The third ticket to the Adidas Next Generation Tournament Finals will be handed out in Lithuania with the ANGT Kaunas featuring past continental champions U18 Zalgiris Kaunas, U18 Rytas Vilnius and U18 Joventut Badalona, 2012 runner-up U18 Fenerbahce Beko Istanbul as well as two teams making their debuts in this competition in U18 Casademont Zaragoza and U18 Nanterre 92.
Three former champs, two debutants among ANGT Kaunas field
The other teams competing in Kaunas are U18 Umana Reyer Venice and U18 Barking Abbey London. The teams are split into two four-team groups and will play round-robin games against the others in the group. The two group winners will face off in the first-place game with the victor advancing to the ANGT Finals at the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague Final Four in Cologne, Germany, in May. The winning team will join U18 Herbalife Gran Canaria and U18 Real Madrid, which won the ANGT Valencia and ANGT Munich tournaments, respectively, to secure their spots in the eight-team ANGT Finals.
Group A includes host Zalgiris, debutants Nanterre and Zaragoza as well as Reyer. Zalgiris won the continental title in 2003 and 2007 and reached the ANGT Championship Game in 2005, 2006 and 2011. Zalgiris finished first at the ANGT Kaunas last season after having its 22-game winning streak at the tournament snapped in 2018. Since Nanterre and Zaragoza face off in Group A action, one of the teams is guaranteed to win at least one game in its first tournament. Reyer is back for a fifth time after finishing sixth at ANGT Belgrade the last two seasons.
Group B will have Rytas, Joventut, Fenerbahce and Barking. Rytas is the only team to win the ANGT Kaunas other than Zalgiris; it captured first place in 2018 en route to claiming the ANGT title - its second crown after 2012. Rytas lost to Zalgiris in the ANGT Kaunas first-place game last season and then went 0-3 at the ANGT Finals. Joventut also has a continental trophy to its name; it won the competition in 2013. The team from the Barcelona suburbs finished third at ANGT Valencia last season after years of playing at the ANGT L’Hospitalet event. Rytas’s opponent in the 2012 ANGT Championship Game was Fenerbahce - the Turkish team’s only appearance in that game. Fenerbahce took seventh place last season at ANGT Belgrade and will return to ANGT Kaunas, where it had played the previous four campaigns. Barking returns to the ANGT for the first time since its only previous appearance in 2009-10, when it went 2-2.