European Prospects

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Today’s picks (from the U18 European Championships)

July 25th, 2008 · No Comments

Here are my thoughts on the first day of both U18 Championships that started today.

Division A

  • Croatia did not have too much problems to beat a Latvian team that won’t probably repeat their Bronze medal act from last year. Mario Delas was everywhere for the Croats with 24pts, 9rebs and 3asts.
  • Germany beat France in a very important game already as this group looked pretty equal. The M&Ms were on fire with Maurice Stuckey scoring 20pts in 23 minutes and Maik Zirbes going for a double-double with 22pts and 11trebs.
  • In the game of the night, Greece overcame Spain in a closer game than everyone thought in the beginning. The Greeks started quickly despite a calm game of Nikos Pappas. They increased their lead and used their inside players Leonidas Kaselakis and Zisis Sarikopoulos very well against a small Spanish team. In the 2nd half, when Spain was switching to a zone, the could come back behind some good defensive efforts and a few nice plays by Alejandro Hernandez. However, it was Vladimir Jankovic and Konstantinos Papanikolaou who sealed the game in the game and a last second three pointer from mid-court by the Spanish guard could not change the result.
  • Serbia, who misses all their players of Crvena Zvezda because of injury, struggled badly in their opener of the tournament and lost 83-68 against a Lithuanian team that was lead by Tautvydas Slezas and his 16pts, 13rbs, 3asts and 2blks. For Serbia, it was especially Bojan Subotic who was far away from his normal level with 2/10 shooting and 0/3 FTs.
  • Bulgaria had nearly the comeback of the day after trailing by 17 in the fourth quarter. But it was not enough against the 24pts and 9rebs of Enes Kanter for the Turkish team.
  • ERT World Sat broadcasts the game of the Greek U18 team. You can follow the Live Stream here from tomorrow’s game Greece-Israel starting at 18h00 CET.

Division B

  • Poland had a lot of trouble to win against a English team without Ryan Richards who is not with the team because of slight injuries. Behind the 30pts of 1991 born guard Sebastian Szymanski, the Polish team won despite having their top prospect Jakub Wojciechowski fouled out in just 16 minutes. England coach Andre Alleyne told me after the game that he wasn’t happy in the way we played defense in the first half. We picked it up in the second and if we transfer that to the Portugal game tomorrow, we will be in a better position. The goal of the team is to finish better than last year (18th) and everything below 10th place would be a failure in coach Alleyne’s mind.
  • Austria had a nice win to start into the tournament and put some pressure on the Netherlands. Behind the great effort of Rasid Mahalbasic who scored 28pts and had 10rebs, the team of coach Robert Langer has now chances to go to the next round. It was a very intensive game. Our team has fought very well and we stuck together. We have overpowered the Dutch but we can improve, told the coach after the game to the press.
  • Sweden managed to beat Bosnia-Herzegovina behind 21pts in 24 minutes of Omar Zaghden. The Swedish PF got some nice support from his outside scorers Andreas Person and Christopher Czerapowicz who both were in double figures. The Bosnian team relied a bit too much on Dino Hodzic who had to do it all.
  • Finland outscored Hungary in the second quarter 30-14 to go for their first win. A surprising performance by the Kouvot SF Matti Nuutinen with 22pts and 10rebs and the awaited scoring efforts of Sasu Salin and Roopi Ahonen were enough to give the Hungarians their first loss.
  • One of the tournament favorites Slovenia will start their run for Division A tomorrow when they will play against the other strong team of their group Sweden.

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