Dragan Bender has exploded onto the scene at the 2014 U18 European Championship for a stacked Croatia team – despite being just 16 years old and not turning 17 years until November 17. The Capljina, Bosnia and Herzegovina native already made a splash with a tournament-high 34 points and 14 rebounds against Lithuania.
But Bender, who will be moving to Maccabi Electra Tel Aviv starting next season, turned his performance up a notch against Latvia in Second Round action as he collected 21 points, 17 rebounds, nine assists, two steals and three blocks. He was just one assist shy of recording the first triple-double in U18 European Championship history since July 11, 2004.
Former Lithuanian standout prospect Martynas Andriuskevicius was the last player to register a triple-double at this European Championship level. The center, who last played during the 2012-13 season, scored 18 points, grabbed 15 rebounds and blocked 10 shots against Israel.
There have been some close calls to overtaking Andriuskevicius since then.
Last year, Latvian Kristaps Porzingis had 11 points, 15 rebounds and nine blocks against Spain.
Slovenian Matic Rebec was close on three occasions last summer as well with 29 points, 8 rebounds and 13 assists against Bulgria; 20,6,10 vs Ukraine; and 11,7,10 against Bulgaria.
The 2010 encounter between Ukraine and Sweden nearly saw two triple-doubles. Alex Len had 13 points, 13 rebounds and 7 blocks while Sweden’s Jonathan Person collected 14 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists. Len also had games of 21pt, 12rb, 8bl vs Slovenia; and 20, 17, 9 against Germany.
In 2008, Greece guard Kostas Sloukas was close against Croatia with 13 points, 8 rebounds and 11 assists.
Bulgarian Chavdar Kostov had 20 points, 11 rebounds and eight assists against Italy in 2006.
In 2005, Spain’s Xavier Rey had three points and rebounds double-doubles as well as a game with 6 points, 7 rebounds and 10 blocks against Serbia & Montenegro.
In the same tournament, Italian Danilo Gallinari’s only double-double of the tournament had him pick up 13 points, 9 rebounds and 10 steals.
Here a listing of the close calls in the last 10 U18 European Championship tournaments:
2013 Kristaps Porzingis LAT: 11pts, 15rebs, 9 bls vs ESP
2013 Matic Rebec SLO: 29pts, 8reb, 13as vs BUL; 20pts, 6reb, 10as vs UKR; 11pts, 7reb, 10as vs BUL
2013 Damien Inglis FRA: 20pts, 9reb, 8as vs SRB
2012 Nikola Radisevic SRB: 21pts, 6reb, 11as vs BUL
2012 Kenan Sipahi TUR: 18pts, 6reb, 11as vs SLO
2011 Appollon Deligeorgios GRE: 20pts, 10reb, 7as, 8st vs UKR
2011 Ojars Silins LAT: 16pts, 4reb, 10as vs ITA
2011 Klym Artamonov UKR: 15pts, 3reb, 11as, 7sts vs FIN
2010 Jonas Valanciunas LTU: 8pts, 14reb, 6 bl v SRB
2010 Alex Len UKR: 21pts, 12reb, 8 bl vs SLO; 20pts, 17reb, 9 bl vs GER; 13pts, 13reb, 7 bl vs SWE
2010 Jonathan Person, SWE: 14pts, 10reb, 9as vs UKR
2010 Alexander Varnakov RUS: 13pts, 5reb, 11as, 6 st vs FRA
2009 Dejan Musli, SRB: 14pts, 11reb, 6 bl vs TUR
2009 Toni Prostran CRO: 23pts, 5reb, 12 as vs ITA
2009 Philipp Neumann GER: 25pts, 8reb, 6 bl vs CRO; 14pts, 14reb, 5 bl vs SLO
2008 Tautvydas Slezas LTU: 19pts, 17reb, 6 as vs ESP
2008 Kostas Sloukas, GRE: 13pts, 8reb, 11as vs CRO
2008 Andrew Albicy, FRA: 12pts, 7reb, 13as vs TUR
2007 Kostas Koufos, GRE: 21pts, 15reb, 6bl vs ISR; 25pts, 10reb, 7bl vs FRA
2006 Andrejs Selakovs LAT: 12pts, 15reb, 5bl vs SLO
2006 Alexandros Sigkounas GRE: 18pts, 7reb, 9 as vs RUS
2006 Chavdar Kostov, BUL: 20pts, 11reb, 8as vs ITA
2005 Ante Tomic, CRO: 18pts, 9reb, 6as vs BEL
2005 Johannes Lischka, GER: 26pts, 10reb, 6as vs LTU
2005 Xavier Rey, ESP: 6pts, 7reb, 10bl vs Serbia and Montenegro
2005 Yannick Driesen, BEL: 10pts, 10reb 6bl vs GER
2005 Danilo Gallinari ITA: 13pts, 9reb 10st vs BUL
2004 Martynas Andriuskevicius, LTU: 18pts, 15reb, 10bl vs ISR
2004 Sergio Rodriguez ESP: 29pts, 9reb, 7as vs RUS
2004 Edgars Jeromanovs LAT: 15pts, 15reb, 7as vs BUL
2004 George Tsintsadze, GEO: 18pts, 7reb, 10as vs LAT
2004 Yogev Ohayon, ISR: 19pts, 7reb, 10as vs ESP