The 2017 Adidas Next Generation Tournament in Belgrade took place from February the 24th to February the 26th.
Final: Red Star Belgrade – Mega Leks Belgrade 74 - 61
3rd place game: BBA Ludwigsburg – Spars Sarajevo  82 - 59
5th place game: Stellazzurra Academy Rome – Get Better Academy Prague  78 - 69
7th place game: Maccabi Tel Aviv – Partizan Belgrade  81 - 73
All-Tournament Team: Aleksa Uskokovic (Red Star - MVP), Zoran Paunovic (Red Star), Nikola Miskovic (Mega Leks), Goga Bitadze (Mega Leks), Amit Ebo (Maccabi Tel Aviv)

Group A

Partizan featured a young roster which lacked bodies to compete against stronger teams and finished in the last place. Guard Tadija Tadic (‘99) led his team with 13.5 points and 6.3 assists, even though took lot of shots and averaged also 5.5 turnovers per game; a creative scorer who loves to play off the dribble, he has good body control and can finish in many different ways. Power forward Mateja Jovanovic (‘00) lacks explosiveness and struggled to finish against length, but plays with good motor and can shoot the ball. Forward Bogdan Rutesic (‘00) has still an undeveloped body but good frame, he’s a good shooter and shows also soft touch around the rim. Center Dusan Tanaskovic (‘01) didn’t play major minutes but showed intriguing skills: already listed a full 6’8 tall, he has good instincts, can pass the ball and his jumper looks solid.

Stellazzurra Academy from Rome was led by 6’8 Serbian point guard Lazar Nikolic (‘99). An atypical player who is at his best when able to handle the ball and create off the pick and roll, he managed most of Stellazzurra’s possessions with mixed results: he averaged 11.3 points, 6.3 rebounds and 6.5 assists, leading the tournament in this last category, but also averaged 5.3 turnovers and hit only 3 of his 25 three point shots. Cameroonian 6’8 center Jordan Bayehe (‘99) was a consistent performer and among the best defenders in attendance. Bayehe is a strong and explosive big man with extremely quick feet, able to switch on smaller players and guard the perimeter as well; he plays with high level motor and physical attitude, and in Belgrade averaged 10.3 points, 4.5 rebounds, 1.8 steals and 1 block per game. Stella brought in on loan for the tournament also big man Michele Ebeling (‘99): a highly skilled player able to play both inside and out, his body looks improved compared to few months ago and he had a key scoring role for the Italian team. There were high expectations on Cameroonian forward Paul Eboua (‘00), who didn’t get playing time until the last game though: a player with impressive length and explosiveness, Eboua easily won the Dunk Contest and showed intriguing skills in the 5th place final.

A fun team to watch was BBA Ludwigsburg from Germany, an intense and physical team with good bodies to compete. Power forward Mateo Seric (‘99) was the team’s top scorer, averaging 17.3 points and 7 rebounds per game; he still lacks strength and has a narrow frame, but is a skilled player who can shoot and score from the low post as well. Three players who Ludwigsburg got on loan just for the tournament performed really well in Belgrade: wing Matthew Meredith (‘00), Lithuanian big man Danielius Lavrinovicius (’99) and point guard Thorben Doeding (‘99). Meredith is a strong player with great frame for his age, he’s a tough and intense defender who was able to handle the ball a bit and shoot off the catch on offense, averaging 10.3 points, 2.3 assists and 2.3 steals while shooting 50% from beyond the arc. Lavrinovicius didn’t play major minutes but still showed intriguing potential: he has size, explosiveness and coordination, and was able to show some good shooting and face up skills. Doeding is a crafty ball-handler with good court vision and passing skills, has good frame for his position and showed leadership and defensive toughness as well.

Once again Red Star won ANGT in Belgrade, getting a quite easy win in the final against Mega Leks thanks to a great defensive performance. Point guard Aleksa Uskokovic (‘99) was voted MVP of the tournament: he averaged 16.8 points, 5.3 assists, 2.3 steals and 5.5 fouls drawn, finishing among top five performers in each of these categories, and shot 41.7% from outside. A tall and strong player with good wingspan, he’s a creative and aggressive guard who always plays under control, and has excellent vision and fundamentals on the pick and roll; he also was among the best defenders in the tournament, as he loves to play through physical contact and has impressive instincts and quick hands to steal the ball. Small forward Zoran Paunovic (‘00) averaged 11.5 points, 6 rebounds, 2.3 assists and 2.5 steals, being also named to the All-Tournament Team despite never starting a game. A player with a good frame and explosive athleticism, he’s not a creator but plays mistake-free basketball on offense, being able to shoot off the catch and being extremely effective in attacking the basket in transition, off cuts or attacking the closeout; he was as well a key defender for Red Star, and played his best game in the final. Guard Stefan Momirov (‘99) played well next to Uskokovic, being able to act both off the ball and as a point guard. He’s a talented scorer who can comfortably shoot off the dribble and attack off the pick and roll, he also has a solid court vision when driving to the basket. Power forward Vuk Djordjevic (‘99) was also a key contributor for Red Star, averaging 14.3 points, 4.5 rebounds, 3 assists and 1.3 steals per game while shooting 45% from three. He’s undersized for his position, but plays within his limits, has good motor and proved to be a capable shooter off the catch.

