The First of four ANGT Qualifiers were held in Podgorica, Montenegro from January 26 through 28 where eight teams competed for an auto bid for the Finals that will be held in Berlin during the Euroleague Final Four (May 24-26, 2024).

Defending champion Real Madrid was the marquee team headed to this event which included, Alba Berlin, Bayern Munich, Cedevita Olimpija Ljubljana, Cholet Basket, SC Derby Podgorica, Umana Reyer Venice, and the Next Generation Team. The rosters comprised 2006 to 2009 born with the majority of rosters consisting of either ’06 or ’07 born players.

This is the second time I have watched and now written about Real Madrid U18 team this season (article from the L’Hospitalet Tournament here) and it’s safe to say that this Real Madrid team is the equivalent of the Montverde team currently dominating in US high school play. Real Madrid is a powerhouse with an absolutely loaded roster with some of the best players in Europe from their generation barely playing, and they are the favorites to win in every matchup, and have the most highly touted 2025 NBA draft eligible player in Hugo Gonzalez.

Real Madrid facing the Next Generation team (a team comprised of top talent in Europe) in the finals took the lead midway through the Finals and clinched their automatic bid to Berlin with an 86-79 victory. SC Derby came in third with an 82-65 victory over Bayern Munich. With these results we now know 2 of the 8 teams which will be in Berlin, given the victory of Real Madrid, and that a Next Generation team usually participates in the finals. There is a small chance that SC Derby can get a bid to the final round but only if in the next 3 qualifiers the Next Generation squad makes it to the finals. Here are the top prospects from the event:

Top Prospects:

Hugo Gonzalez Spain 6’6 SG Real Madrid 2006 Born Highlights

Hugo Gonzalez was voted MVP of the tournament after averaging 13.8 point per game 4 rebounds and almost a 3 to 1 assist to turnover ratio in 23:30 minutes of game play. While his shot from three was not falling at its normal rate, he still was a very effective and efficient player. He is deadly on the mid range; he seeks out shots at the elbow whether it’s off a quick flash when opponents are in zone or if it’s coming off a screen and roll. He also has an effective baseline fadeaway mid range shot that helped him shoot 64% (14/22) from two. He loves to finish strong and has good handles, finishing left or right with a euro step or dunk. He has a scorer’s mentality, plus a strong will to win and will make the right pass at the right time. On defense, he was second in the tournament in steals and did a good job to not get into foul trouble, which has been an issue for him in the past. He is a likely 2025 NBA Draft lottery pick who we will get to view one last time at this level at the ANGT Finals in Berlin.

Egor Demin Russia 6’8 Guard Real Madrid 2006 Born Highlights

Egor Demin (pictured) is getting full time duties as the starting point guard for Real Madrid this season. It is yet to be determined whether that will ultimately be the best position at the pro level, but either way the experience is invaluable for his development. At 6’8, he would have excellent size as a pro point guard, good size as a shooting guard, and normal size as a small forward. He has a very good looking stroke with good arc but is more accurate in catch and shoot opportunities than off the dribble, at this time. His offensive efficiency numbers need to improve to increase his draft stock as he went 5/9 from the free throw line, 5/22 from three and had 18 turnovers in a 4 game span. As the team’s point guard, it’s concerning that he had only 24 assists to those 18 turnovers. Should Real Madrid lose this season, it may very well be due to the lack of a traditional point guard in their starting five. He is very efficient however, using his length to glide to the rim and create space with his long wingspan finishing plays with his extensive lay up package going 17/28 from 2 in the four game tournament. Defensively he uses his length well in the passing lane getting 10 steals and defends well without fouling. His size helps him on switches on the defensive end and allows him to help on defensive rebounds. He’s one of the international players who scouts will be monitoring closely in the next 18 months ahead of the 2025 NBA Draft.

