European Prospects

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Nike International Junior Tournament Day 3 (live from Barcelona)

May 7th, 2011 · No Comments

The third day of the NIJT in Barcelona was filled with individual brilliance of some players and the confirmation of some of the hottest names of the last months. With KK Zagreb and Zalgiris Kaunas reaching the final, clearly the two best teams will fight tomorrow for the crown as both emerged as the most stacked with prospects from an individual point of view or an above average team play in a tournament that is not on an outstanding level though because of the absence of several key players.

KK Zagreb did not wait long against Fenerbahce to underline their favorite status of the tournament. With their already mentioned 2-3-4 axis around Dominik Mavra, Mario Hezonja and Dario Saric, they have a fantastic worker in the paint with Filip Knezevic who creates multiple second chances for his team mates. Knezevic came up with a great 7 offensive rebounds today against the Turkish team where Berkay Candan was too alone with the scoring. Dario Saric had an amazing game by concentrating on what he can do best. He finished with 26 points and 16 rebounds that were assorted with 3 assists and “only” 4 turnovers. Dominik Mavra continued to shine on the scoring side with 22pts but also added 5rebs and 5asts while Hezonja had his stat sheet filled with 26pts, 11rebs, 5asts and 3stls. It will be highly interesting to see how these three will operate against the well oiled green machine from Kaunas in the Final tomorrow.

In a game that finally meant nothing, FMP managed to beat INSEP behind a great game of the 1995 born Dusan Ristic who used his length very well against the French inside defenders. Ristic has passed Bezbradica in terms of offensive production amazingly quick as he finished with 18pts and 15rebs. Stefan Popovski came up with an usual performance as he scored 19pts while the other 95 born Nikola Rebic was a lot better than yesterday. On the French side Livio Jean-Charles is playing his heart out with 25pts and 7rebs but he does not get enough support from his team mates. The newly Chalon signed Ulysse Adjagba had 13pts and inside player Mam Jaiteh went for 13 as well but Hugo Invernizzi had a day off as he scored only 3pts in 37 minutes on court. He had 5rebs and 7asts but it was not enough for the French to win this contest.

Zalgiris Kaunas played a super impressive first half against Barcelona where the Spanish team managed to score only 13 points, of which only two came in the second 10 minutes. The Zalgiris roster is so deep that no player had to go for more than 22 minutes and 11 of the 12 players had at least 13 minutes on the court. Arturas Gudaitis showed again his impressive presence in the rebound with 17 boards while Tauras Jogela put on the show with 18pts. Kaspars Vecvagars and Tomas Dimsa came up with 13pts each while on the Spanish side, it was only Nacho Marin who was able to score in double figures.

In the last game of the day, China destroyed a Crvena Zvezda team that did not look particularly motivated anymore knowing that they were out of the race for the Final. So the Chinese players could flourish their stat line like Ailun Guo who had 22pts and 5asts. On the Serbian side, you can point out to Andrija Bojic who finished with 14pts and Ivan Marinkovic who had 13pts.

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