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2008 Euroleague Final Four: Juniors Recap

Sun, 05/04/2008 - 9:34am

By Aran Smith
5/4/08

FMP Zeleznik wins EF4 Junior Tournament
Boxscore

[img_assist|nid=2017|title=Bojan Subotic - Euroleague.net|desc=|link=none|align=right|width=310|height=310]

Behind 25 points from Dejan Musli, 21 points from Bojan Subotic and 18 from Andrija Milutinovic FMP was able to overcome Nihad Dedovic's 29 point effort for a 80-70 victory.

Best described as having a relentless demeanor, FMP withstood a second half rally by Barcelona who was able to cut lead to 51-45 after two straight 3 pointers from speedy point guard Daniel Perez.

FMP quickly reclaimed command of the game with their disciplined, patient attack. Musli's soft touch around the rim, and Subotic's ability to get out in the open floor as well as his strength and aggressiveness proved too much to handle.

The knockout blow was delivered by FMP's floor leader Milutinovic who knocked down a 3 followed by two breakaway baskets.

His 7 straight points built the lead from 11 to 18 with half a quarter to go effectively putting Barcelona away. The combo guard celebrated as Barcelona was forced to call timeout. From there it was smooth sailing as Barcelona would cut the lead to 10 only in the final minute.

Dedovic had a game high 29 showing excellent speed and athleticism. He converted a number of baskets on sheer hustle and quickness being the first to loose balls and using excellent body control to convert around the basket. He's got a tremendous basketball body with long arms, big hands and a long muscular frame. He shot 4-9 from 3 showing good range and the ability to both attack the basket or shoot from the perimeter.

Subotic was dominant, just as he's been all week. He appears more physically developed than the other players and his aggressiveness and skill level allows him to score and rebound at will. He can score in a multitude of ways with three pointers, a 12 foot hook shot and finishing extremely well around the basket on the move.

Musli was awarded the junior championship MVP. He lacks an athletic body but has a high skill level and his size and touch inside makes him very effective. NBA still appears to be a long ways away for the 1991 center. He has a game better suited for Europe, and he'll need to make a lot of improvement in his body to make it in the NBA.

Senegalese physical specimen Papa Abdoulaye was outplayed by Musli but had a solid 11 and 9, while floor general Perez had 15 for Barcelona.

Friday & Saturday

[img_assist|nid=2018|title=Tomislav Zubcic - Euroleague.net|desc=|link=none|align=right|width=343|height=310]

The games for Friday and Saturday gave scouts a glimpse into the future of European basketball with one team (FMP) emerging superior over the rest and a number of players emerged as top prospects. The following is a recap of the game action from days two and three, which will be followed by a recap of the top prospects.

Friday

AXA FC Barcelona 66 - Cibona Zagreb 65
Boxscore

Barcelona and Zagreb squared off in the first game of the day with Barcelona eeking out the one point win. With around 5 minutes left in the contest, Zagreb was down 10 but Tomislav Zubcic drove in and drew and intentional foul and knocked down 4 free throws cutting the lead to 6. Zagreb would keep the game close to the end behind the excellent play from their star Zubcic. With 15 seconds remaining Zubcic drove and made a terrific dish for a lay in to cut the lead to one. Zagreb then fouled the physically underdeveloped but mentally tough Alejandro Hernandez who calmly went to the line and knocked down two free throws. Zagreb had 10 seconds to set up a three for the tie but guard Dino Hodzic made a terrible decision by driving in after not finding Zubcic in the corner and laid the ball in with a second left. Barcelona in bounded the ball and time expired. Papa Abdoulaye led Barca with 15 (7-12) and 8 while Zubcic led Zagreb with 17 and 10.

