European Prospects

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NIJT FMP Tournament Day 1 (live from Belgrade)

February 13th, 2010 · No Comments

After having arrived on Thursday in the capital of Serbia, we had to get up early today after a night of Serbian folk music to check out the games of this year’s edition of the FMP City of Belgrade Basketball tournament. The tournament is one of the 4 qualifiers for the Nike International Junior Tournament Final in Paris.

  • The day started with the game between Buducnost Podgorica and FMP. The Montenegrin team could stay in the game for a certain time, but FMP outmatched them physically and took home the first win of the tournament. With 6 guys in double efficiency and double scoring figures, it was a good team effort for the hosts where Nikola Siladi and Nemanja Bezbradica closed the paint with either 14pts 9rebs and 17pts 4rebs and 5 combined blocks. Marko Mugosa showed some promise for Budcunost and Radovan Petricic was nice from behind the arc.
  • During the same time, ASVEL beat Crvena Zvedza in the second gym of the FMP complex.

  • Then came one of the memorable games of the day with INSEP facing Hemofarm Vrsac. The Serbians totally dominated the first half in a way that I decided to leave the gym after the first twenty minutes and a 56-40 lead at halftime. But in the 2nd half, the French came back to win this one in the final minutes. Mathis Keita took over the game and had 21pts 5rebs 6asts to lead the INSEP team that played without several of their 1992 born prospects (Pourchot, Westermann). For the Serbians, the top scorer was Nemanja Knezevic with 29pts and 6rebs.
  • I followed then the second half of the game between Partizan Belgrade and Brose Baskets Bamberg. The German team got big problems flying in from Munich as their flight not only had several hours of delay (arriving in the night a 1.30am), but also all of their bags got lost and they had to play with FMP jerseys and shoes. However, they were close to beat Partizan as long as Philipp Neumann was not fouled out. The German Center showed a real nice game here, playing a lot less selfish than we usually know him. But it was not enough and Partizan took a first win home.
  • After a long lunch break and a short opening ceremony, the second part of the day started with FMP playing against ASVEL. The French team was totally undersized so that it was an easy win for the hosts that could give minutes to everyone on their bench. ASVEL was lead again by 3 1994 players with nice potential, Mallal Fall, Lambert Diacono and especially Gide Noel. For FMP, Nikola Pavlovic had a good game with 20pts 10rbes.

Update (14-2-2010): due to a printing error in the official booklet, the birth dates of the ASVEL players interchanged. Malal Fall and Lambert Diacono are born in 1992 and Gide Noel is born in 1993.

  • Brose Baskets Bamberg played then against INSEP and the Germans could barely stay in the game more than 2 quarters. The French were too dominant and hit their shots with good percentages. William Howard showed his scoring talent with 19pts 6rebs 3asts and 4 steals.
  • Switching the gyms once again, I could follow the 2nd half of another Partizan win, this time against Hemofarm Vrsac. In a packed gym, the Belgrade team showed a good effort behind Marko Josilo and his 8pts 9rebs and the presence of Nemanja Besovic in the paint. The game was on the edge when Nemanja Knezevic made his 5th (discussable) foul several minutes before the end.
  • Only three NBA teams were present on Day 1 in Belgrade: Minnesota Timberwolves, Indiana Pacers and the Portland Trailblazers.
  • The atmosphere in the gyms was a bit different of the regular tournaments I visit. Not only that the securities is assured by armed policemen, the crowd is very different to other tournaments. Next to usual family members, you see a lot for former and current basketball players and coaches. Next to the above mentioned NBA Teams, we could see guys like Dusan Ivkovic, Matej Mamic or Bosko Djokic and a lot of other Serbian coaches involved in both the first league or with the different youth clubs of the Belgrade region.

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