Okay, Day Two is in the books. Here’s my rundown – more or less.
Italy beat Greece 67-53
A strong third quarter was enough for Italy to run away with a 67-53 victory over Greece in Viernheim.
Lorenzo Penna collected 8 points, 3 rebounds and 2 assists as Italy out-scored Greece 23-9 in the quarter. For the game, Penna led the Italians in scoring with 16 points to go with seven rebounds and four assists while turning the ball over just once in 31 minutes.
Penna is a smallish but tough bulldog of a point guard, who also had a 4-to-1 assist-turnover ratio vs China. Against Greece he nailed 4-of-8 three-balls.
Despite turning the ball over five times, Davide Moretti had a solid game 14 points, three rebounds, six assists and three steals. Moretti definitely has a silky smooth shot and he also showed a strong passing ability.
Alessandro Pajola meanwhile had a good all-around game as the back-up point guard. The 1999-born playmaker doesn’t make mistakes and he’s getting better in his offensive production.
Italy also had two bigs who played well in Alessandro Simioni and Isacco Lovisotto. Lovisotto is the more interesting of the two – a lefty who had move a bit and has a decent stroke.
Lorenzo Bucarelli went from 14 shots taken against China to nine versus Greece – and it’s probably better for the good of the team.
Two of Italy’s more interesting long term guys got a little bit of playing time as Andrea Giustetto had six minutes. He has some really good length but is still raw. And Guglielmo Caruso was one of the top players from Italy’s U16 team last summer. The 1999-born big man also has some nice length but really didn’t show much in just 4 minutes of action.
Greece meanwhile really doesn’t have a lot of talent in this age group. Michail Lountzis and Vasilis Christidis both were members of the Greece team that won the 2015 FIBA U18 European Championship.
Lountzis hasn’t gotten enough playing time at the club level and struggled in setting up the team with five turnovers in 17 minutes of scoreless play. But he is still probably the best player on the team.
Christidis picked up nine points and seven rebounds and is a serviceable big. He also showed a lot of passion at both ends.
Otherwise, this Greece team might struggle at the U18 European Championship this summer. Stathis Papadakis knocked down two three-pointers in scoring a team-high 11 points. And the stroke looked pretty nice on the day.
Greece are trying to transition Giannis Agravanis from a power forward to the three position and he seemed comfortable with the shot, even though he missed all three of his three-pointers against Italy. He made 2-of-4 from long range against Egypt. Agravanis would be a more interesting talent and more dangerous if he could play the small forward spot.
Serbia beat Turkey 79-57
Back in Mannheim, Serbia showed their class against Turkey with a 47-29 advantage in the second and third quarters. Serbia really did a good job not letting Turkey shoot from outside, as the Turks made just 4-of-29 threes (14 percent).
Andrija Marjanovic led the way with 18 points on 6-of-13 shots. That was the most shots of any Serb, tied with Borisa Simanic, who missed all five of his three-pointers in hitting just four shots total for 10 points to go with his eight rebounds.
— Mladen Simanic (@simanic_mladen) March 27, 2016
The numbers show the Novak Music as point guard plan still needs work with seven turnovers to just two assists. Aleksa Uskokovic had seven assists and three turnovers to go with six points. While Aleksa Radanov added 10 points and four assists – while turning it over four times.
heinnews personal cheeseball Stefan Djordjevic had six points (on 3-of-4 shooting) and six rebounds without a turnover in 20 minutes.
In total, Serbia committed 19 turnovers – usually too many to dominate a team as much as they did.
Turkey’s main issue was their long-range shooting as Onuralp Bitim missed all eight of his treys and Ömer Al was 0-of-5 on his three-pointers. In total, Bitim and Al shot 9-of-28 and scored 23 points (16 for Bitim). Bitim still did other things in the game with four rebounds, two assists and four steals while Al had six assists (to just two turnovers) and three steals.
Ahmet Can Duran once again struggled from the field, hitting just 3-of-11 shots in scoring six points with six rebounds and two steals.
Alihan Genc did hit three threes in scoring 11 points.
But all told, this Turkish team is still aways from serious consideration for a title run in Turkey at the U18 European Championship.
France eased past Egypt 76-52
France dominated the game from the beginning and even looking at the team in warm-ups promised a strong Les Bleus.
Unfortunately Adam Mokoka was in plain clothes with his ankle wrapped. It would have been nice to see him considering he had 14 points versus United States. But there was way too much talent for Egypt to really stick with France.
Bathiste Tchouaffe remains a highly-regarded player though he struggled from long range with just 1-of-6 while scoring 12 points. He has a great motor and draws high praise from the coaching staff.
