The final qualifying event in the 2020-21 Euroleague Basketball Adidas Next Generation Tournament tips off this weekend in the Serbian capital, where eight clubs will compete for the top spot and an automatic berth at the end-of-season ANGT Finals.
ANGT Belgrade: Players to watch
The slate features teams hailing from six countries and players from many more. Some of these future stars of the hardwood will introduce themselves to the public at the ANGT Belgrade, as have countless before them. Here's a look at one top player from each team.
Nikola Jovic, U18 Mega Soccerbet Belgrade
This will be Jovic’s second ANGT after he collected 11.8 points, 4.0 rebounds, 3.0 assists, 1.3 steals and 0.8 blocks in Belgrade last season. He is averaging 27.6 points, 11.9 rebounds, 4.5 assists, 1.1 steals and 2.9 blocks in the Serbian U19 league and made his ABA Adriatic League debut this season with 10 points and 9 rebounds against Split. He played in all three games at the Radivoj Korac Cup final eight. The 2.08-meter forward was born in Leicester, England, and joined Mega in 2018. Jovic can play every position other than center and has great mobility for his size. He easily comes to points from different ways. Not only can he shoot, but he can also pass very well. On defense, he can cover all positions and does well blocking shots, too.
Yuval Levin, U18 Maccabi Tel Aviv
Levin will be playing at the ANGT for the third time. He made his debut at the ANGT Finals in 2018-19 with 3 points and 4 rebounds in 22 minutes over three games. Last season at the ANGT Belgrade, the 2.02-meter forward averaged 15.8 points, 5.3 rebounds, 1.8 assists and 2.5 steals while shooting 58.8% on three-pointers. In the U18 Israeli League, Levin has been worth 18.5 points and 8.0 rebounds per game this season. He is a smart player who can drive to the basket and also shoots well from three-point range. Levin, who is a member of Israel’s U18 national team, is also a very good post-up player.
Nikola Radovanovic, U18 Partizan NIS Belgrade
Radovanovic will be appearing at the ANGT Belgrade for a second time; he collected 15.8 points, 6.5 rebounds, 1.8 assists for a PIR of 18.8 last season in helping Partizan finish first. He was named to the all-tournament team for his performance. Radovanovic has also played for Serbia at the youth national team level and averaged 15.1 points, 7.3 rebounds, 1.3 assists and 1.3 steals at the FIBA U16 European Championship 2019. This season, the 2.04-meter forward made his debut in the Partizan senior team and also made his first appearance in the ABA Adriatic League. Radovanovic, who was born in Nevesinje, Bosnia and Herzegovina, is a highly competitive player, who also rebounds well thanks to his athleticism and speed.
Nikola Saranovic, U18 Crveza Zvezda mts Belgrade
Saranovic will be appearing in his second ANGT tournament after contributing 4.5 points, 4.0 rebounds, 1.0 assist and 1.0 steal at the ANGT Belgrade last season. He also has played for Serbia’s youth national teams and averaged 7.1 points, 3.0 rebounds, 1.6 assists and 1.7 steals at the FIBA U16 European Championship 2019. He helped Serbia to finish third at the 2019 European Youth Olympic Festival, too. This season Saranovic is averaging 12.1 points, 8.8 rebounds, 3.9 assists and 3.1 steals with five double-doubles in the Serbian U19 league. The 2.01-meter wing has all the predispositions for modern basketball: good athleticism, strong defense and a good feel for rebounding.
Danil Sheianov, U18 Lokomotiv Kuban Krasnodar
Sheianov will be making his debut in the ANGT this season. He has played on the international stage with averages of 5.0 points, 5.3 rebounds and 1.7 blocks in helping Russia reach the semifinals of the FIBA U16 European Championship 2019. This season, the 2.02-meter forward has produced 5.8 points and 2.9 rebounds in the U21 VTB Youth League as well as 14.6 points, 7.8 rebounds, 2.0 blocks, 1.3 steals in the U19 Russian Youth Championship. Sheianov is a versatile forward with great athleticism who can finish either at the basket and from long distance. Despite his size, he has great mobility and speed. He is also capable of guarding multiple positions and running the fast break.
Vukasin Todorovic, U18 Cedevita Olimpija Ljubljana
Todorovic will be making his ANGT debut this season. The 2004-born point guard plays for Olimpija’s U16 and U18 teams and has already debuted in the Slovenian first division, with averages of 4.0 points and 1.3 rebounds in 12 minutes a game. At 2.00 meters in height, Todorovic is very good in pick-and-roll situations and has good full-court vision. He can be dominating in one-on-one situations against opposing point guards. He can also rebound well and is successful in switching defense situations. Todorovic possesses a high basketball IQ and can easily recognize different situations on defense and offense.
Fedor Zugic, U18 Buducnost VOLI Podgorica
Zugic will be playing his second ANGT tournament; he was one of the leaders for U18 Stellazzurra Rome at last season’s ANGT Munich, where he helped the team to the first-place game and averaged 18.3 points, 2.3 rebounds and 2.8 assists as a player on loan. The guard became the youngest player to appear in a Turkish Airlines EuroLeague game when he played against Zalgiris Kaunas in Round 23 of the 2018-19 season. This season he has averaged 5.3 points, 0.9 rebounds, 0.4 assists and 0.5 steals in the 7DAYS EuroCup. The combo guard also was the second-leading scorer at the FIBA U16 European Championship 2018 with 18.9 points plus 4.9 rebounds, 1.4 assists and 1.9 steals for Montenegro. Zugic has great basketball instincts and a feel for the game. He has a long, wiry frame and good height for a shooting guard. He is a creative ball-handler and does a good job driving to the lane, where he can finish above the rim. The 1.98-meter guard has a promising outside shot with excellent form, a good release and he shoots with a lot of confidence. Zugic has a scorer’s mentality and won't lose his confidence even if he misses a few shots in a row.
Stefan Grasu, U18 U-BT Cluj Napoca Just like Cluj, Grasu will be making his ANGT debut this season. This will not be the first time he plays on the international stage though. He played for Romania at two FIBA U16 European Championship Division B tournaments - in 2017 as a 14-year-old and in 2019. He averaged 14.6 points, 10.6 rebounds and 1.5 steals in the second of those events. The 2.00-meter center has already made his Romanian senior national team debut, too. In November 2020, he played against Poland and Spain in the FIBA EuroBasket 2022 Qualifiers and collected 6 points, 4 rebounds and 1 assist in 25 combined minutes. Grasu, whose parents both were athletes and represented Romania at the Olympics, is one of the top prospects in Romanian basketball and is also a regular for Cluj’s senior team with averages of 5.5 points, 2.7 rebounds and 1.1 assists in the Romanian League. He runs the floor well and can also hit three-pointers and grab important rebounds. Grasu’s maturity, ambition and work ethic make him a special player.