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Generation Ranking: 1992 born players (UPDATE)

August 25th, 2010 · 2 Comments

With the U18 European Championships in the books, it was about time to update our Ranking of the 1992 born players. This category is still easily dominated by Lithuania and it was tough to find a 2nd best team because of either the absence of the main 92 born players in the U18 European Championship or the important part of 93 born players with the teams having a good result. So here we go for the update of the 1992 Ranking.

1. Lithuania (-)

There is not a lot to say about the generation except that it is dominating European Youth Basketball. Combined with the 2008 U16 European Championship, this team is on a 17 game winning streak with an average advantage of 23 points per game. The presence of the overall top-talent Jonas Valanciunas together with a nice variety of scorers on the wing and a PG in Vytenis Cizauskas who is able to run the team makes them one of the most dominant teams of the last years. It is probably the first generation since the 1987 born Serbians to go for the Grand-Slam by winning the Gold Medal in the three youth categories. Additionally, they are one of the top favorites for the Gold at the 2011 U19 World Championship in Latvia

2. Latvia (+12)

A Bronze Medal was the surprising result for this Latvian team that is improving before the upcoming World Championships in their country. The team around Davis Bertans has made the biggest step forward in our Ranking after being only at the 14th place before. Several players showed great progress over the last two years and their 3rd place was absolutely deserved. I put them ahead of the Silver Medalist Russia because of their main rotation being built on 92 born players like the above mentioned Bertans, Janis Timma or Edmunds Dukulis.

3. Serbia (+2)

Despite finishing fourth in the U18 European Championship, Serbia reached the third place in the Ranking because they could add some talent in Stefan Nastic but also because their full team is based on 92 born players. This generation, that is generally considered as “only” average in Serbia is however putting up nice results with a 5th and a 4th place respectively and may end up being a Medal candidate in two years at the U20 level.

4. Russia (+5)

Russia won the Silver Medal but moved up only to the 4th place in the Ranking because of the massive presence of 93 born players in the team. Dimitry Kulagin and Alexander Varnakov are the leaders of the 92 born players but the overall talent level of this generation is good. It will be interesting to see how the rest of the group develops over the next two years and if they are able to rival Lithuania as the top-team in two years.

5. France (+2)

Despite the absence of three major players, France could finish at the 7th place in Lithuania which was worth to upgrade this generation a bit more. With the return of Leo Westermann, Evan Fournier and Vincent Pourchot, this team looks rather interesting for the next years. Unfortunately, they could not qualify for the U19 World Championship next summer which would have been a great place to see them back at full force.

6. Turkey (-3)

The Turkish team finished at a disappointing 9th place at the U18 European Championship but the absence of top-talent Enes Kanter is a major explication for this result. With him, the team could have certainly gone higher but it also showed that the rest of the generation is nothing special for a country like Turkey that regularly produces interesting players. Therefore, the drop in the ranking is explicable despite having one of the most promising players of the generation. However, it has to be seen how Kanter has developed since he left for the United States.

7. Spain (-5)

Even more disappointing than Turkey was the result for Spain that ended up 11th which is the worst result since 2000 on the U18 level. In general, the 1992 born generation is not coming up with big results as these players also finished only at the 6th place on the U16 level. Their good result at the Albert-Schweitzer Tournament only underlined the limited level of that tournament compared to this European Championship.

8. Croatia (+2)

Croatia had a good tournament in Lithuania but it is difficult to say where they would have ended had they played without 94 born Dario Saric. Still, the result helped them to climb a few spots in our Ranking despite the absence of major talents in this age group for the country.

9. Greece (+3)

One top-player and an 8th spot in the end helped Greece to be among the top improvers of this update. Linos Chrysikopoulos becomes more and more a top 3 talent of the 1992 born players in Europe and he helped his team to reach the Quarter-Final round. Without him, they would have probably played the relegation round as the overall talent level of this Greek generation is limited.

10. Czech Republic (-4)

This Czech generation finished at a surprising 2nd place 2 years ago on the U16 level and now also helped the country to move up to Division A on the U18 level by dominating the B Division tournament in Tel Aviv. It is a quite balanced team with no outstanding prospects but a good overall talent level that underlines the progress of the Czech Basketball in general. In a few years, the republic will probably have an interesting senior squad.

11. Germany (-7)

The big loser of this Ranking is Germany as the talented generation could not confirm their potential in Lithuania and had to go to the relegation round. The main prospects did not show massive improvement either so it will be interesting to see how these players develop in the future.

12. Italy (-4)

Is Alessandro Gentile a plus or a minus for this Italian generation. In Lithuania, he could not really help his team to reach a good result as Italy continues to struggle in youth categories. Their last Medal is already 5 years old (U18 won Bronze in 2005) and the current trend is downwards.

13. Poland (NEW)

A good result in Lithuania that was however mainly based on the 93 born players. The 1992 generation does not feature great talent in Poland.

14. Ukraine (-3)

A 14th place in Lithuania that was built a lot on the progress of a 1993 born player in Olexiy Len.

15. Slovenia (NEW)

A 10th place in Lithuania helped Slovenia to enter the Ranking but the absence of any high-class talent limits them to a still correct 15h place.

16. Montenegro (-1)

The non-promotion to Division A at the U18 level still hinders the development of Montenegrin youth basketball. Maybe next year will be the right one to improve in the Ranking as well.

17. Israel (NEW)

With the extension of the Ranking to 20 teams, there are a few more new teams coming in. The 4th place at the U18 B gave Israel one of the spots.

18. Finland (NEW)

A totally surprising result (2nd in U18 B Division) which was probably based a lot on the high-quality coaching of Gordon Herbert. However, this Finnish generation features some interesting players and gives the opportunity to the 93 born guys to perform on A Division level.

19. Sweden (-6)

The relegation was a disappointment for Sweden as the team wanted to remain in Division A, especially for the more talented 1993 born players. Now, that generation needs to fight back to Division A next summer.

20. Bulgaria (NEW)

The last place at the U18 A Division in Lithuania means still a 16th place overall. So a 20th spot in this ranking seems ok as we don’t see many teams in B Division that could be considered more talented.

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