European Prospects

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NIJT Kaunas 2012 (Day 1 Review)

February 11th, 2012 · 2 Comments

The first Nike International Junior Tournament of the year but the third already of the 2011-2012 season started this morning very early in Kaunas. In the huge Zalgiris Arena in front of a handful spectators in the beginning, the tournament is looking for a third team to qualify for the Final event in Istanbul.

USK Future Stars – TopSportSchool 76-105

The game between the Czech basketball team and the Belgian school was dominated from the start by the guy from Vlanderen. In fact, the TopSportSchool regroups the best basketball players in a federation-private school. They showed fantastic fighting spirit and team effort to totally destroy the Czechs with their intensity and skills. Behind the scoring efforts of Naim el Khounchar and the versatility of Arno Mollekens, Prague could not do anything despite the 22 points of Petr Safarcik. In the end, it was an easy first win for the Belgian team in the competition.

MVP: Arno Mollekens 18pts (8/8 FGs), 8 rebs, 2stls, 1ast, 1blk

Zalgiris Kaunas – Vaerlose BBK 100-65

The Danish newcomers to the event had some problems in the beginning and were playing without their top prospect Rasmus Larsen. With a little scoring run, they came back in the game but Zalgiris took over during the second quarter behind the efforts of Marius Grigonis and the athleticism of Tomas Dimsa. The second half showed nothing particular on both sides except that the teams finished the game easily.

MVP: Marius Grigonis 18pts, 5rebs , 2stls, 2asts, 31rkg in 21 minutes

CBA Academy – Elan Chalon 61-51

The game between the Spanish basketball school and the French Centre de Formation was awaited by the few scouts in the building as several top prospects were present on the court. The very aggressive and intense CBA team put some pressure on the French players that struggled in the beginning. However, they slowly came back in the game before halftime but a final sprint with the help of the Latvian Oskars Reinfelds gave them an 11 point lead at half. The French team never was able to cut the lead below 8-10 points so that the CBA cruised to their first win in the tournament.

MVP: Jito Kok 12pts, 6rebs, 3blks

VEF Riga – Khimiki Moscow 64-72 (OT)

Khimiki took the game into their hands right from the start behind the inside presence of Stanislav Ilnitskiy who could do what he wanted in the paint. He got some support by Rostislav Karenin who found some easy baskets in the second quarter. The third quarter was a different story then as the Latvians managed to come back in the game behind their constant drives to the basket and a bit more luck in their shooting. The game remained close and both teams could not create a major lead. As both of them misused their last possession, it went to overtime. VEF had the better start but were unable to score afterwards and Khimki brought this one home.

MVP: Rostislav Karenin 21pts (8/11 FGs), 12rebs, 33rkg

Vaerlose BBK – USK Future Stars 64-55

USK started better into the game with Lukas Festr showing his left handed jump shot. But Vaerlose, who played without Larsen this time, was not impressed by the early difference and came out really strong in the second quarter that they won 23-6 with Peter Moeller running the point very well. Prague was not shocked by this period and fought their way back into the game in the third quarter. They could even tie the score in the last period but the inside presence of Jacob Jensen finally was too much.

MVP: Jacob Jensen 16pts, 16rebs, 2blks, 24rkg

TopSportSchool – Zalgiris Kaunas 67-102

Zalgiris put right from the start a lot of defensive pressure on the Belgian guards who had problems to bring up the ball. With a major deficit in the defensive rebound, TopSportSchool had no chance whatsoever in the beginning of the game. The Lithuanians run ahead to over twenty points already in the first half. The second half showed nothing special to remember as Zalgiris managed their lead until the end.

MVP: Tomas Dimsa 21pts (9/10 FGs), 2rebs, 2asts, 2stls, 2blks, 25rkg

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