The Euroleague Basketball Adidas Next Generation Tournament returns to action this weekend with the ANGT Istanbul qualifying event. Future stars from all over Europe will be on display with teams from six countries in action, all vying to clinch one of three automatic berths to the ANGT Finals.
ANGT Istanbul: Players to watch
The Euroleague Basketball Adidas Next Generation Tournament returns to action this weekend with the ANGT Istanbul qualifying event. Future stars from all over Europe will be on display with teams from six countries in action, all vying to clinch one of three automatic berths to the ANGT Finals. Here's a chance to get familiar with a top performer from each team in preparation for an exciting tournament.
Ulas Merdoglu, U18 Fenerbahce Beko Istanbul
This is will be Merdoglu’s first ANGT event. As a 2005-born player he will be two years younger than the rest of the competition. The 2.04 meter big man joined Fenerbahce in 2016. He is averaging 6.3 points, 4.5 rebounds and what 1.2 blocks in the Turkish U19 league this season. He is a good rebounder and shot-blocker.
Nicola Giordano, U18 Stellazzurra Rome
Giordano will be appearing in an ANGT tournament for the third time. Last season he averaged 8.3 points, 1.3 rebounds, 4.0 assists and 2.0 steals at the ANGT Munich. In 2018-19, the 1.88-meter guard contributed 12.5 points, 2.0 rebounds, 2.0 assists and 2.0 steals at the ANGT Kaunas. He helped Italy to third place at the FIBA U16 European Championship 2019 with 6.6 points, 1.9 rebounds and 2.0 assists per game. Giordano is currently playing in the Italian second division and averaging 6.6 points, 1.5 assists and 1.2 rebounds per game. He plays well at both ends of the court. Giordano brings energy and intensity to the team, especially at the defensive end with his solid physique helping to be a good defender. The guard has a great work ethic on and off the court and is mature for his age. He is not afraid of big moments or taking a risk. He is a great scorer who can go to the basket or shoot at a high percentage. And his speed makes him difficult to defend in transition.
Ugnius Jarusevicius, U18 Zalgiris Kaunas
This will be the second ANGT for Jarusevicius after he collected 4.3 points, 3.5 rebounds, 0.8 assists and 1.0 steals per game last season at the ANGT Kaunas. He also has played internationally for Lithuania. He contributed 3.9 points and 2.7 rebounds at the FIBA U16 European Championship 2019. Jarusevicius is a 2.05-meter big man playing for Zalgiris's senior team in the second division and averaging 4.3 points and 3.2 rebounds. He is quite mobile for his height and can play facing the basket or post-up. He has midrange distance on his shot and is a fine free throw shooter.
Gustav Knudsen, U18 Casademont Zaragoza
Knudsen will be playing at his third ANGT. He suited up with Zaragoza at the ANGT Kaunas last season and averaged 11.3 points, 5.8 rebounds, 2.5 assists, 1.5 steals and 1.3 blocks. The 2.04-meter guard played at the 2018-19 ANGT Kaunas as well for Danish team U18 DBA Copenhagen. The Denmark native has played two games in the Spanish League this season, combining for 2 points in 4 minutes. He also helped Denmark to finish third at the FIBA U16 European Championship 2019 Division B with 16.5 points, 10.5 rebounds, 3.5 assists, 2.0 steals and 2.0 blocks. Knudsen has great physical attributes and can run and play in the open court. He also plays good defense and excels at the one-on-one game. Despite playing as a shooting guard or small forward, he contributes by pushing the ball on offense and helps a lot in rebounding at both ends of the court.
Jakub Necas, U18 Basket Brno
Just like his club Brno, Necas will be appearing at the ANGT for the first time. The 2.02-meter small forward has played on the international stage with the Czech Republic at the FIBA U16 European Championship 2019 Division B, where he averaged 10.7 points, 6.0 rebounds, 2.0 assists and 1.7 steals. The 2004-born Necas is a left-handed, all-around player who can play various positions on the floor. He has a great feel for the game and is not afraid to mix it up. He is one of the leaders of the team and excels in the open court, can slash to the rim and finish with both hands. Necas is also a good catch-and-shoot three-point shooter and versatile defender.
Batin Tuna, U18 Tofas Bursa
This will be Tuna’s second experience at the ANGT after he contributed 10.3 points, 8.0 rebounds, 3.3 assists and 2.8 steals at the ANGT Valencia last season. The shooting guard also appeared in two 7DAYS EuroCup games last season 2019-20, playing 8:44 minutes and capturing 1 steal. Tuna has appeared in 11 Turkish League games this season. He also has played for Turkey at the FIBA U16 European Championship in 2018 and 2019, taking a bronze medal in 2018 and then recording 12.1 points, 5.6 rebounds, 4.9 assists and 2.0 steals in 2019. He has a powerful right-hand penetration and is versatile enough to play various positions thanks to his physical build and knowledge of the game. Tuna can play the pick-and-roll and is a reliable spot-up three-point shooter. He has a good instinct for chasing the rebound and can find easy baskets from the weak side with cuts. If he improves his left-hand penetration, he will become a top prospect.
Koralp Turk, U18 Anadolu Efes Istanbul
Turk will be making his debut in the ANGT. He has played for Turkey’s youth national teams where he averaged 8.7 points, 5.6 rebounds and 1.3 assists at the FIBA U16 European Championship 2019. He was selected as the MVP of his age class's national tournament in 2019. The power forward also has experience outside his country; he spent last season playing high school basketball in the United States. Turk can stretch the floor with his consistent outside shots, but he also can be productive around the rim and has a high basketball IQ.
Eli Ndiaye, U18 Real Madrid Eli Ndiaye will be playing in his second ANGT after he averaged 16.5 points, 7.8 rebounds, 1.5 assists, 2.0 steals and 0.8 blocks at the ANGT Munich last season, including collecting 15 points, 9 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 steal and 2 blocks in the first-place game. He is averaging 11.5 points and 7.2 rebounds this season in the Spanish fourth division EBA league. This is the 2004-born Senegal center’s fourth season with Real Madrid. The 2.03 meter big man is an inside player with a lot of strength and mobility. Ndiaye can alternate the power forward and center positions. He is a very good finisher with a lot of resources, including a good perimeter shot.