Joventut Badalona had little trouble with China (1-2), forcing the Chinese into 25 turnovers which resulted in Joventut taking 22 more shots in the game. Joventut maintained a double-digit lead for much of the contest. 6’8” Jose Nogues led the winners with 21 points, shooting 8-of-13 on two-pointers. 6’4” Agusti Sans finished with 19 points, seven rebounds and eight assists while 6’5” Alberto Abalde scored 16 and hit three three-pointers. 6’5” Jinglong Li was the only player in double-figures for Team China with 14 points. Joventut came back from a two-point deficit at the end of the first quarter to score 25 in the second to take a ten-point halftime lead.
The Euroleague’s 2013 Nike International Junior Tournament started in London today for four first round contests. Defending champion Lietuvos Rytas Vilnius dropped their first game to Joventut, 77-65. 6’5” Alberto Abalde (1995) led Joventut with 21 points, making 3-of-6 three-pointers. 6’8” Jose Nogues (1995) helped out with 11 points and seven rebounds. 6’9” Gediminas Zalalis (1995) led Rytas with 14 points and 6’5” Benas Vaitulionis (1995) had 12 points.
Aaaaand here’s another for the collection. After the Nike International Junior Tournament in Belgrade closed yesterday, two of the tourney’s youth teams added to the phenomenon overtaking European basketball clubs daily, namely the irresistible urge to perform the Harlem Shake. Without further ado, here are the Alba Berlin and INSEP ballers succumbing to the craze.
Running in parallel with the 2011 Euroleague Final Four is the Nike International Junior Tournament, featuring eight teams from around the world (okay, seven from Europe and one from China, technically) packed with youthful prospects moving up the professional ladder. Below, BallinEurope enumerates a few of the players who’ve piqued the interest. And no, this isn’t everyone we’re looking at; most likely, a couple more profiles will be posted tomorrow…
Dario Saric, KK Zagreb – In the opening match against INSEP, Saric played the entire 40 minutes, filling up the stat sheet with an incredible line of 19 points, 13 rebounds, four assists, three steals and two blocks. In helping Zagreb crush FMP the following day, Saric again produced the best numbers of the day with 17 points (including 7-of-8 shooting on free throws), six boards, eight assists and four steals. More incredibly, this happened in “just” 33 minutes of playing time, as the lad fouled out in the fourth quarter.
The only downside to Saric’s game would appear to be some slightly shaky ball-handling skills. Hampered further by the tendency to send the ball through him on literally nearly every trip down the floor – BiE has rarely seen an NIJT player draw so damn many double teams – Saric went for a combined 11 turnovers in the two games.
A number of players from Team Lithuania’s 2010 European Championship U18 squad have been moving on the market lately, but few have caused disquiet among Žalgiris fans as Lietuvos Rytas’ recent acquisition of SG Dovydas Redikas out of Marciulionis Academy.
Tournament MVP Jonas Valanciunas is already officially with Lietuvos Rytas, and his all-tournament teammate Deividas Pukis is heading to the ‘States to follow the path of Linas Kleiza. PG Vytenis Cizauskas has gotten with Kaunas, and yesterday Edgaras Ulanovas joined the Greens as well. But it was Redikas’ move which captured the imagination and created some indignation among Žalgiris fans.
While Ulanovas heading to Žalgiris wasn’t that big of a deal, Redikas move to join Kaunas’ arch-enemy Lietuvos Rytas was met with few drops of soreness by fans in Kaunas. Rather than sign with Žalgiris, as was expected – Redikas had worn the green and white in the 2009-10 Euroleague youth team tournament – Redikas decided to stay in Vilnius, the city in which he played at Marciulionis Academy. He will be loaned to Perlas Vilnius, Lietuvos Rytas’ farm team for a first season.
Allow BallinEurope can to douse the fires of green rage a bit here, if BiE could. A source close to the matter informed us last night of the reason for passing on Redikas – and it has little to do with the youth’s incipient talent: “It’s simple. His camp asked for a €80,000 buyout,” a sum which seemed way too high for Žalgiris to pay for an 18-year-old.
Mathis Keita, a 1992-born product of France’s INSEP, has verbally committed to joining Gonzaga University for the 2009-10 season; Keita makes the third prospective signing for the Bulldogs.
Keita was first seen on the international stage in the 2008 FIBA U16 World Championship and he played for champion INSEP at this year’s Nike International Junior Tournament.
While Keita isn’t a huge stats guy, he has been noted among youth basketball enthusiasts for his defensive play, video evidence of which from the 2008 U16 games runs below the break.
Congratulations to the lads at INSEP for
demolishing yet another BallinEurope fearless prediction taking the academy’s first-ever Nike International Junior Tournament in the team’s first-ever final four bid. Livio Jean-Charles had another outstanding game for the French side, contributing 15 points, seven rebounds and three assists on the way to the tournament MVP award.
Official Euroleague writeup below the break.
Nike Invitational Junior Tournament pits defending champs FMP against hometown INSEP (plus fearless prediction)
FMP Belgrade benefited from another nice effort from go-to guy Bogdan Bogdanovic to take their second nail-biter in two days: FMP topped Unicaja, 79-78, on a buzzer-beater by Bogdanovic for his 20th and 21st points in the game. The win capped a perfect 3-0 run for the Serbian side, the only team in this year’s Nike Invitational Junior Tournament to do so.
Meanwhile, France’s INSEP shocked BallinEurope’s pick to take the tourney (another fearless prediction gone awry, i fear), Zalgiris Kaunas, 89-82. In his increasingly dominant play, Livio Jean-Charles was the French team’s top player with 20 points and seven rebounds. Jean-Charles is now averaging 16.7 ppg on 72% shooting (!) over the NIJT finals thus far, quite an improvement over the 10.2 per game on 58.6% he managed in the first stage in Belgrade.
In the leadup to last night’s Euroleague semifinal games, BallinEurope only got the chance to check out a couple of Nike International Junior Tournament games yesterday; a few brief thoughts run below.
Over at the big league’s official ‘site, the FMP Belgrad-KK Split Croatia Osiguranje game is being called “the best game in the tournament so far,” a sentiment with which BiE wholeheartedly agreed even before Milad Miljenovic’s game-winning three.
In tandem with the Euroleague Final Four games going down in Paris this weekend runs the Nike International Junior Tournament, a competition between eight of Europe’s top youth club teams. BallinEurope managed to catch the majority of play in three games yesterday and so a few brief notes for you today.
In the opener, defending champions FMP Belgrade seemingly took apart Benetton Basket, 111-85. Most of this huge gap – in fact all of it – was accumulated in the first quarter, after which the Boys From Belgrade had amassed a 31-11 lead as they simply couldn’t miss while Benetton was having difficulty hitting anything. Seven players scored in double figures for FMP, including Bogdan Bogdanovic, Nikola Pavlovic, Sergej Vucetic, Nikola Jankovic, Nikola Siladi, Danilo Toskovic and Nenad Miljenovic.