Eight teams from six countries will compete at this weekend's Adidas Next Generation Tournament qualifying event in Kaunas, Lithuania, and they arrive with some of the best age 18-and-younger talents in Europe.
ANGT Kaunas: Players to Watch
Here is a primer on some of the best-known among the many talents worth keeping an eye on.
Davide Casarin, U18 Umana Reyer Venice
Casarin will be participating in his second ANGT after being named to the All-Tournament Team at ANGT Belgrade last season, where he averaged 18.3 points, 4.3 rebounds, 4.8 assists, 2.3 steals and 1.0 blocks despite being two years below the maximum age. The 1.97-meter point guard has played in two 7DAYS EuroCup games this season in which he tallied 2.0 points, 0.5 rebounds and 1.5 assists in 8 minutes per game. He also appeared in three EuroCup games last season. Casarin, whose father Federico Casarin is a former player and now the president of the Reyer club, played for Italy twice last summer at two age levels. He averaged 8.8 points, 2.5 rebounds, 2.3 assists and 1.5 steals at the FIBA U18 European Championship 2019 and then guided Italy to third place at the FIBA U16 European Championship 2019 with 15.5 points, 5.3 rebounds, 4.2 assists and 1.2 steals. Casarin can play both guard positions thanks to his strong body and his athletic skills that allow him to dominate opponents. He can create shots in multiple ways, but also can create for teammates with his great basketball IQ and passing skills. He is a smart defender on the ball, even against taller and stronger players.
Kriss Helmanis, U18 Joventut Badalona
Helmanis will be playing his second ANGT after posting 1.3 points, 2.8 rebounds and 1.0 blocks last season at ANGT Valencia. The 2.10-meter center from Latvia is in his second season in Joventut's youth ranks. He is averaging 2.5 points and 1.9 rebounds for Prat Joventut in the LEB Silver third division. He collected 6.0 points, 6.6 rebounds, 1.2 assists, 1.8 steals and 1.6 blocks at the FIBA U16 European Championship 2018. Over the past two years, Helmanis's physical and technical skills have improved noticeably. He can use both hands to finish and has very good vision for an interior player to pass the ball and create for others.
Cameron Hildreth, U18 Barking Abbey London
Hildreth will be playing his first ANGT as the club returns to the competition for the first time since 2009-10. He has played twice for Great Britain internationally. He was worth 11.1 points, 3.6 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 1.9 steals at the FIBA U16 European Championship 2018, Division B and then averaged 3.2 points, 2.4 rebounds and 1.0 steals at the FIBA U18 European Championship 2019. The 1.95-meter guard is averaging 18.9 points, 6.0 rebounds, 3.3 assists and 1.4 steals in the English second division D1. He is a pure shooter with a very high basketball IQ. Hildreth can score in a variety of ways and is getting better in creating for others.
Gustav Knudsen, U18 Casademont Zaragoza
Knudsen will be playing his second ANTG season after averaging 15.8 points, 5.5 rebounds and 2.0 steals at ANGT Kaunas last season for DBA Copenhagen. Last summer, he helped Denmark finish third at the FIBA U16 European Championship 2019, Division B and earn promotion to Division A, with 16.5 points, 10.5 rebounds, 3.5 assists, 2.0 steals and 2.0 blocks. The 2.03-meter guard joined Zaragoza last summer and has averaged 10 points on 41 percent three-pointers, 4.2 rebounds and 1.5 steals in 23 minutes in the EBA league. Knudsen is the leader of his team with his great athletic ability. He can cover multiple positions in the game, plays great in the open court and shoots very well from three-point range. He is also a very good and aggressive defender and rebounds well at both ends of the court.
Paulius Murauskas, U18 Zalgiris Kaunas
Murauskas will be playing at his second ANGT despite being two years younger than most as a 2004-born player. The 2.02-meter forward collected 4 points and 3 rebounds in 5 minutes over two games at last year's ANGT Kaunas and then averaged 10.3 points, 5.7 rebounds, 1.0 assists, 1.3 steals and 1.0 blocks at the ANGT Finals. Murauskas played for Lithuania at the FIBA U16 European Championship 2019 as a year younger than the maximum age and averaged 12.3 points, 7.7 rebounds and 1.4 assists. He is getting consistent minutes in the Lithuanian second division this season against grown men. Murauskas has a great feel for the game, can score from the outside as well as from the inside. He plays face to the basket more, but he is a fighter and does damage under the basket as well.
David Mutaf, U18 Fenerbahce Beko Istanbul
Mutaf will be playing his third ANGT. Last season, he averaged 16.3 points, 5.3 rebounds and 3.3 assists at ANGT Belgrade. The 1.98-meter guard helped Turkey finish third at the FIBA U16 European Championship 2018 when he collected 11.0 points, 3.4 rebounds and 1.9 assists per game. Mutaf is an excellent shooter - both spot up and off the dribble. He has very good court vision. Mutaf, who is left-handed, is very effective at creative attacking to the left. His right hand has improved since last year and is getting better. Mutaf has good size for his position and is fast enough to defend quick guards.
Azoulas Tubelis, U18 Rytas Vilnius
Tubelis is playing in the ANGT for a third season after playing for Rytas at the ANGT Finals in 2018 and winning the U18 continental title. He helped that cause with averages of 2.0 points and 2.0 rebounds. Last season Tubelis collected 15.3 points, 6.5 rebounds, 3.0 steals and 2.8 blocks at ANGT Kaunas and then 22.0 points, 9.7 rebounds, 1.3 steals and 1.7 blocks at the ANGT Finals. Tubelis, whose twin brother Tautvilas is also on the team, played two summers for Lithuania at the FIBA U16 European Championship. He averaged 14.3 points, 10.4 rebounds and 2.7 blocks in 2018. Last summer Tubelis tallied 14.9 points, 12.6 rebounds and 3.4 blocks at the FIBA U18 European Championship 2019. The 2.06-meter forward made his 7DAYS EuroCup debut this season and has split time playing in the Lithuanian first and second divisions, averaging 3.8 points and 1.4 rebounds in five LKL top-flight games. He has an athletic body, long arms and can play any frontcourt position.
Victor Wembanyama, U18 Nanterre 92
Wembanyama will be playing in his first ANGT as Nanterre makes its debut in the competition. Wembanyama has already made a name in international basketball by helping France take second place at the FIBA U16 European Championship 2019 with 9.0 points, 9.6 rebounds, 1.4 assists, 1.3 steals and a tournament-best 5.3 blocks to earn a spot in the All-Star Five. The 2004-born center has played 3:07 minutes in two games in the 7DAYS EuroCup this season. Wembanyama, who towers over opponents at 2.19 meters, has a very good shot with three-point range. He has a good handle with the ball and a very good basketball IQ.