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Finland U20 Preview

July 13th, 2011 · No Comments

With the U20 European Championships starting tomorrow, our friend Hippo has sent us his preview on the Finnish U20 National Team that will compete in the B Division tournament in Sarajevo. The team will face Norway, Great Britian, Portugal, the Czech Republic and Luxembourg in Group C. The team features several members of the succesful Finnish U18 National Team that managed to promote to Division A last summer.

(Hippo) Finland U20 team has been preparing for the Division B European championship games from late May and has been relatively successful, upsetting Croatia in the Martinsicuro International Tournament in Italy and ending the preparation period by beating Estonia 108-73 at home. In total, Finland has won four out of eight preparation games in 2011 (wins: Norway, Denmark, Croatia, Estonia; losses: Sweden, Italy, Serbia, Estonia).

Even though Union Olimpija shooting guard Sasu Salin is missing from the U20 team due to men’s national team duties, this group has some talents who could one day earn professional money playing in Europe. Here’s a brief recap of the most interesting international names in Finnish u20 roster.

Carl Lindbom – 2m06 – power forward – Frankfurt Skyliners (GER)

Big man Lindbom is a late bloomer who has improved dramatically during the 2010/11 season with German Bundesliga team Frankfurt Skyliners. Despite playing sparingly with Skyliners, Lindbom has created an ability to create his own shot and score at will even against tougher defenses. During the last two years, Lindbom’s lower body strength has been an issue, but his footwork and low post defense already seem good enough even for men’s national team rotation.

Lindbom in summer 2011: 13.6ppg, 6.9rpg

Samuli Vanttaja– 2m10 – power forward

Vanttaja practiced independently during the summer of 2010 and was able to bring up his confidence to level good enough to perform well in Finnish Korisliiga and international VTB League games with Honka Playboys. Vanttaja has been rumored to join Italian Serie A club Cimberio Varese for 2011/12 season, but as far as we know, the big man has still a contract with Espoon Honka. Vanttaja is an interesting prospect with his high-arch long range shot, good positioning and capability to defend opposing centers and power forwards. He has good fundamentals and he seems to be on a brink of personal breakthrough.

Vanttaja in summer 2011: 7.6ppg, 5.4rpg

Antto Nikkarinen– 1m85 – point guard – Kouvolan Kouvot

Nikkarinen was handled the starting point guard duties of very young Kouvot team and the bright young man performed well in his over 30 minutes a game. Even though Nikkarinen’s size and athleticism could become issues, his natural ability to create plays and make shots make him an interesting prospect.

Nikkarinen in summer 2011: 8.6ppg, 3.5rpg, 2.1apg

Here is the full roster of Finnish u20 team:

  • Robin Nordman – 2m03 – 1992
  • Markus Molenius – 2m04 – 1992
  • Alex Vaenerberg – 1m84 – 1992
  • Villematti Kopio – 1m83 – 1992
  • Alexi Alanen – 1m94 – 1991
  • Antto Nikkarinen – 1m85 – 1991
  • Lauri Toivonen – 2m00 – 1991
  • Osku Heinonen – 1m94 – 1992
  • Kilian Cato – 2m02 – 1992
  • Mikael Sandberg – 2m10 – 1991
  • Carl Lindbom – 2m06 – 1991
  • Samuli Vanttaja – 2m10 – 1991

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