From April 1st to April 3rd, ANGT went back to Italy, in Varese, for the third stage in the 2021/22 season of the U18 Euroleague tournament. French team Pole France INSEP went all the way to the gold with pretty much ease, beating Next Generation Team in the championship game by 30 points. Badalona got the bronze, by beating Zaragoza in the Spanish derby for the 3rd place. Our Editor in Chief, Pietro Cristofori, attended the event, and answers some key questions.

Who was the best player in the tournament?
Zacharie Perrin was the consensus MVP of the competition. The 2004-born french big was the leader of the Next Generation Team, and he proved to be one of the most versatile big men in his generation. He was dominant under the boards for the whole weekend, showing excellent sense of the position and skills. He still has to add long-range shots to his skillset, to become a versatile offensive threat at the upper level.
Who was able to raise his stock after the competition?
Stellan Rajaofera was one of the funniest guys to watch on the floor. The Croatian playmaker liked to play at high pace, and he was involved in plenty of pick&rolls with his teammate Perrin. He attacked the rack fearlessly, and displayed very good balance and body control, finishing with some smooth eurostep in traffic.
Another guy I’d like to mention is Leonardo Marangon: 2005-born from Padova, he has solid playing time in Italian third division. Italian wing's athletic tools and lower body power were on full display in Varese.
It was a tournament with some very talented big-men, which one impressed you the most?
I think that despite struggling in terms of consistency, Aday Mara was the big man that stood out the most in Varese. Watching him live for the first time, his combination of length and mobility was outstanding. Very good passer from the low-post and the top of the key: he generated various wide-open shots for his teammates. Catch-and-finish player at the moment. He needs to be tougher around the rim, but this should come with time.
Which were the freshmen that intrigued you the most?
Among the "rookies", Neoklis Avdalas was the main name entering the tournament, and he proved that he can already withstand this type of competition. The 6'6, 2006-born Greek guy was arguably the most talented player in the whole tournament. Despite playing two years under age, he controlled the pace very well, playing with confidence. He played a high volume of pick&rolls, reading the game really well. Solid defensive player. At times he avoided contacts. Also, his 3-point shot is still a work in progress, but the touch is promising.
Jordi Rodriguez, Melvin Ajinça, Noah Penda, Zacharie Perrin (MVP), Ruben Prey. What’s your take on the All-Tournament Team?
I think that the picks were legit. INSEP was by far the best team in the tournament, but they didn't have a guy that stood-out more than others. So, Ajinça and Penda are two solid choices. Honestly, in their case I'd have expected to see Rayan Rupert there too. Rodriguez and Prey deserved to make the best-5: they led Badalona to the third place, being also the closest ones to ruin the party to the French powerhouse.