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Albert-Schweitzer Tournament 2008: a first look

February 23rd, 2008 · No Comments

I want to take a first look at the rosters or pre-selections that are already known to participate at this year’s edition. Maybe this can be an indication to see who can be the possible successor of Nicolas Batum as the 2006 MVP.

Argentina is the only team representing South America in this year’s edition. However, they can easily be considered as one of the top two youth talent producing countires together with Brazil. Finalist in 2004 behind the performances of Carlos Schattmann, Ricardo Brusciglio and Fabricio Vay, the Gauchos will be in Mannheim with a very attractive team around big man Pablo Orlietti and forward Fabian Ramirez Barrios. Unfortunately, the biggest talent of the Argentinean U18 generation, Matias Nocedal is not mentioned on the roster. I still hope he can join the team but it is not sure if he get liberated for the tournament by his actual team Bruesa in LEB Bronze.

The German pre-selection features some interesting talent. Besides the very young Niels Giffey, you will find there Maurice Stuckey who was already with the U18 last summer in Madrid. Other interesting talent to follow will be of course some of the top performers of the NBBL which I featured already a few days ago. The team from Kay Blümel should qualify for the Top8 and can probably move a little higher than 2 years ago when they lost in the game for the 7th place against the USA. And as always, the roster will probably feature some height too.

The French pre-selection looks not as tremendous as the 2006 roster which featured several top talent with Nicolas Batum, Alexis Ajinca or Antoine Diot. The biggest names may be Alexis Tanghe, Christophe Leonard or Pierre Bonnelalbay. The guard positions will feature with Andrew Albicy and Elio Sadiku (NBA Basketball without borders MVP 2007) also some interesting talent and France will probably display once again the most athletic and spectacular plays in Mannheim.

The Greek team will feature some of the Silver medallists from Madrid 2007, but of course they wil play without their outstanding center Kosta Koufos. However, Nikolaos Pappas or Konstantinos Sloukas should lead this team that will probably get a lot of noisy support in Germany due to the huge Greek population in the area. The team will also feature some of the U16 team guys from 2007 where especially Center Georgios Georgakis could see some interesting minutes.

Italy will come to Mannheim with a team without any big names. The most interesting player may be Luca Campani who is a Power forward actually playing for Trenkwalder Reggio Emilia Juniors. He was the best scorer and rebounder for the U16 team two years ago, so he should translate this to the U18 level. Somebody who is unfortunately missing on the list is 1991 born Nicolò Melli, another Reggio Emilia kid. It is not sure if he will join the team in Mannheim but he would probably among the top talents if he would be there.

Croatia comes to Mannheim with some big names. Tomislav Zubcic is of course the one to follow. Ranked #6 by Draftexpress of the International class of 1990 born players, the 2m10 tall forward should be one of the best talents present in Mannheim. Associated to Mario Delas in the paint, the Croatian team will also feature the back-court combo of the U16 EC 2007 with Ivan Batur and Toni Prostran.

Sweden will feature former NBA Basketball without borders participant Omar Zaghden as inside force. He will be joined by Kassim Nagwere, who was also already a member of the U18 team last summer and interesting scoring guard Christopher Ryan. Another interesting player to join Mannheim with the Swedish team is U16 scoring leader Alexander Lindqvist, a 2m03 tall guard.

Another very strong team will probably be Turkey. Featuring Birkan Batuk, Erdinc Balto and Melih Mahmutoglu, the Turks have an interesting 1990 player on every position. Additionally, they will probably bring Enes Kanter, the actual dominator of the U16 Türk Telekom Tournament along  with some other talented players from the 4th placed U16 team from last summer.

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