A new initiative established by FIBA Europe and sponsored by Champion was the U18 All-Stars camp for young European players held these days in Poland. 32 players got selected according to their performances at the U18 European Championships and went to work in several sessions with established coaches like Svetislav Pesic .21 players got an All-Star selection for a game that has been played today.
The value of such a game can be debated, at least the first twenty minutes of the contest did not really amazed me with brilliant plays. Except the huge performance by Jonas Valanciunas who grabbed 14 rebounds and had several big dunks in the first half, there was not much to be seen. It was however a good opportunity to see players from the B Division tournament like the two Swedes Andreas Person and Christopher Czerapowicz (more on him in the next weeks), the Montenegrin Nemanja Radovic or Janos Eilingsfeld from Hungary. Radovic, a 2m06 tall forward who averaged 20.3ppg and 10.0rpg during the European Championship in July showed a nice arsenal of offensive moves including the catch and shoot three point shot or drives with the left hand where he also displayed some good footwork to surround his defenders.
The second half was not really more exciting and even if the final result of 77-75 may suggest some suspense, there was none to be felt. Valanciunas continued to dominate in the paint and finished the game with a MVP performance of 18pts, 19rebs and 3blks. Dejan Musli, who was his main opponent on the White team simply did not look motivated as he finished the game with 2 very poor airballs (one on a free throw attempt) and never really showed any kind of dominance inside. He preferred to play some kind of PG out of rebound situations when running the break. Whatever, it was an All-Star Game and you could see that several of these kids prefer to play real games than such exhibitions. Probably the most intense and ambitious guy on the court was the German Philipp Neumann. The 2m10 Center displayed a me-first show not giving away any ball he got into his hands and trying to score all the time. It was something that we already observed during the U18 European Championship and Neumann did not show any kind of development in this area in this All-Star Game. He finished the game with 14pts though and had also 3blks but he needs to learn how to share the ball.
The most regular guy over the whole game next to Valanciunas was Radovic who came up with positive things throughout the whole game. He finished the game with a nice 12pts and 9rebs in just 15 minutes of action. He got some scoring help for the Blue Team by the Serbian shooter Lazar Radosavljevic who netted 3/6 threes for a total of 11pts. For the defeated White Team, Toni Prostran had 13pts but 7TOs while the aforementioned Musli finished with 10pts and 13rebs.