The Euroleague Basketball Adidas Next Generation Tournament has long been one of the biggest highlights on the youth calendar.
Spanoulis-led Next Generation Teams offer young talents new opportunity
This season, the U18 tournament series has added an exciting, new dynamic with the introduction of Next Generation Teams that bring together a selection of top-level talents who could not play for any of the ANGT clubs chosen to compete.
What's more, each of these select teams, at all four qualifying tournaments and the finals, are being coached by an icon of world basketball, recently retired Euroleague Basketball superstar Vassilis Spanoulis.
The prospects due to take the floor as U18 Next Generation Team Belgrade were assembled for the first qualifier on this season's tournament calendar and definitely give fans of yourth basketball yet another reason to watch the tournament in the Serbian capital.
"I want to congratulate adidas and EuroLeague for making this team and giving these kids the opportunity to participate in this tournament," Spanoulis said on Thursday, the eve of the tournment. "There are some really good talents and they will have the opportunity to show their talent and character all over Europe."
The NGT Belgrade side is headlined by the 2005-born Spars Sarajevo forward Filip Jovic as well as 2006-born Turkish forward Demir Dogan, who normally suits up for MZT Skopje.
Other players include Jovic's Spars teammate Zinedine Mulic as well as the duo of Filip Malesevic and Ilija Milijasevic, who play for the up-and-coming youth development club Dynamic Belgrade.
There are two other Turkish players on the team, with Eray Buyukcangaz of Derby Podgorica and Dogan's MZT Spokje teammate Samet Yigitoglu, and there is also 2007-born Avtandil Bakhtadze of Georgia.
"I feel very good that I will coach these young talents," Spanoulis added. "I'm looking forward to talking with them about how they see basketball and help them and inspire them to make the next step in their basketball lives."
The other three ANGT events – scheduled for Munich, Germany, Patras, Greece, and Varese, Italy – will also include NGT teams that will be coached by Spanoulis.