Lietuvos Rytas 82 - Red Star 73
Boxscore

What the Lithuanian Rytas team lacks in talent, they make up for in grit and heart. The Red Star team probably had more overall talent, but they didn't show nearly the cohesiveness or intensity of Lietuvos. Behind their scrappy point guard Augustas Peciukevicius who finished with a game high 19 points, Rytas was able to take over the game. Aside from being a Jonathan Rhys Meyers lookalike (Tudors and Match Point) Peciukevicius is extremely aggressive and draws a ton of fouls going to the basket, 8-14 from the line. While this game didn't feature any future NBA players, there was certainly a high level of competition and skill which made the game enjoyable to watch. Red Star's point guard Nemanja Nedovic showed his athleticism with one break away dunk while wing forward Lazar Radosavijevic showed his scoring ability but hit just 2-7 from three. Each finished with 15.

Real Madrid 93 - Maccabi Teddy 76
Boxscore

The host Real Madrid team turned the Maccabi into teddy bears as bigman Nikola Mirotic and Ryan Richards finally came to play and showed the ability that scouts have been getting excited about. Mirotic had 25 points showing his vast array of offensive skills on 9-12 shooting. Richards also impressed with 15 and 10. For a 6-10 bigman lefty, he certainly has excellent touch on his shot and the ability to shoot with range. Maccabi was able to hang around for the first half of the game as their top talent Daniel Rom went for 11 on the game but shot a dismal 3-12 from the line. Real's talent pushed them to an insurmountable lead in the second half.

FMP 65 vs. Zalgiris Kaunas 58
Boxscore

In the final game of the day, Goliaths FMP and Zalgiris clashed with the Serbians coming out victorious behind the play of 6-8 forward Bojan Subotic. Subotic is a tweener forward but has an advanced skill level and plays extremely hard. Along with Dejan Musli, he was able to neutralize Zalgiris star Donatas Motiejunas while helping FMP take over the game on the offensive end. While Subotic lacks an NBA position, he's easily one of the top handful of players in the event and should become a very nice European player.

Saturday

Cibona Zagreb 90 - Red Star 77
Boxscore

Behind Tomislav Zubcic's 22 points and 18 boards, Cibona was able to take care of Red Star to record their first win after two close defeats. Zubcic's versatility was on full display as he found teammates with his great passing and handled the ball in the open floor, as well as using his great length to gather rebounds. Zubcic showed solid leadership skills encouraging teammates after missed shots and he displays a fiery demeanor. Red Star just didn't have the talent to compete here finishing 0-3.

AXA FC Barcelona 85 - Lietuvos Rytas 71
Boxscore

It was a battle of undefeated's to see who would play against FMP in the final. After falling behind by 11 after the first quarter, Rytas battled tough as they have all tournament long, cutting the lead to 2 going into the final quarter. Guards Nihad Dedovic and Konstantine Tomardze turned up the heat in the fourth quarter to take command of the game. Dedovic showed his excellent speed and athleticism in the open floor while Tomardze knocked down some outside jumpers. Dedeovic finished with a game high 24 while Tomardze had 23 on 4/6 from 3.

FMP 100 vs. Real Madrid 76
Boxscore

FMP continued their steamroll through every opponent put in their path by soundly defeating a quality Real Madrid team. Ryan Richards was the big story of the game with 24 points with an umber of excellent offensive moves. He even knocked down 2-4 from 3 point as well as some nifty moves around the basket. The lefty bigman held Dejan Musli to just 9 points on 1-5 shooting leaving no doubt who the top center in the event was. Real's other 91 lefty bigman was less impressive. Mirotic went for just 9 on 3-8 shooting, he struggled matching up with Bojan Subotic. For FMP, sharp shooting Andrija Milutinovic is emerging as one of the top guards in the event. His 16 points led the team and he dropped in 3-6 from 3 point land.

Zalgiris Kaunas 92 - Maccabi Teddy 89
Boxscore

Zalgiris bounced back from their defeat at the hands of FMP with a close win over Maccabi. Zalgiris faced a 5 point deficit entering the fourth quarter but their star Donatas Motiejunas took over the game in the final 5 minutes with a number of excellent fadaways and hooks. He finished with 19 and 8 with 5 steals. Despite the loss to FMP, he's established himself as on of the top 2-3 players in his age group in Europe. Daniel Rom finally played up to his ability with 17 points on 8-12 shooting.

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