Group B

Maccabi Tel Aviv lacked elite level of talent but played with great attitude, being physical on defense and taking shots from everywhere on the court on offense. Once again, the main expression of their style of play was combo guard Amit Ebo (‘99), who ended up being the tournament’s top scorer (22.8 points per game while shooting a total 20/50 from three), won the Three Point Contest and earned a spot in the All-Tournament Team. A small but strong and explosive guard, Ebo is an aggressive ball-handler with unlimited shooting range and an impressively quick release. Power forward Tomer Porat (‘99) has light frame but was able to produce inside the paint, averaging 7.8 rebounds; a fighter inside the arc, on offense he was most efficient when facing the basket, being able both to shoot from outside and to put the ball on the floor. Forward Amit Suss (‘99) also had a good tournament: a versatile defender with good frame and explosiveness, he was a key contributor also on offense thanks to his IQ, passing skills and ability to play both inside and outside.

Get Better Academy from Prague played the best team basketball in the tournament, but lacked elite level talent and deep rotations. The team’s leader and overall best performer was point guard Marek Welsch (‘99), a small but strong and aggressive player with great creativity and leadership. Welsch struggled sometimes with shot selection, but averaged 16 points per game while showing excellent ball-handling skills and the ability to create both for himself and his teammates. Center Maros Zeliznak (‘99) has good size and frame, his mobility has really improved in the last few months, he can run the court and finish inside with soft touch; he averaged 9.3 points and 6.8 rebounds. Forward Yoro Sidibe (‘99) had a breakout tournament as well: a late bloomer with poor basketball background, he’s a great athlete who plays with impressive motor, and was one of the best and most versatile defenders in the tournament. On offense he still has to improve his ability to make plays off the dribble, but can play above the rim with ease and hit some jumper.

The youngest team in the tournament, Spars Sarajevo ended up in fourth place thanks to an 87-75 win against Maccabi Tel Aviv, their only one in Belgrade. The Bosnian team was led by 6’7 wing Tarik Biberovic (‘01), who finished as the second best scorer in the tournament, averaging 17.8 points and adding 6.3 rebounds, 1.3 blocks, 2.3 assists and 5 turnovers. Biberovic has impressive strength and size for his age, he loves to play off the dribble and is tough to guard when has open space to operate. He’s still a streaky shooter, but averaged a solid 35.1% from beyond the arc in the tournament. Forward Srdan Kocic (‘99) had a solid tournament as well: a smart player who always shows good attitude and plays within his limits, he’ll need to improve his jumper and extend his shooting range; he averaged 9.5 points, 7.5 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 5.5 fouls drawn. Point guard Semir Karic (‘00) is small but showed good leadership and aggressiveness, with good instincts in running the team, moving the ball and keeping the dribble alive.

Mega Leks was able to easily dominate in group stage, winning the first three games by an average of 22 points, but was crushed in the first half of the final by Red Star, not being able to get back into the game in the second one. Georgian big man Goga Bitadze (‘99) had a great tournament and was named to the All-Tournament Team, as it was a difficult task for any frontcourt to match his physicality. A 6’11 strong player and explosive athlete, he showed the ability to score both inside and stretching the floor from the perimeter, hitting also 4 of his total 6 attempts from beyond the arc. He averaged 16.5 points, 12 rebounds and 2.8 blocks, and when focused he’s almost unstoppable at this level of competition. Forward Nikola Miskovic (‘99) was also named to the All-Tournament Team, after averaging 16.5 points, 7 rebounds and 2.3 assists per game. A highly creative player who loves to handle the ball, attack off the dribble and make plays for his teammates, he has impressive quickness, coordination and body control for a 6’9 forward; he struggled with his jumper, hitting only 1 of his 10 three point attempts, and his body language wasn’t always at best. Point guards Mihailo Jovicic (‘99) and Igor Drobnjak (‘00) provided good leadership, defense and shared the ball well on offense, even though both didn’t have a major scoring role.