After having talked about the European rosters that already been published, we take a closer look today at the teams coming from overseas. Additionally, more European team has unveiled which players may come to Mannheim so that I also went for a second round on European teams.
The finalists from 2004 come to Mannheim with a title as South American U17 champions in 2009. The team will be in Germany with Juan Jose Giaveno, a tiny 1m75 tall PG who drove the team to the Gold medal last summer in Trinidad. He has the support of the 2m02 tall power forward Joel Comba who was the top scorer and rebounder of the Argentinean team last year. The team looks strong as they dominated rather easily the U17 tournament in Latin America last year and they may represent one of the most intriguing squads in Mannheim.
Here are the thoughts of our Oceania friend Dan Hennessey on the Australian team. Australia, well we all better get used to them at the top of any level in Basketball. The Australia Institute of Sport keeps on churning out high quality players every week it seems. Former (AIS) and Albert Schweitzer tournament players Patty Mills ( St. Mary’s, NBA ) and Matt Dellavadova (St Mary’s) are just two prime examples. Hugh Greenwood, I had the opportunity to see at the FIBA U19s is really years ahead of his young age. He can light up a scoreboard from anywhere on the court. He possesses a great inside/outside game and will be a leader on the Ozzie team. His experience and stature as a genuine Hoopster is quite apparent. Greenwood is also an alumnus of Australia’s (AIS). William Sinclair is also one to watch on the Australian squad. A real Athlete. He could have excelled in any sport but unfortunately to the players he will be defending,…he picked Basketball. Sinclair is 2.05 meters tall and has played for the Kilsyth Cobras in Australia. A great defender and rebounder. Australia would have to be one of the favorites this year in the Albert Schweitzer Tournament. They are the real deal.
The team finished third in the U17 championship last year in Latin America after a defeat against Uruguay in the semi-finals. Their best scorer back then was the shooter Felipe Taddei. He has the back court scoring support of Raul Neto Togni who sees already minutes quite regularly with Pitagoras in the highest Brazilian league. It is a bit sad that the Unicaja Malaga bound Rafa Freire is not on the roster, he wasn’t either playing for Brazil during the U17 tournament last year. Another interesting fact is that the head coach Walter Roese is currently also an assistant coach at the NCAA team of Nebraska.
One of the most awaited teams in Mannheim is of course France. The French federation published yesterday the preliminary roster of 16 players that will travel to a 4 day camp in Mulhouse. The team of coach Philippe Ory will play there 2 games against the New Zealand U18 team that will also compete in the Albert Schweitzer Tournament. The roster features a nice mixture of the talented 1992 group around Evan Fournier, Vincent Pourchot and Mathis Keita but the coaching staff also added the highly interesting 1993 born Hugo Invernizzi and Livio Jean-Charles. Unfortunately, Leo Westermann will miss the tournament because of an injury but still, France can be considered as one of the main favorites for winning the tournament once again this year.
The Japanese teams traditionally miss size but shoot the three ball. This team is certainly similar as the preliminary roster only features one player taller than 2m. However, the promising Toru Minagawa is on the roster and it will be interesting to see the team in action. Other players that seem to be interesting are Kodai Kimura and Kengo Nomoto who both shined at the Australian Youth Olympic Festival last year.
According to Youthbasketball.eu, China was the tallest team last year during the Australian Youth festival in Sydney and featured some great prospects. Two players that shined there, Gao Shan and Ju Mingxin, are not on the roster though for Mannheim. Shi Hongfei was the smallest Chinese but he’s not short on talent, he was the best Chinese in the final game with 27pts 7/17 from 3pts range. He also have a good basketball IQ and seems to handle the pressure pretty well which is a good news for the Chinese national teams! We should also mention the 2m16 giant Li Muhao who was the biggest player at the AYOF, a skinny center who needs to add muscle but he’s already a nice player.
Our Oceania friend Dan Hennessey sent us the following thoughts on the Junior Tall Blacks team. With a never say die attitude and some of the best pure shooters on the planet New Zealand just might be the official unofficial "Dark Horse" at the Albert Schweitzer Tournament. Two Kiwi’s to watch in my opinion, Stephan Mandich a guard who can really shoot the lights out of any gym. He hails from North Harbour, New Zealand and if his shot is on …watch out. Also you can’t go by Mark Overdevest, literally, standing at 2.16 meters tall he will be one of the tallest players in the tournament, and taking up pretty much the whole lower post. Overdevest is from Waikato, New Zealand and if he can stay out of foul trouble, he can and will be a handful, maybe two hand full!
The Spanish team comes to Mannheim without one of their main talents as Joan Tomas got injured recently and will be out for 2 months. However, the team is a great mixture of the U16 Gold Medal team from last year and the best 1992 born talent. Mikki Servera will be one of the leaders as the 1m99 tall guard has shown his talent with the U18 team last summer already and he even saw some Euroleague minutes this year with Unicaja Malaga. The paint will be dominated probably by the duo of Malick Fall and Jordi Mas while the 2m12 tall Victor Arteaga is also someone to look at. The best of the 1993 born players will also be in Mannheim and it will be interesting to see the development of Jaime Fernandez, Daniel Diez or Alejandro Suarez.