After getting caught up in a week’s worth of hitting the refresh button for news ‘n’ rumors about big-money men on both sides of the Atlantic jumping teams, BallinEurope today takes a brief look at a pair of FIBA youth basketball championships going on in Europe: the FIBA U17 World Championship and the FIBA U20 European Championship.
At the FIBA U17 World Championship tournament in Germany, Team USA and Team Poland have dominated the competition, each putting together a streak of seven consecutive wins and so fittingly will meet in today’s championship game.
The main force for Poland thus far has been generously-named 6’11” center Przemyslaw Marcin Karnowski, who’s gone for an average double-double of 16.1 points and 11.7 rebounds plus an even two blocks per game in this tournament. Deadshot guard Mateusz Ponitka leads Poland’s scoring attack (the team is averaging 84 points per U17 game and winning by an average margin of 19 points, twice scoring 100) at just under 20 ppg on incredible 62.7% two-point field goal shooting.
Pontika and Karnowski are each no. 2 overall for the tournament in the scoring and rebounding categories, and according to eyewitnessing European Prospects, the multifaceted Team Lithuania could still find no answer to Poland’s inside-outside attack.
Notables among the Team USA squad thus far include Michael Gilchrist, Bradley Beal (who has committed to Chaminade) and UNC-bound James McAdoo, the team’s double-digit average scorers. Gilchrist and McAdoo have helped form a sick frontcourt for the Americans, combining for 28.3 points and 15.0 rebounds per. Along with his 18.1 ppg, Beal’s also contributing 2.1 assists and nearly 2.5 steals per game to lead the tournament in the latter category. Plus, Quinn Cook and future Kentucky Wildcat Marquis Teague and first and third among tourney statistical leaders in assists at 6.9 and 5.7, respectively.
Though Team USA is a heavy favorite going into the finals, only one thing is certain about the championship game: It will be high-scoring for sure. The Red-White-and-Blue have only *not* topped 100 once during the 2010 U17 World Championship and that was in game one; they’ve won by an average margin of 35, though to be fair Poland has shown itself to potentially serve as the best competition Team USA has met thus far.
Promised Team Poland assistant coach Gerzegorz Zielinski when asked about his team’s game plan: “We will seek appropriate tactic[s], but we will not tell you. We think that the USA coach also reads the [FIBA news]. We can promise it will be a very good game and we invite you all to it.”
The FIBA U17 World Championship final tips off today in Hamburg at 4pm CET. You can watch the game via stream on FIBA.tv for €4.
In Croatia, three pool-round games have been played among the 16 teams vying to become the FIBA U20 European champion. Greece and France are the only squads to have gone 3-0 this week, the latter most recently edging Russia for a 60-59 victory to top the group.
The expected power of this tournament, Team Serbia, is again sharing the lead at 2-1 atop Group B after thoroughly beating up on Lithuania with all stars (Dejan Musli, Andreja Milutinovic, Nemanja Nedovic, Nemanja Jaramaz) shining brightly. Team Spain is shrugging off its slow start to reclaim top dog status in Group D, as yesterday they managed to overcome hosts Croatia in a 64-59 dogfight.
Pool play in the FIBA U20 European Championship continues tomorrow beginning at 4.45pm CET and runs through Wednesday. Knockout stages begin Friday.