The 2018 Adidas Next Generation Tournament in Munich took place from February the 9th to February the 11th.
Final: Real Madrid – Bayern Munich  77 - 57
3rd place game: Alba Berlin – Olympiacos  83 - 57
5th place game: Darussafaka – Brose Bamberg  101 - 70
7th place game: Ratiopharm Ulm – Betis Seville  78 - 67
All-Tournament Team: Mario Nakic (Real Madrid - MVP), Usman Garuba (Real Madrid), Kilian Binapfl (Bayern Munich), Nikolaos Arsenopoulos (Olympiacos), Henri Drell (Brose Bamberg)

Group A

For the Spanish team of Betis Seville the top scorer was Polish shooting guard Andrzej Pluta (’00), who averaged 17 points per game. Pluta is an aggressive guard with relentless motor, he played minutes at the point guard spot but he has mainly scoring instincts and tends to attack with his head down. He’s a fearless shooter with extended shooting range, who can easily make tough shots without any rhythm, but his shot selection has to improve. Another tough and aggressive contributor for Seville was Tomas Balciunas (’00), a physical power forward from Lithuania who averaged 14.5 points, 10.8 rebounds, 2.5 steals and 6.5 fouls drawn, leading the tournament in all rebounding categories. Balciunas is an undersized inside player who enjoys playing through contact, can finish decently around the rim and tirelessly chases every rebound even outside of his area; his lack of a reliable shooting range outside the paint limits his potential, at this stage of his development.

Winning two games in group stage wasn’t enough for Brose Bamberg to avoid finishing the tournament in 6th place. Estonian small forward Henri Drell (’00) was one of the top prospects in attendance: he was named to the All-Tournament Team, after leading the tournament in scoring and averaging 27 points, 5.8 rebounds, 2.8 assists, 5.3 turnovers and 5.5 fouls drawn per game, shooting 68.6% from two and 41.9% from three. He scored 40 points against Bayern Munich and 36 against Darussafaka. Listed at 6’9 but with still an extremely skinny and undeveloped body, he has impressive fluidity and balance for a player his size. He loves to handle the ball and play as a primary ball-handler, showing high-level ability to change pace off the dribble and vision with the ball in his hands. He made damages mainly with his smooth jumper, showing extended shooting range and the natural ability to pull up off the dribble. The main emotional leader for his team, he’ll need to better control his emotions and improve sometimes his decision making. Wing Kay Bruhnke (’01) also had a very good showing in Munich, averaging 13 points, 5.3 rebounds and 3.3 assists while shooting 40% from beyond the arc. His ability to handle the ball and his patience and vision on the P&R were a valuable asset for a player his size, and he showed a confident and consistent jumper from long range. His lack of some explosiveness still limits his effectiveness on the perimeter at times, but overall he was also among the top prospects in the tournament. Guard Joshua Obiesie (’00) had another breakout tournament at the international level, averaging 14.3 points, 3.3 rebounds, 3,3 assists, 4.3 turnovers, 1.7 steals and 1.3 blocks per game. Despite being still extremely strong hand dominant in his game, the lefty 6’6 player from IBAM showed excellent athletic tools and natural instincts off the dribble, being able to cover both guard spots for his team. He struggled with shooting percentages in the tournament, even though looked natural in his shooting form. Point guard Elias Baggette (’02) also deserves a mention: one of the youngest players in attendance, he showed impressive personality and ability to get into the right spot when dribbling the ball, leaving a strong impression as a balanced floor general.