Ivan Kharchenkov Germany 6’6 Wing Bayern Munich 2006 Born Highlights

Ivan Kharchenkov was voted on the All Tournament team at his event averaging 16.5 points, 4.8 rebounds, 1.5 steals and 1.2 blocks in the four game span. Kharchenkov has a well chiselled body and good strength. He has good handles with the ability to drive either with his left or right hand and even displays a good behind the back crossover in game action. With his strength, he is able to displace bodies and create space for a shot. He has good follow through on his jump shot and if you include all competitions, including FIBA and club, he has good free throw shooting stats. Due to his strength, he is able to guard players on the perimeter and in the post at this level. A good athlete with some potential as a shooter, which is why scouts like him as a prospect. He has some things to work on in the next 18 months prior to his first year of draft eligibility. While his handles are quite good and he will drive with either hand, he finishes most plays with his right hand. Also, he doesn’t have much change of pace or shiftiness to his game and he usually goes full throttle downhill when attacking the basket. This may be why despite his handles so far in every major competition, he has more turnovers than assists. In addition he has yet to shoot over 30% from behind the three point line in any competition. He was 4/25 here, 12/44 at FIBA U17, 12/42 at FIBA U16, etc. In addition, he is far less efficient from 2 than the wings listed above him at this event. This was the last opportunity to watch him play against his peers at ANGT as his team, Bayern Munich finished 4th in Podgorica.

Jack Kayil Germany 6’3 Point Guard SC Rasta Vechta (NGT Team) 2006 Born Highlights

Jack Kayil has had back to back good performances at the ANGT (Here is what I wrote about him at this event last season). Fortunately for us he was not playing for a club this time around and will most likely be selected again for the finals ANGT team in Berlin. Somewhere between 6’3 and 6’4 in height he has good size and seems to have leaned out a bit from a year ago. Showing flashes of athleticism, strength and maturity as a lead guard. Playing with better talent on his team, he had 28 assists and just 8 turnovers in Podgorica. He did not shoot the ball quite as well as the previous year, but overall in his 8 game sample, he shot a respectable 38.3% (18/47) from three and 84.2% (32/38) from the free throw line. Given his good free throw percentage, his ability to get to the line 4.75 times per game is an additional asset to his offensive arsenal. He has good shooting mechanics and displayed a good offensive output, averaging 15 points per game and 7 assists for the event. Overall there was a lack of pro level point guards at this event, so it will be interesting to see how he fares in the final stage in Berlin, where he can go head to head versus the other top point guards in his class, with a possible match up against Nolan Traore and Pole France (should they make it past the qualifying phase in Paris ANGT end of March).

Declan Duru Germany 6’8 SF Real Madrid 2007 Born Highlights

Declan Duru comes off the bench for this loaded Real Madrid team. At 6’8 with a long wingspan he plays the 3 and D role for this squad this season. Often playing either the SF or PF position depending on who the other 4 teammates are with him on the floor. He shows flashes of high potential, for example when he grabbed the rebound and dribbled full court down the right side, made an inside out dribble move and finished the play off with a one handed flush. He has also become a good three point shooter. Shooting it well first at the L’Hospitalet Tournament, and now here in a small sample size, he went 5/11. He is most effective shooting corner 3s. While he has a little tightness in the hips he is a good athlete, with ideal size and appears to have a good wingspan. Duru averaged 7.8 points and 4.5 rebounds in 18 minutes of playing time. It will be interesting to watch him develop as a featured scorer next season when he and Sidi Gueye will be the two primary rotational players returning to the squad.

Ismaila Diagne Senegal 7’0 C Real Madrid 2006 Born Highlights

Ismaila Diagne was voted on the all tournament team, averaging 11 points 7.8 rebounds and 1.5 blocks. Diagne was the most physically imposing interior player. At 6’11/7 feet with a long wingspan and an athletic body, there are few at this level that can handle him. His connection with Hugo Gonzalez on pick and rolls lobs and back cuts and lobs is pretty special. They make at least one pro like read per game. He has good athleticism and is a worker on the offensive and defensive boards. He’s still not a shooter but could progress there, as he is a career 60% free throw shooter playing in ANGT (4th season playing in the tournament). Diagne has had a few call ups with the pro club and has performed in those limited minutes.

