Today started the FIBA Europe U18 European Championship in France and I cover it extensively this year. My first trip was to Hagondange today to follow the two last games of the day.
- Croatia had a nice comeback win against a Spanish team that dominated the first half but lost its concentration later on and played very sloppy during the second twenty minutes. Nobody could stop the drives of Toni Prostran who changed his mind in the second half too, but in a positive way by dishing out some nice assists and not forcing the layups any more. But it was also the nice shooting by Luka Babic in a crucial moment that sealed the deal for the Croats. For Spain, nobody really took over the game in the second half after dominating easily in the beginning. Despite probably the more talented players overall, the team seems to lack the necessary back court leader to create the plays that were needed in the money time.
- The second game of the night was a come back story too as France managed to overcome Serbia in their opener. Leo Westermann showed his shooting skills and leadership in the last quarter and he got some nice support by an overall defensive team effort. Vincent Pourchot was really the surprise of the team to me as the 2m20 tall 1992 born Center managed to stop Dejan Musli in the 2nd half where he limited him to only 7 points. Additionally, Pourchot showed some nice shooting touch from mid-range in combination with body coordination that needs some development down the line.
- For the first day, we saw several teams in attendance in Hagondange, among them could be found the Atlanta Hawks, the New York Knicks, Frankfurt Skyliners, Paderborn Baskets or Montana State from the NCAA.
- For all the other results, you can check the official website of the tournament.
- Next to the B Division that is played also from today in Sarajevo, the C Division started already on Monday in Malta and it is Samuel Deguara who dominates that tournament totally. The 2m23 tall Maltese averages a massive 25.3ppg and 23.3rpg against weak competition though.
- After discovering the passport fraud of Anton Arsenyev a few days ago, some additional research showed that he was not the only guy that was older than his passport stated during the U19 FIBA World Championship. Artyom Skornyakov who was officially born in 1990 could be tracked back to the Russian team of Pulkovo where his profile shows a birthday of 1985. Back in 2004, the Kazakh press even published an article about his move from Russia to Kazakhstan and the possibility to get a Kazakh passport; a passport that according to sources is “sold” at the nice price of 2000USD (in cash most likely). An additional question mark is also behind the birth date of Berik Ismail who has tremendous similarities to a player that is listed as born in 1987 on Eurobasket.com with the name of Berik Ismailov. Until now, no answers from FIBA World on my mails whatsoever on this case.