Olympiacos had a strong showing in Munich, with a hard-nosed and aggressive team built around couple of talented perimeter players. Shooting guard Nikolaos Arsenopoulos (’00) averaged 23.5 points, 4.3 rebounds, 2.8 assists, 1.8 steals and 6.3 fouls drawn, finishing as the tournament’s second-best scorer. He had an impressive shooting performance against Brose Bamberg, finishing with 41 points and 7/11 from beyond the arc, and ended up being named in the All-Tournament Team. He has good size for his position but lacks explosiveness, being effective mainly with his jump shot and using his step-back jumper to easily create separation with his defender. 6’11 Serbian forward Aleksej Pokusevski (’01) was probably the most awaited prospect for the Greek team: still extremely young, having turned sixteen just 45 days before the tournament, he has an extremely undeveloped body which still doesn’t allow him to play up to his potential. He’s a highly atypical player: his natural ability to handle the ball, his vision off the dribble and passing skills bring him to play often as a point guard on offense despite his height. He showed also soft touch and fluid release in his jump shot, something which should lead him to play more off the ball in the future. He struggled badly though in handling the physical level of the competition, and was basically a no-show on defense throughout the tournament.

In a three-way tie in this group, host team of Bayern Munich gained the first place and went on to play the final against Real Madrid. Wing Kilian Binapfl (’00) had a breakout tournament in Munich, and was named in the All-Tournament Team after averaging 19.8 points, 6 rebounds, 2 assists, 2.8 steals, 1.3 blocks ad 4.5 fouls drawn. Binapfl has very good frame and athletic tools, and despite not being a primary ball-handler or much of a creator he was able to get inside and finish at the rim at will; a tough and aggressive player who never shies away from physical competition, he made most of his damages in transition, off cuts or attacking the closeout, shooting an impressive 65% from the field in the tournament. He was also one of the best defender in attendance, being able to cover all three backcourt positions, but he’ll need to work on his shooting skills to reach his full potential. Italian forward Sasha Grant (’02) was also a consistent performer for his team: already with a strong and wiry body despite his young age, he was extremely aggressive attacking the basket and was a real factor inside the paint, despite not being reliable yet with his outside shot and his ball-handling. His defensive presence was also important for Bayern Munich. Croatian power forward Matej Rudan (’01) was limited by an injury and was able to play only two games: his body is still undeveloped and he had an hard time to physically compete at this level, despite showing some intriguing flash with the ball. Wing Bruno Vrcic (’00) was the second-best scorer for his team, averaging 14.3 points per game: he’s an off ball player with a powerful body to compete at this level, and was mainly effective thanks to his unstoppable motor and three-point shooting ability. Wing Luc Van Slooten (’02) was quite disappointing in the tournament, despite showing some of his remarkable ball skills: his shot selection was mostly bad, and his attitude on the court needs to improve to allow him to perform at a high-level of competition.
Group B

In a meaningless game for both teams, Ratiopharm Ulm was still able to beat Real Madrid and snap their 21-game winning streak in ANGT qualifying tournaments. Their most consistent performer was Hungarian center Mate Fazekas (’00), who averaged 14.5 points and 5.8 rebounds while shooting 38.9% from three. Fazekas lacks elite length and will need to get in better shape, but has good size and moves quite well for his position. His touch inside and ability to stretch the floor with his jumper off the catch make him an interesting prospect, he had overall a solid showing on offense but struggled often on the defensive end. Power forward Latrell Grosskopf (’01) looked raw in his game, but has an interesting frame and showed the ability to hit outside shots off the catch. Small forward Jason George (’01) was disappointing in Munich: he has amazing body and athleticism, but he’s still lacks consistent ball skills: his ball-handling, shooting and finishing at the rim were extremely shaky in the tournament.

Darussafaka ended up in 5th place after crushing Brose Bamberg in the last game. Point guard Mert Akay (’00) had a very good tournament, averaging 18.3 points, 7.3 rebounds, 6.5 assists, 1.8 steals, 5.8 fouls drawn and recording a triple-double in the last game with 20 points, 11 rebounds and 11 assists. At 6’5 he has excellent size for his position, something which allow him to compete inside and be effective attacking the basket. He has a relentless motor and plays with high-level aggressiveness, never stop playing and never giving up on a possession. He showed excellent confidence with the ball, as a powerful dribbler with great vision and passing instincts, but he’ll need to improve his outside shot which was still not consistent, despite looking more or less decent in its form. Wing Can Turgut (’00) also had a good impact for the Turkish team, as an aggressive player with decent frame who was also able to bring good energy and toughness on the defensive end.