Lefteris Liotopoulos Greece 6’5 SG DEKA Academy (NGT Team) 2006 Born * St John’s Commit Highlights

Lefteris Liotopoulos was voted to the all-tournament team averaging 19.5 points and 3.8 assists, helping lead the NGT team to a finals appearance versus Real Madrid. He shows a solid aptitude in scoring and was efficient from two (55%) and from the free throw line (89%). His ability to draw fouls at a high rate was also an effective weapon. The St Johns commit was good in catch and shoot opportunities beyond the three point line and when crowded was effective as a driver. He and Kayil made a formidable backcourt here. He has wiry strength and a strong motor, moving well without the ball. He had a 3 to 1 assist to turnover ratio in Podgorica demonstrating some playmaking ability. A likely recall for the NGT Team that will be represented in Berlin.

David Mirkovic Montenegro 6’9 PF SC Derby 2006 Born Clip

David Mirkovic played on the NGT team last year, (you can find one of his write ups here), but this season played for the host team SC Derby. He played well, leading the tournament in scoring (22.2 ppg) and rebounding (13) and being selected to the all-tournament team. Since I first watched him at FIBA U16 (article here) he has transformed his body. He still has a wide base, but has shed some body fat and is a much more chiseled player. Although it does not appear that it has helped his vertical much, it has made him a little quicker, allowing him to be a power forward rather than a small ball center. With his added speed, he has also been able to handle the ball more and face up versus opponents. On strong closeouts on the perimeter, he can now effectively get to the rim with pace to finish plays off or grab the rebound and take it coast to coast, himself. In addition the added speed has allowed him to get more deflections and steals. Mirkovic is a very smart basketball player who has good basketball instincts, both on defense (good anticipations and defensive rotations) and offense (making the right read and right pass). He is not a rim protector and even with his body transformation is not the best athlete, nor does he have the swiftest of feet laterally. What he is able to do in the post is create space with his wide hips and body to compensate for his lack of height and wingspan in the post and is a threat as an outside shooter. But he will need to become an outstanding outside shooter and has the potential for doing that, given you include both FIBA and NGT competitions over the last 2 years, he is 34% (33/98) from three. What hurts him now is that his shot is a little slow to load in catch and shoot situations.

Ivan Volf Croatia 6’7 SF Bayern Munich 2006 Born Highlights

Ivan Wolf was a very efficient offensive player at this event, averaging 13 points while going 10/18 from three, 4/5 from the free throw line, and 9/13 from two. To top it off he had 8 assists to 1 turnover in his 100 minutes of playing time. He ran the lanes well, finishing plays off with dunks and was a good secondary option to Ivan Kharchenko. He has some work to do on the defensive end of the ball.

Maruan Cicic Montenegro 6’11 C SC Derby 2006 Born Clip

Maruan Cicic averaged 17 points and 9.8 rebounds at the event and was particularly strong around the basket. He finished plays with dunks and used the rim effectively to shield himself from potential blocked shots, finishing 59% (27/46) from the field. On defense, he was an intimidator, leading the event in blocked shots with 11 in the 4 game span. He showed some flashes of mobility defensively and has legit size for the position. Currently he does not appear to be skilled enough for the top level, does not shoot threes, shot free throws at a below 50% clip (14/29), and is not much of a passer.

Younger players to monitor for the future:

Sidi Gueye Senegal 6’10 PF Real Madrid 2007 Born Highlights

Sidi Gueye is the only non 2006 born in the Real Madrid starting five. He is long and agile with a plus wingspan. He averaged 8 points and 6.5 rebounds. The lefty had his best game against Bayern, where he had 14 points and 8 rebounds in 24 minutes of game play. Sidi’s athleticism and size alone deters teams from going to the hole when he is on defense and he is a menace on the offensive boards on offense. In addition, he shows flashes as a shooter, in particular at the elbow. On the flip side, he would be even more effective if he could add some strength and perhaps add some muscle. He is rail thin and will at times shy away from contact and shows itself statistically with his 3 free throws in 4 games. Next year, he and Declan Duru will be featured, and take much of the offensive load, which will give scouts a better indication of his pro potential.

