Fiba U18 European Basketball Championship

The European U18 Youth Championships begin in Volos, Greece. Four countries - Serbia, France, Greece and Turkey - have been champions for the last 6 years. In this preview, we'll take a look at the players who will be in the spotlight and who are already showing their best performances as the tournament gets underway.  
Usman Garuba

Usman Garuba, Spain

Garuba enters this U18 European Championship as one of the most famous players of his generation. He rose to fame in 2016, when he managed to lead the Spanish U16 team to the podium at the European U16 Championship at the age of just 14. What's more, he also won the MVP trophy and scored a triple-double in the final match. Last summer, the 2002-born forward led his team at the U16 championship by leading the entire tournament in rebounding (12.3 per game). He also scored 16.3 points per game, 2.3 res. assists, 1.7 steals per game and 1.7 rebounds per game. and 1.6. block. He also had 1.6 points, 1.6 rebounds, and 1.6 steals for the second-place Spanish team. This performance allowed him to finish in the top 5 of the tournament.

Garuba played for Real Madrid's second team this season and averaged 14.6 points, 12 rebounds, 2.1 assists, 1 steal and 1 steal. 1.5. block. Met. Usman also made his debut for Real Madrid's main team, playing 2 games at the beginning of the season, scoring 9 points, 8 rebounds and blocking 2 shots in 17 minutes of action. Garuba enters this tournament as one of the most dominant young talents and will no doubt be looking to do everything he can to help the Spanish national team win the U18 trophy, which it has not won since 2011. In the video below you can see a short video excerpt of his performances:

Jovan Kjlacic, Montenegro

Jovan Kljacic

Kljacic will be playing in his second U18 European Championship. Last year, he made his debut at the U18 Championships in Latvia, where the Montenegrin national team finished 7th. Kljacic scored 13.9 points, 3.4 rebounds, 4 assists and 1.3 steals at that championship. Kljacic showed similar numbers at the U17 World Cup, scoring 15.9 points, 6.1 rebounds, 4.3 assists and 1.6 steals for Montenegro, who finished 8th in their first appearance in this tournament.

This season Kljacic represented the second team of Gran Canaria, where he also had solid numbers: 12.5 points, 3.5 rebounds, 2.4 assists and 1 steal. 1. He also made his Euroleague debut this year. Even though he didn't get to play a lot, just getting on the floor in a game at this level is already a big plus for such a young player. In 2018, he also made his debut for the national men's national team, scoring 2 points and grabbing 2 rebounds in the 2019 World Cup qualifier against Spain. The Montenegrin, who plays on the wing, is undoubtedly one of the country's brightest young talents. In the video below, you can see highlights of his game:

Nikos Rogkavopoulos, Greece

Nikos Rogkavoupoulos

After a poor performance last year, when the Greek U18 team finished only 14th in the U18 Championship and narrowly avoided elimination in the B Championship, this year the Greek team has assembled its best youngsters, who are already being tipped as one of the favourites for the championship. Rogkavopoulos will undoubtedly be the player most basketball scouts and fans will be looking to. 203 cm. The forward, who plays at the light wing position, was 17 at the time, but has already led the Greek U18 team to the top of the standings at last year's U18 championships. There, the Greek scored 19.7 points, 6.6 rebounds, 2.1 assists and 2.1 steals. This summer he also made his debut at the U19 World Championship, where he put up solid numbers at a younger age: 13.7 points, 4.6 rebounds, 2.4 assists, 2.4 steals, 2.2 assists per game. The Greek team finished 10th in this tournament.

Already this season, Rogkavopoulus has played for AEK Athens. In 16 games played in the top Greek basketball league, he averaged 2 points and 1 rebound. Of course, that's not much, but given that Greece plays some of the most physical basketball in Europe, it takes more time for a player of his age to get used to the game and start showing better results. Below you can see some of Rogkavopoulos' gameplay:

Oak Tubelis, Lithuania

Azuolas Tubelis

The Lithuanian, who can play both the light and heavy wing positions, is also ranked among the top five players of the tournament. Tubelis played two summers at the U16 European Championships, where the Lithuanian national team finished 6th and 7th respectively. Last summer, Tubelis averaged 14.3 points, 10.4 rebounds, 2.7 assists and was the tournament's top scorer in blocked shots with 2.7 blocked shots per game. Unfortunately, the Lithuanian team did not make it to the quarter-finals against the Croatian team, which, as it turned out later, became the champion of that tournament.

Last season, the forward representing Vilnius Perla in the NKL averaged 9.5 points, 3.8 rebounds, 1.3 assists and 1.3 steals per game. 2 points and 1 block. This is a great statistic considering that Oak is only 17 years old in March and has been playing against much older opponents for some time. Here are some episodes from Tubel's game:

Franz Wagner

Franz Wagner

Wagner did not play in the Youth Championships last year, but he had already made his national team debut earlier. At the 2017 European U16 Championships, the light-heavy wing forward scored 7.4 points and 1.6 rebounds. 7.6 points, 1 rebound and 1 assist. Wagner is considered one of the most talented players in Germany and the 17-year-old's debut with Berlin Alba this season was a great proof of that. The 17-year-old averaged 4.6 points, 1.3 rebounds and 1.2 assists in his first season in the top German league. 1.3 rebounds and 1.3 assists. He averaged 12 minutes per game in 35 games. Wagner also got playing time in the European Cup. In the second strongest European basketball tournament, the young German scored 3 points and 1.3 rebounds in less than 10 minutes. Franz is also the younger brother of Moritz Wagner, who is currently playing in the NBA, and next year the younger Wagner will make his debut at the prestigious University of Michigan. Here are some images of the player's games:

Noteworthy names

The most talented players of this year's U18 Championship are also Matej Rudan (Croatia), Malcolm Cazalon and Juhann Begarin (France), Ariel Hukporti and Len Schoormann (Germany), Augustas Marciulionis (Lithuania), Bojan Tomasevic (Montenegro), Keye van den Vuurst de Vries (Netherlands), Djordje Pazin (Serbia), Mustafa Kurtuldum (Turkey).