2021 Istanbul Adidas Next Generation Tournament took place with important absences but also remarkable shows. Most of the 2003 and 2004-born players haven’t performed in international competitions since a year ago so this tournament has been very useful to check the development of some of the best of both generations. Our Director of Scouting, Albert Robledillo, breaks down the event where Real Madrid was crowned as the champion after beating Stellazurra Rome in the final.

Who was the best player?
Real Madrid is an All-Star team. I firmly believe that this U18 team is one of the best ever in so many ways because they are already very productive and there are very interesting prospects. After his astonishing performance in the final, it’s difficult not to name Eli John Ndiaye (‘04) as the best player in the competition. Noone couldn’t stop his versatility as he showed a wide arsenal of skills, shooting from outside, drawing fouls, and showing a very much improved skillset from a year ago when he was named as the All-Tournament Team in Munich against players two years older than him. But Ndiaye couldn’t have been that productive if he wouldn’t have Matteo Spagnolo (‘03) and Juan Núñez (‘04) in his team. Núñez wasn’t decisive in the final but, once again, he proved himself as one of the best passers in the world while Spagnolo put on a shooting show in the tournament and was amazing as a two-way guard.
Who was the most surprising player?
Brno finished in the seventh position of the tournament but they were a very fun team to watch. Especially with that amount of NCAA D1 prospects. And that’s why because Jakub Necas (‘04) impacted every single game. At 6’7, Necas defends multiple positions, he is awesome rotating and in offense, can create for him and for others showing a very surprising ability to dish for his teammates. 3/15 in 3P in the tournaments but there is nothing to worry about his shot. He was on the top of every scouting report and played 30 minutes per game being super active on both ends.

Who was the top U16 player?
Aday Mara (‘05) had an outstanding debut and even if he couldn’t keep his level up during the tournament he has shown he’ll be a dominant force in the following years and one of the best European prospects overall. He combines his huge size (7’2) and an impressive wingspan with a tremendous feel for the game. Mara already scores in so many ways as he can create for himself in the post and for others dishing. In defense, he perfectly knows how to use his size. Also, his body is not fully developed yet, and he could even grow up a bit more.

Ndiaye (MVP), Spagnolo, Lelevicius, Necas and Giordano. What’s your take on the All-Tournament Team?
It’s difficult to disagree with this decision as they were the five most productive players of the tournament. Núñez (‘04), who won the MVP last year in the ANGT Munich and truly deserved the award in the 2019 U16 FIBA European Tournament, had his chances in the first three games but he had a shy performance in the final. However, he probably was the top prospect long-term of the tournament. Talking about long-term prospects, Lelevicius (‘03) deserved the mention as he finished the competition in great shape. He was impressive creating and shooting averaging 18.8 points on 66% in 2P and 61% in 3P attempting 4.5 per game. Giordano (‘03) and Visintin (‘04) fought for the Stellazurra’ spot in the mention and it could have gone either way.