REGENSBURG (David Hein’s Eye on the Future) – The Last 16 of the Eurocup offers plenty of promise for fans interested in youth basketball as a number of highly-touted youngsters helped their teams advance from the regular season of Europe’s second highest international club competition.
A couple of the biggest performers thus far have been Sergey Karasev of Triumph Lyubertsy, Bojan Dubljevic of Valencia and Cajasol Seville’s Tomas Satoransky. But there are plenty more for fans to mark down for future reference.
Karasev, of course, is the 19-year-old son of former Russian star Vasily Karasev, a two-time silver medalist (1994 and 1998) at FIBA World Championships, who is the coach at Triumph.
The younger Karasev has shown everyone there’s a reason he’s considered one of the top talents of his age group. After having played for Russia’s 2012 Olympic bronze medal-winning team, Karasev averaged 17.8 points per game for Triumph in the Eurocup regular season.
And the 2011 FIBA U19 World Championship bronze medalist will be a big part of the club’s title hopes after they breezed through their first round group.
In Group I of the Last 16, Triumph will come up against Montenegro side Buducnost Voli, which features two enticing emerging stars. Nikola Ivanovic is an 18-year-old guard who has already starred on the national team stage, playing at the 2011 U20 European Championship as a 17-year-old. In the Eurocup, the Montenegro youngster averaged 8.5 points. Alongside him is one of the biggest hopes of Bulgarian Basketball in 19-year-old Pavlin Ivanov, who totaled 12 points in his two games of Eurocup action.
In Group J, Valencia will have two players who basketball fans will be watching for many years to come. The 21-year-old Montenegrin big man Dubjlevic has not slowed down at all since his off-season move from Buducnost to Spain and averaged 14.2 points and 3.5 rebounds in the Eurocup, including 26 and 8 in the regular season finale against Azovmash.
His new teammate at Valencia is also an emerging star in 21-year-old French center Joffrey Lauvergne who, in his second Eurocup game since leaving Euroleague team Elan Chalon in late November, collected 19 points and 3 rebounds.
Group K features two Russian teams, one of them which has a fine young Russian low-post talent in 21-year-old Andrey Zubkov, who averaged 6 points and 2.7 rebounds for Lokomotiv Kuban.
The group also features Spanish side Cajasol Seville, who are stockpiled with top young players – and not all of them from Spain.
Under the tutelage of veteran coach Aito Garcia Reneses, 21-year-old Czech point guard Tomas Satoransky has turned into a real leader, averaging 13 points, 5.5 assists, 4.3 rebounds and 1.2 steals.
Joan Sastre, the Spanish forward who turned 21 on December 10, has averaged 6.8 points and 1.8 rebounds for Cajasol while 18-year-old Serbian point guard Nikola Radisevic has played in three games thus far with 1.0 points and 0.7 assists in 4 minutes a contest.
And 17-year-old Spanish guard Guillermo Corrales has totaled 5 points, 3 assists and 2 steals in 20 minutes over three games.
Not to be out-done, Group L also has a trio of youngsters looking forward to very promising futures.
The 19-year-old Aleksandar Cvetkovic was a star for Serbia at the 2011 FIBA U19 World Championship and now is helping Red Star Belgrade with 2.5 points, 0.7 steals and 0.5 assists a game.
The 21-year-old Galatasaray center Furkan Aldemir has already made his mark with the Turkish senior national team and contributed 5.0 points, 4.0 rebounds and 1.0 blocks in the Eurocup.
And German 20-year-old talent Daniel Theis has played extremely well in his move from Braunschweig to the 2012 BBL runners-up Ratiopharm Ulm and averaged 6.7 points, 3.0 rebounds and 1.3 assists in his first taste of international club basketball – just months after leading Germany to a fifth-place showing at the U20 European Championship for the second consecutive summer.
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