After several weeks, I am again on a Scouting trip, to follow the Nike Inthernational Junior Tournament in Belgrade. After missing the morning sessions as I flew only in at noon, I had the chance to check out the games from the evening but only through one half per team.
The impressions I got are only brief but you could already easily recognize that Crvena Zvedza is the best team in the tournament. After having destroyed ALBA in the morning, they made a short process out of Treviso in the first half. Pressing full court, trapping in every corner and great length were their main factors in the victory over the Italian team. Driven by the inside presence of Dusan Ristic and Djordje Kaplanovic while Nikola Rebic and Marko Guduric were doing their job in the back court, Zvezda had no problems to create an early and uncontested lead. Djordje Malbasa tried his best for the Italians but it was not enough.
At the same time, Mega Vizura controlled the game over ALBA quite easily. Rade Zagorac was not doing anything special but it was enough to win against an ALBA team that really lacks the size to compete on this level. Additionally, they did not really play well together which is quite normal as four of their players are on loan.
The best game of the day was the matchup between USK Future Stars from Prague and INSEP. Driven by a great Vladimir Nemcok in the backcourt and a serious inside presence of Martin Peterka and Dominik Heinzl, the Czechs could create a lead in the third quarter and were on the way of the surprise. However, INSEP had a superb Damien Inglis in their ranks. The French forward shouldered his team so well, scoring, rebounding and finding his team mates perfectly. He rarely missed a shot and finished the game with an amazing triple double and turning the ball over only once which gave him a massive 56 ranking. So the French remained undefeated but they need a bit more coming from the rest of the team if they want to have a chance to win the title on Sunday.
The last game of the evening had Partizan cruise against Cedevita and remain undefeated on their side. 98 born Milos Glisic showed his talent and fluidity while Vanja Marinkovic was perfect from behind the three-point line. For the Croats, Dorian Jelenek was the main man and he finished with a nice double-double.
With these results, everything was decided as Partizan, Mega Vizura, INSEP and Crvena Zvezda were qualified for the semi-finals. The games of Saturday´s morning session will only decide who plays whom on Saturday evening.