Jaylen Hoard is so intriguing, as the main guy I was looking forward to watching. The 1999-born talent didn’t have a very good game, missing his first seven shots and scoring six points and not really impact on the game. His first basket came with four minutes left and was a long, long three-ball. But there’s a lot of talent in there and I look forward to seeing if he is more active in future game – he did also have a nice drive to the lane.
Bastien Vautier is a nice big man who gets production when he plays – with four points, including a nice spin move in the paint at the end of the shot clock, and two rebounds in 12 minutes.
Egypt have a very young team with just two 1998 born players and three 2000s. The plan is to prepare them for this summer’s U17 World Championship. And they have a couple of interesting kids.
People will look at the stats and wonder if Seifeldin Elsanadily is a star prospect. But he’s just a very serviceable but almost chubby big who collected 21 points and 16 rebounds.
Tarek Raafat has a nice motor and is a gritty kid. He has some decent athleticism though he’s not very tall at 1.87m. Youssef Abdrahou is the best of the three 2000-born players at the moment.
Hassan Elkhouga is an undersized low post player at 1.96m while Mohamed Rezk had good size but is still very raw, as he’s played less than four minutes in two games.
Australia blast Japan 84-45
Australia bounced back from a poor opening day showing against Serbia by blowing away Japan as four players scored in double figures and three more had at least eight points.
It’s good to see that Matthew Kenyon hit 3-of-4 three-pointers in scoring 11 points.
Isaac White was definitely very active with a team high nine shots – making three of them – for 11 points to go with five rebounds, five assists and six turnovers.
Yudai Nishida missed all six of his three-point attempts though he scored 15 points. Avi Schefer collected three points and a team-high five rebounds in 17 minutes.
USA hold off China 97-89 in overtime
Chinese big man Zhu Rongzhen came into the game after collecting 25 points, 13 rebounds, 15-of-18 free throws, two blocks and 12 fouls drawn against Italy. But Zhu was mired with three fouls just 3:33 minutes into the game. But it’s clear to see that there is some serious skill in the big man. Long and lanky but not as thin as Qi Zhou. He twice hit long two-point jumpers showing that he has some solid range. Zhu has a pretty decent knack for blocking shots. He is close to having some good moves in the post. A strong positive is that he played most of the fourth quarter with four fouls, even blocking two shots. And throughout the game Zhu was really supportive of his teammates from the bench – clapping and chanting out loud, often much more than his fellow reserves were doing. In the end, he did a decent job playing with his foul troubles the rest of the way and he finished with eight points, five rebounds, a steal and three blocks in 19 minutes.
Bai Haotian was up and down with 3-of-15 shooting though he did collect seven rebounds, five assists and two steals. He was 2-of-5 from three-point range and also really was fearless against the Americans. The lefty Bai has pretty decent size and length and likely will be a critical player in China’s performance at this summer’s FIBA U17 World Championship.
Diminutive point guard Xu Jie was really the heart and soul of this team down the stretch with a killer instinct and toughness at both ends despite his 1.77m. Xu also rebounds well for his size and can also drive to the basket with his quickness.
Zhao Yanman and Liu Zeyi are both serviceable bigs while Huang Rongqi is certainly a shooter – hitting 5-of-10 three-pointers in scoring 20 points.
The leaders for the Americans were Hameir Wright, Dylan Painter and Matt Turner, who combined for 61 of the 97 USA points but hit only 21-of-47 shots. Wright led the way with 25 points and 15 rebounds as well as a number of big plays in the fourth quarter and overtime.
In a game with 12 ties and 8 lead changes, US Select spurts last to beat China 97-89. Hameir Wright explodes for 25 & 15. US-Italy Monday.
— Mike Olson (@kuahoops) March 27, 2016
The Americans struggled mightily with just 2-of-17 (12 percent) from long range. But they corralled 20 offensive rebounds in winning the battle of the glass 56-47. The fact that both Zhao and Zhu fouled out played a major role in the USA victory as they were able to impose their will in the paint.
Germany roll past Argentina 99-44
The final game in Mannheim was a laugher that got out of control in the second quarter, in which Germany out-scored the South Americans 38-5.
Richard Freudenberg had a double-double of 15 and 10 to go with two blocks while Kostja Mushidi had 18 points and Philipp Herkenhoff collected 15 points, three assists and three steals. In total, five Germans scored in double figures.
Germany forced Argentina into 32 turnovers while out-rebounding them 46-28. Lautaro Berra Fernandez scored a team-high nine points for Argentina while Facundo Corvalan did not play with his injured ankle.