Recap: Belgrade AdidasNGT

Recap: Belgrade AdidasNGT

Fourth and last qualifying Adidas Next Generation Tournament was held in Belgrade. Mega Bemax won the title and secure the ticket for F8 in Vitoria by beating Crvena Zvezda in the final. Mega with this title broke down a Crvena Zvezda string of 8 titles in a row on this tournament which was very impressive. Maybe tournament wasn’t a overloaded with a lot of talents but we had chance to see a couple very interesting prospects. We will focus on evaluating Serbian players that stood out on this tournament.

 

Aleksandar Langović
PF/C | 2001 | 205cm | Mega Bemax

MVP of the tournament and member of ideal starting 5 of the tournament. Langović led his team to the first place on the tournament averaging 13.8 pts, 9 reb and 1.3 ast.Very athletic 6’9 player who can play both inside position, even though he played whole tournament as a center. Had a dominant tournament. Even though he didn’t have a proper competition on his position and statistically he didn’t have such a great numbers he played the best when it was most needed.  In the final match vs Crvena Zvezda he had a double double with 18 pts and 11 reb and he was unsolved problem for Crvena Zvezda bigs. He is very strong and reilable finisher around the rim. Shots 61% from the field. Stands a contact very well and has the frame to absorb it when going to the rim. He is now a taking a threes on daily basis but on this tournament he wasn’t so efficient, only 20% from 3PT line. Positive thing that we could see is that he has a ability to grab a rebound and instantly start the offense and make some coast to coast. He looks from time to time very passive on the court. Wheater is because of his mentality or he wasn’t motivated enough by competition. Also has problem in creating a points for himself and still low post game needs to be polished. When it comes to P&R game he is very versatile. Seals defenders, spins fast or slashes to the basket. Can also pop up and pull up a jumper. Great rebounder on both ends of the floor. Crashes offensive boards after nearly every missed shot. Even though he had only two blocks on the tournament he is a shoot changer in the paint with his presence thanks to his long wingspan and great vertical leap. On this level of competition he defend on low post without any problems. Still relies most of the times on his left, stronger hand.

 

Aleksej Pokuševski
PF/SF| 2001 | 211cm | Olympiacos

The player of the BC Olympiacos and the Serbian national team is one of the three Serbian players who are pick out in the ideal starting 5 of the tournaments. Following his game at ANGT, we can say that Aleksej slowly but surely grows into an increasingly serious player from whom we definitely can expect much more in the future. He spent average 26 minuts on the court, and scored 15.8 points with a good 2pt score (40%) and more better for 3pt (53%), 7 rebounds and 3.5 blocks per game. In offense Aleksej was quite passive, he had ball in his hands for a little time, but what is important to point out is that he was extremely dangerous when he had the ball in his hands. He scored mostly from the transition game. He also made some very attractive dunks. While points from the posetion game came in 3-point shots (10/19, 40%). spot up – on the returning pass he tooks 3pt shots without much hesitation. Also, off screen – runs out from a double block to the line for three points, where he takes shots (50%). Pokusevsky had problems with the mid range shots where he simply could’t score. In defense he played quite secure throughout the tournament, he did’t allow easy points from the rim, as confirm fact that he had 3.5 blocks per game. Also he defended the lower players on the perimeter. However, he lacked aggressiveness in his games. Pokusevski is a player who can start a transition game from a defensive rebound, score 3pt shot, he has possibility to play on post up under the rim what makes him all around player. Aleksej is a player who has a lot of space for improvement and we can expect good results in the future.

 

Nemanja Popović
PF/SF | 2001 | 204cm | Crvena Zvezda

Popovic averaged on this tournament 13.3 pts, 7.5 reb, 2.8 ast. He was great against Olympiacos in opening match in h2h matchup against Aleksej Pokusevski,his teammate from Serbia national team. Popovic had 18 pts, grabbed 7 rebounds, had 4 ast, 3 blk. Same day, against Venezia, he played just 20 minutes because Crvena Zvezda finished game in halftime, and in 20 minutes against Italian team, he scored 16 pts, grabbed 7 reb, 1 block. In Saturday game against Cedevita, he had a double double with 10 pts and 11 rbs, 5 ast, 2 blk. In the final game vs Mega he had 9 pts, 5 reb, 1 ast. For his standard, very bad game for Popovic in final game against Mega, but “offender” for that is excellent big guy Aleksandar Langovic. In direct h2h main players of theirs team, big man in Mega jersey was better. Big problems Popovic had on both sides of court with Langovic, Langovic had advantage on low post against Nemanja, but in defense side of court, great team defense by Mega was neutralized Nemanja’s plays from paint, gather in paint and force Crvena Zvezda to shoot from behind the line of 6.75, Crvena Zvezda had same number of shoots for 2 PT and 3 PT. Nemanja Popovic had excellent performance in group stage and above he had a bad performance in final game, he was named for ideal starting 5 of tournament. He has high basketball IQ, phantastic body for basketball (he is late 2001), great basketball moves like Nemanja Bjelica, fantastic in paint, but he has a lot of problems with 3 PT shoot. He just attempted six time for three in this tournament, and he scores a twice. In youth league of Serbia, on 15 matches, he attempted 21 times and scores also twice time, percentage low than 10, but shoot is category where he can make progress, and we wish him that.

