The 18th edition of the Euroleague Basketball Adidas Next Generation Tournament begins this weekend in Valencia, where eight teams from five countries with some of the top young talents from the continent and beyond will be on display.
ANGT Valencia: Players to watch 2019
It's an excellent opportunity to see these prospects in action with each team guaranteed at least four games. Let's get to know some of the players to watch.
Alonso Faure, U18 Valencia Basket
Faure will be playing his second ANGT after averaging 8.8 points and 6.5 rebounds at the ANGT Valencia last season, including 12 points and 5 rebounds in the first-place game. The 2.06-meter forward then collected 12.3 points, 5.0 rebounds and 2.3 assists at the ANGT Finals. Faure, who has not yet represented Spain internationally, is playing this season in the EBA for Valencia's second team. He has excellent conditioning, possesses a natural flair for blocking shots and is a good rebounder. Faure has a good mid-range shot and is excellent in the open court.
Pau Tendero, U18 FC Barcelona
Tendero will be appearing in the competition for a second season after posting 3.5 points and 1.8 rebounds at the ANGT Valencia last year. He helped Spain to second place at the FIBA U16 European Championship 2018, averaging 10.7 points, 2.3 rebounds and 2.4 assists. The 1.94-meter shooting guard is playing this season for Barcelona’s second team in the LEB Silver. He played one game last season in the LEB Gold. Tendero assumes responsibility on offense and is strong in one-on-one situations. He is quick and has good leaping ability with a variety of finishes around the basket. He brings good energy and intensity to the team and is very active defensively.
Khalifa Diop, U18 Herbalife Gran Canaria
Diop will be playing in his second ANGT season after he averaged 4.5 points, 3.0 rebounds and 1.0 blocks at the 2017-18 ANGT L’Hospitalet. The 2.08-meter center competed for Senegal at the FIBA U19 Basketball World Cup 2019 and was worth 13.1 points, 7.0 rebounds, 1.4 assists, 1.3 steals and 1.3 blocks. He made his Turkish Airlines EuroLeague debut last season with 3 points, 4 rebounds and 1 steal against Maccabi FOX Tel Aviv. In late November 2019, Diop made his Liga Endesa debut, but has otherwise played this season in the LEB Silver. He already has the physique to play professionally and is fast for his size with fluid motions on the court and excellent footwork and speed. He is a good shot-blocker, very active on the glass at both ends and gets up and down the court quickly in transition.
Pablo Sanchez, U18 Unicaja Malaga
Sanchez will be making his ANGT debut in Valencia. The 1.92-meter point guard played for Spain at the FIBA U16 European Championship 2018 and helped the Spanish finish in second place by averaging 2.3 points, 2.9 rebounds and 3.0 assists in 17.2 minutes. Sanchez made his Liga Endesa debut in October 2018 against Zaragoza and played three 7DAYS EuroCup games in 2018-19. He is playing this season in the EBA and has already appeared in one EuroCup for 4 minutes against Dolomitri Energia Trento. Sanchez is a leader on the court and has good court vision. His game also includes a very reliable three-point shot, especially off the dribble.
Matthew Strazel, U18 LDLC ASVEL Villeurbanne
Strazel is appearing in his third ANGT season for ASVEL. In 2017-18 he averaged 11.3 points, 2.5 rebounds and 3.0 assists at the ANGT L’Hospitalet and then posted 16.3 points, 4.5 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 2.8 steals at ANGT Valencia last season. The 1.82-meter guard is averaging 1.9 points and 1.3 assists in the French ProA this season as well as 2.6 points, 1.2 rebounds and 1.0 assists in 14 minutes over five games in the Turkish Airlines Euroleague. He has been dominating the French U21 league with 19.8 points, 3.8 rebounds, 5.3 assists and 1.6 steals per game. Strazel is a great shooter who cares about his defense. He is a skilled guard with speed in the open court and the ability to get to the rim. To take the next step, he must improve on his playmaking decisions in pick-and-roll situations.
Filip Paponja, U18 Cibona Zagreb
Paponja will be playing in his first ANGT competition. The 1.89-meter point guard has a lot of experience with the Croatian national team ranks. He helped Croatia to the title at the FIBA U16 European Championship 2018 with 4.4 points 3.0 rebounds, 4.9 assists and 2.3 steals per game. That summer he also appeared in the FIBA U17 Basketball World Cup 2018 and the FIBA U18 European Championship 2019. Paponja, who has been with Cibona since 2013, played an important role in Cibona winning the regional U19 ABA Junior league in April 2019 in addition to helping the club win the domestic championship. This season he is playing in the Croatia A2 and ABA U19 leagues. Paponja is an outstanding point guard with excellent anticipation and passing skills. He excels in taking and making important shots in games and also possesses good leadership skills.
Iosof Koloveros, U18 Olympiacos Piraeus
This will be Koloveros's third ANGT appearance after he had 6.5 points, 1.8 rebounds, 1.5 assists and 1.5 steals at ANGT Munich in 2017-18 and then 19.0 points, 3.8 rebounds 5.8 assists and 1.8 steals at last season's ANGT Belgrade. The 1.82-meter point guard also has a lot of experience with the Greek youth national teams; he averaged 9.0 points, 3.7 rebounds, 2.6 assists and 2.0 steals at the FIBA U16 European Championship 2018 and then 3.5 points, 1.7 rebounds, 1.8 assists and 0.7 steals at the FIBA U19 Basketball World Cup 2019. Koloveros appeared in two games for Olympiacos's main team in the A1 division last season and plays regularly for the top team in the A2 this season. He is a playmaker with an explosive first step and the ability to penetrate and finish from mid-range or find the right pass. He is a very good shooter - both on the spot-up or after a pick-and-roll. Koloveros controls the game well and almost always makes the right decision. He is a solid defender both on and off the ball. He has a great understanding of the game and a great attitude.
Batin Tuna, U18 Tofas Bursa
Tuna will be making his ANGT debut, though the 1.97-meter guard has international experience with the Turkish national team. Tuna helped Turkey to third place at the FIBA U16 European Championship 2018 after averaging 5.8 points and 5.8 rebounds. The 2003-born player followed that up with 12.1 points, 5.6 rebounds, 4.9 assists and 2.0 steals as Turkey’s captain at the U16 European Championship 2019. Tuna made his Tofas senior team debut this season against ITU with 5 points, 3 rebounds and 4 assists, but has otherwise played in the U19 league. He takes advantage of his size in one-on-one situations. Tuna's defense is ready for the high level and he is a good rebounder for his size.