Despite being crushed by Real Madrid in the opening game, Alba Berlin looked solid and featured a quite deep roster in Munich. Their most intriguing prospect is surely Franz Wagner (’01): the tall, long and fluid German wing is still far from reaching his full physical and athletic potential, and his upside is impressive considering his shooting skills, ball-handling and ability to change pace off the dribble. He had a rough game on the first day, but ended up averaging 20 points per game in the other three, shooting a total 11/25 from beyond the arc. The most consistent performer for Alba was big man Hendrik Drescher (’00), who averaged 17.3 points, 6.8 rebounds and 4.3 assists per game. Drescher is a strong big man with solid footwork but average size and explosiveness: he was one of the most polished big men in attendance though, using well his body and soft touch in the low post, shooting the ball efficiently off the catch and putting up a passing clinic both face and back to the basket. Lefty combo guard Jonas Mattisseck (’00) also had a very good showing in the three games he played in Munich, and ended up averaging 12.7 points, 3.7 assists, 2.7 steals and 4.3 fouls drawn. Playing with high-level intensity and toughness, he was one of the best defenders in attendance and tirelessly put pressure on the ball, often picking up full court the opposing point guard. On offense he showed solid versatility without mastering any particular skill: a confident shooter both off the catch and off the dribble, a proper decision maker with reliable vision and passing skills, a fearless slasher always willing to attack the rim with the right space, he didn’t display an elite scoring talent and looked still quite strong hand dominant in his game. Big man Joshua Luebken (’00) also deserve to be mentioned: still extremely raw in his physical development, the skinny 6’11 player doesn’t like much to play through contact yet, but has intriguing fluidity, quickness and footwork to work on.

Real Madrid lost to Ulm by 9 points and won the other three games (vs Alba Berlin, vs Darussafaka, vs Bayern Munich) by an average of 29 points, earning a spot in Belgrade. Serbian wing Mario Nakic (’01) was named MVP of the tournament after averaging 15.3 points, 5.8 rebounds, 3.3 assists per game and having his best performance in the final. His effort was erratic throughout the tournament and sometimes looks like he doesn’t play up to his potential, but he was still able to accelerate at will at this level of competition, playing always in control and regularly making good things happening for his team when he had the ball in his hands. He’s an already well-built player who plays naturally with the ball in his hands, easily getting to the rim when attacking off the dribble to either finish or draw the foul. He also had some impressive moment passing the ball off the dribble, showing vision and proper touch with both hands, but his outside shot didn’t fall at all in Munich. Big man Usman Garuba (’02) was also named in the All-Tournament Team after averaging 15 points, 7.3 rebounds, 2 assists, 1.8 steals, 1.3 blocks and 5.3 fouls drawn per game. A strong and intense player who once again was comfortably outplaying most of his older opponents in the paint, Garuba was always effective inside, rebounding the ball, recovering on defense and finishing on offense off easy catches around the rim. He showed some decent passing out of double-teams, while will still need to work on his jump shot; his physical attitude, motor and footwork still make him an interesting prospect. Swedish guard Melwin Pantzar (’00) was solid for Real Madrid: he didn’t have a main scoring role and struggled again with his outside shot, but he has a very good frame and was able to play mostly under control, showing good decision making in the halfcourt. Senegalese center Amar Sylla (’01) also has intriguing frame and mobility, and averaged 9.5 points and 8 rebounds in just 22 minutes per game. His length and quickness were hard to match at this level of competition, but he also showed some promise in his instincts and skills with the ball. Slovenian point guard Ziga Samar (’01) averaged 8.5 points, 2.8 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 1 steal in just 16 minutes per game coming off the bench. He has good size and is extremely mature in his game, most of the times picking the right spot where to dribble and pass; he also showed decent burst and aggressiveness, being able to easily change pace off the dribble.

Photo by Matthias Stickel - FCBB