 

Boško Bumbić
PG | 2001 | 191cm | Mega Bemax

Bumbić is a true team leader on the court. He averaged 8.5 pts, 3.3 reb and 4.5 ast on this tournament. Lefty 6’3 PG is the most creative and the most versatile player in Mega Bemax. Everything starts from him. He is a real floor general. Playes very mature for his age. Always engaged, supports his team on the court as well as on the bench. Vocal. Has high basketball IQ. His court vision and ball handling skills are above average. Has great awareness, understands game plan and reads the game well. Very good on P&R situations as the ball handler, can either find the rolling big or open teammates or even create space for himfelf.  Reads defense great. Use very good change of pace and pass fakes which help him to create open paths to the rim and easy lay ups. Thing that concerns the most and that he needs to work on is his shoot. Shooting was one of his main weapon when he was playing in Borac Cacak. He doensn’t look confident with his jumper anymore, hesitate a lot of times. On this tournament he was 0/7 for 3PT. He needs to put effort in improving his shot consistency, especially his mechanics, rotation and foot positioning. Also he needs to work on his decision making. He is turnover prone, 3.8 tpg (2nd overall) , but considering that the ball was in his hands most of the times and that he is still young it’s understandable.

 

Vukašin Mašić
PG | 2001 | 190cm | Crvena Zvezda

Excellent tournament Masic who averaged 15 pts, 2 reb, 4 ast.He improved a lot this season on both side of court and for sure. Against Olympiacos, he was perfectly, 6/6 for 2, and 5/5 for 3, 2/2 from FT, he grabbed 2 rebounds and had also 6 assists for 35 Val. Against Venezia just 5 points and 6 assists, in game against Cedevita, he scored 14 points. In final game, he was the best player of Crvena Zvezda, 12 pointseven though he had a problems with shoot from 3 PT line, 0/4, grabbed 4 rebounds, 6 assists, for best individual Val in his team, 13. In the end of 3Q and beginning of 4Q, he played with lot of positive energy and he had main role of Crvena Zvezda comeback, but for short time. He also had excellent performance on dunk contest. He was the true leader of his team on this tournament, from the all Crvena Zvezda’s guards he showed the most and he drew attention on him. He is very quick with and without ball equally. Excellent court vision and great physical abillities. Possess high level of explosiveness. His shoot is variable, and right now he far away from being a consistent shooter. Operates well in P&R situations, but still has a lot of room to improve in that segment. When it comes to defense he has all tools to become a good defender on guard postion.

 

Marko Andrić
PG | 2002 | 187cm | Mega Bemax

Andrić was the X factor for Mega Bemax on this tournament. As a year younger he had very imortant role in winning the title. Second best scorer of the team behind Langovic with 12.5 pts , and he added also 2.5 reb and 2 ast. He started tournament great with 17 pts vs Olimpija and 16 pts vs Fenerbahce and in the final vs Crvena Zvezda when game was on the line he steped up and scored some very improtant points for Mega. Andric got much bigger role in the team since a coach Branko Milisavljevic sat down on Mega bench and he justify that by playing very well.  He is 6’2 PG with very good athletic ability. Fast and explosive player with very quick first step that helps him blow by opponents. Very efficient from mid range especially when he is pulling up from the drible. He wasn’t a threat from 3 PT range at all, but on this tournament he made 3/4 threes. Obvious he work on 3pt shoot and has more confidence. He is reliable ball handler but he is not such a great passer for now. Must become a better decision maker espeially on P&R situations. Even though he lack of size, he fearlessly drives to the rack, plays through contact, finishes with soft lay ups, can use either hand.  Very fast in the open court, can lead in transition and excels as a finisher. On defense very aggressive and active on the ball. Has quick hands and quick on his feet which help him to able to keep opponents in front of him.

 

Marko Pavićević
PF/C | 2001 | 205cm | Crvena Zvezda

Marko was great in both side of court in tournament. He avereged 12.3 pts, 5.8 reb, 2 ast, 3 blk. We can talk about him like a great teammate, which first play for his team, not for his stats, that’s not typical for youth players in this age. Old school big, with solid skils on low post, he doesn’t shoot for 3 pts, he is good rim protector, we should mention his performance against Venezia, 30 pts (11/12 fg, 8/13ft), grabbed 5 rebounds, 2 blocks, 9 fouls on him, for Val 35. Against Cedevita, he also played all around game, 12 pts, 8 reb, 5 ast, 3 blk and Val 21. In finals, he had hard matchup against Langovic in defense, and that was one of the reasons why he had poor performance with only 2 pts, but he had very solid performance in defense against MVP of this tournament, also he grabbed 6 rebounds, 2 steals and 4 blocks for Val 9. The most suprising thing about him is that he showed that he has ability to protects the rim very well and that he has good timing as a shot blocker. He was the 2nd blocker of tournament behind Pokusevski (Pavicevic had 12 blocks, Pokusevski 14). He is player with lot of potential, which is need every team, but should be noted his biggest weakness, free throws. Agains Olympiacos ½, Venezia 8/13, Cedevita 2/6, Mega 0/2, in total 11/23 for poorly 48 %, for 2 PT he had impressive 73%.

 

Other players notable mentions: Lazar Živanović, Aleksa Marković, Stevan Karapandžić, Mihailo Mušikić

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