Namik Muratovic Luxembourg 7’1 Bayern Munich 2008 Born Clip

Namik Muratovic, a 2008 born, did not statistically wow anyone at this event, but he has the potential to be a participant in at least two more seasons. Playing a little under 10 minutes per game, he showed good fluidity and mobility for a player his age and size. He used his size effectively on defense, altering shots and even getting a few blocks. He finished plays off with dunks going 5/9 for the tournament.

Ivan Prato Argentina 6’10 PF/C Campus Varese 2007 Born

Ivan Prato was one of the better players at the FIBA U16 Americas over the summer. Here he showed some flashes on offense. Moving well on pick and dives, showing good form on his outside jumper and some potential even putting the ball on the floor some. He has good mobility both on offense and defense. He seems to be more comfortable in face up situations than in the post. He did not play in the championship game due to a minor leg injury against SC Derby. In addition, it’s debatable if he will be selected to be part of the finals NGT team. If there is room, I’m sure scouts would want him to participate.

Aaron Towo-Nansi France 5’8 PG Cholet 2009 Born Highlights

Aaron Towo-Nansi was an instant crowd pleaser in Podgorica. He showed an ability to defend full court, shoot logo level threes, and has a quick crossover. He averaged 8.5 points, 5.2 assists, and 1.3 steals in 27 minutes of playing time. On offense he shot 6/18 from beyond the arc, creating space for his 3 point shot by taking side steps, step backs, and logo level shots. Like many diminutive, his movement is non stop and he will work an opposing point guards all the way down the court. He does probably have a slightly longer wingspan than his height, but the odds are stacked against him if he does not grow 6 more inches. The shortest drafted European player I can recall is Raul Lopez (Utah Jazz) and the shortest current European player in the NBA is Dennis Schröder at 6’1, with a plus wingspan. In addition he did not shoot it well from inside the arc and was not very effective finishing plays off after he blew by the first layer of defense. He is also just 14 going against primarily 17 and 18 year olds, but it appears he’s more likely to have an Andrew Albicy or Nadir Hifi impact than a true NBA prospect.

Mark Morano Mahmutovic Slovenia 6’6 SG Cedevita Olimpija Ljubljana 2007 Born

Mark Morano led the FIBA U16 Europe in scoring over the summer (article here) but was a little exposed at this event. He averaged 12.2 points and 4.8 rebounds in 29 minutes per game. He had some flashy plays including behind the back, wrap around passes from the post, and a spin move that got him to the hole going baseline (including one against top prospect Hugo Gonzalez). He also has good form on his shot, showing some of that potential by going 12/14 from the free throw line. Both on defense and offense he seemed to get bullied some by the older opponents and was particularly non competitive on the defensive end of the floor. He shot just 5/25 from three and committed more turnovers than assists.

Borna Katanovic Croatia 6’6 Wing Cibona (NGT Team) 2007 Born Clip

Borna Katanovic was an absolute stud in FIBA U16 B division over the summer (article here). Given his athletic limitations, scouts were interested in how he would fare against better competition. He averaged 7.8 points for the event and overall settled, shooting a large volume of three point shots. The lefty only shot 6 shots from inside the arc, in 4 games and did not provide any assists. He did manage to showcase the ability to take on pressure from opponents and showed good anticipation on defense, even getting 6 steals in 4 games.

Samba Gueye Senegal 6’8 Cedevita Olimpija Ljubljana 2008 Born

The 2008 born Samba Gueye showcased his long wingspan and some athleticism at the event. Playing just 10 minutes per game, he was able to have some athletic finishes. He received some real minutes on the last game going 5/8 from the field with 8 rebounds and 4 assists helping lead his team to their sole victory at the tournament.


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