistently. Jogela alternated good and bad games but showed potential as a swingman for European league. The 6’6 wing also displayed good defensive tools as lock down defender. Remarkable the high motor of Vitalijus Kozys (’99) a 6’6 small forward that operates as a glue guy. Overall, Lietuvos Rytas presented the team with less pro potential of all eight.

Aistis Pilauskas: 19 points (47% FG), 3 rebounds, 5 assists in 31 minutes per game.
Grantas Vasiliauskas: 12.7 points (38% FG), 4.3 rebounds, 4.3 assists in 25.8 minutes per game.
Matas Jogela: 9.3 points (38% FG), 2 rebounds, 1 assist in 17 minutes per game.

2015 champion Real Madrid failed to reach the final in their last game against Crvena Zvezda, precisely last year final. This team is completely different from last season, has more oriented defensive mind and less talent. And bad luck. In his very first minute German Kazansi (’99) fell injured again of his right knee that is disrupting his evolution since last season. The heart of the team was Dino Radoncic (’99) that played a good tournament and led the team with personality. One of the biggest concerns about him is his shooting effectiveness and he showed progress but still he is not a reliable shooter. The biggest prospect of Real Madrid is Felipe Dos Anjos (’98) and he showed why. The 7’2 Brazilian center plays better every tournament and his ceiling is still far to be reached. Dos Anjos has nice touch with right hand and his shooting range is improving in the second half of the season, as he exhibited taking 3-point shots with confidence, but he finishes inside only with one hand. He also attacked the basket with more eager and he needs to transfer that energy to defensive end too. The most surprising player in terms of contribution during the season, Ignacio Ballespin (’98) played again a good tournament, even his shooting performance was poor though. Ballespin showed that he can score in many ways and not only from perimeter. Some members of Real Madrid played below the expectations. Acoydan McCarthy (’99) is becoming limited at offensive end and his biggest contribution was as stopper, a role where he outstands. Samba Thiago (’98) in his fourth and last season playing ANGT did not finish with his best performance, did not get advantage with his athleticism and only contributed significantly in the game against Crvena Zvezda. Francisco Salvador (’99) also had a bad weekend in shooting terms and did not stretch the floor as he usually do. Real Madrid ends the season with the honor to be the only team that defeated this season FC Barcelona, twice.

Dino Radoncic: 22.3 points (42% FG), 5.3 rebounds, 1 assist, 1.3 steals in 30.4 minutes per game.
Felipe Dos Anjos: 10 points (44% FG), 8.3 rebounds, 0.7 blocks in 21 minutes per game.
Ignacio Ballespin: 11.3 points (40% FG), 4 rebounds in 27.8 minutes per game.

Alba Berlin played as a host but they did not feel the heat of their supporters. They got their only win in the last game against Lietuvos Rytas and never gave up in any of these games. The most outstanding player was with no doubt Ferdinand Zylka (’98) that made a shooting exhibition daily. Shooting with great confidence Zylka finished the tournament as scoring champion and impressed for his maturity on the court. He also got inside with ease thanks to his one on one skillset. Louis Olinde (’98) was unnoticed during some minutes of games but he displayed his great nose to score in cuts, 2nd chances and did all the dirty work. After his great performance at Albert Schweitzer Tournament the hopes around him were higher but he played overall a decent tournament. Definitely Olinde is a late bloomer with still plenty of upside in his body and his basketball IQ is really high. Bennet Hundt (’98) proved again that heart beats size. The 5’10 strong point guard was the second scorer of the team and led the way of the team in intensity. Phillip Herkenhoff (’99) missed the first game but he contributed a lot for Alba in the last two games. Very active on the court he did not have a good shooting selection but exhibited his unlimited potential as 6’9 small forward. Honorable mention for Jonas Mattiseck (’00), guest player with childish body but fearless attitude and good defensive commitment. A lefty shooter that put the ball in from perimeter with ease.

Ferdinand Zylka: 25 points (45% FG), 4 rebounds, 2.7 assists, 5.3 turnovers in 31.6 minutes per game.
Louis Olinde: 9 points (60% FG), 7.3 rebounds, 1.7 assists, 1.3 blocks in 27 minutes per game.
Bennet Hundt: 11 points (40% FG), 3.7 rebounds, 3.3 assists in 27.5 minutes per game.
Philipp Herkenhoff: 4.5 points (28% FG), 11 rebounds, 4 assists, 1 block in 27.7 minutes per game.