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In the elimination round of the under-20 Euro championships, the first two teams of each group advanced to the next round where they face each other in two groups of four. So we have in the next round the following two groups:

Group 1: Italy, Greece, Russia and Israel
Group 2: Latvia, Lithuania, France and Serbia Montenegro

The elimination groups were composed of 4 teams each, and here is a small round up all the groups.

Group A
Greece 3-0
Latvia 2-1
Ukraine 1-2
Germany 0-3

In the Elimination group A, the weakest one of the tournament, its the Greeks and Latvia that pass. The Greek team is lead by Serbian-born sharpshooter Ntousan Sakota, a 2m09 forward playing for Panathinaikos Athenes. He has already impressed with his all-round game at the U18 European Championship in 2004, where he averaged 18.6 ppg, 6.8 rpg and 1 bpg. Despite his height, he prefers to play outside and showed good touch from three-point range (40% for the tournament). In this tournament, he has averaged 17ppg and 7rpg and a fantastic 58.8% from three-point distance. If you just consider the first two games against Germany and Ukraine, he shot 10/13 three pointers. With him being born in 1986, he is still a year younger than most of his opponents.

Ian-Tzaiims Vougioukas, a 2m04 power foward is the best rebounder of the Greek team with 9 boards per game, and also he had 8 blocks in the 3 games that were played.

Sofoklis Schortsanitis, who was seen as a lottery pick a few years ago, is not present at this tournament.

More surprisingly than that is the advance of Latvia in the second round. Their game is essentially based on 2m13 power forward Kaspars Berzins playing last season for Spanish powerhouse Unicaja Malaga, where he only saw limited playing time after a great season with hometown team Skonto Riga. The 1985 born Berzins had 19.3 ppg and an impressive 10.7 rpg. He also recorded 2 blocks per game.

Latvia’s offense is run by 1m85 point guard Rinald Sirsnins who averages 9.3 ppg, 5.3rpg, 3.7 apg but also 4.7topg. The also house another interesting player in Maris Gulbis who averages 11ppg.

Highly hyped Ukrainian center Oleksiy Pecherov could not help his team to move to the next round. The 210 cm impressed a lot of people during the 2004 Global Games, where he was elected tournament MVP. He only averaged 10.3 points and 8.3 rebounds per game. The top scorer from Ukraine was Dmytro Dyatlovskyy, a shooting guard having shot 52% from three point land.

Germany also disappointed fans by not winning one single game. Even if they played with Euroleague player Alex King from Opel Skyliners, they had great trouble against the 3 other teams. The best player was Dominik Bahiense de Mello, a 1m87 guard scoring 13.7 points per game. Also mentioned is Philip Zwiener, who recently signed a contract with German top team Alba Berlin.

Group B
Lithuania 3-0
Italy 2-1
Belarus 1-2
Czech Republic 0-3

Lithuania, which played without drafted Andriuskevicius and Kleiza are coached by legendary Rimas Kurtinaitis. They’re opponents were dominated, even playing with a team without any big inside players. What they did have with their team is Mantas Ruikis and Jonas Maciulis, who are two superb forwards. The first one, playing 26 minutes per game with his team Neptunas in the Baltic League averaged 19.3 points over the first three games and showed excellence from distance with 66% from 3 point land. The second one, who played for Nevezis also averaged 19.3 points. Top prospect Renaldas Seibutis, which is considered in Lithuania as one of the upcoming stars played only 20.3 minutes per game but he led his team with brilliance. The Sakalai player averaged a fantastic 19.3 in the highly competitive Baltic league last season.

Italy, who lost their top forward Bargnani due to a foot injury on the eve of the tournament, came in second of their group. They are led by scoring guard Marco Belinelli who averaged 15.3 points during the first 3 games. They showed good team basketball without having a superstar on their team, but what they do have is 4 players averaging more than 12 points a game.

The two last teams of that group did not show any specially talented players. I can just mention Aliaksandr Pusthavar of the Belarus team and power forward David Steffel of the Czech Republic.

Group C
Russia 2-1
France 2-1
Croatia 1-2
Slovenia 1-2

A very strong group, which has been won by Russia, who surprisingly lost their last game to Slovenia. They are playing without Podkolzine who is in Dallas for their Summer league team. On this team you can find one of the most versatile players in the league and he is Nikita Kurbanov who has avg. 13 ppg, 6.7 rpg, 3.3 apg, 2.3spg and even 1.3 blocks. A new Kirilenko in the making? He is only 2m tall, but showed great potential during the first game against Croatia where he scored 27 points shooting 11/12 from the field. Center Dimitri Sokolov also impressed with 12.3 points and 7 rebounds per game.

France advanced to the next round due to a win over Croatia where forward Thomas Larrouquis showed his offensive skills with 17 points. Yannick Bokolo form French powerhouse Le Mans showed his potential scoring 11.3 points ppg, but also grabbing an impressive 6 rebounds per game, while being only measured at 1m88. His teammate Pape Philippe Amagou also had 11.3 points per game. Spurs drafted Ian Mahinmi had some trouble with his shooting going for only 35.7%.

Croatian sensation Damir Makota showed his fantastic rebounding skills grabbing a tournament high 20 rebounds against Slovenia. He also scored 17 points per game. On the Slovenian team, Mirza Begic can be considered as a project. He averaged 6 blocks per game and he is 2m20 tall. He also had 13.7 points per game and 6 rebounds.

Group D
Serbia 3-0
Israel 2-1
Spain 1-2
Turkey 0-3

This group had the biggest upset with the qualification of Israel for the next round. The Serbs are led by top prospect Luka Bogdanonic who averages 13.7 points and 5.3 rebounds. Having been hyped a lot by several Draft sites, and compared as being the next Peja Stojakovic, he played for Partizan Belgrade in the Adriatic League where he averaged 9.1 points. Another good prospect is Uros Tripkovic who scored 10 points per game.

Israel, who really surprised a lot of people by advancing to the next round is led by their power forward Lior Eliyahu, who plays for Euroleague champion Maccabi Tel Aviv. He scored 18.3 points on this tournament, grabbed 7 rebounds and stole 3 balls per game. Russian born Anton Kazarnovski is a short center with only a 2m04 frame, but he helped them a lot with his 14.3 points per game.

Big Favorite Spain where eliminated maybe because of the extra flashy play of super prospect Sergio Rodriguez, who averaged 7.7 turnovers per game which is really killing his 15 points per game. Their top scorer was Marc Gasol, the brother of Memphis Grizzlies Pau, who averaged 17.3 points and 9 rebounds per game.

Semih Erden from Turkey, a 2m10 center, already playing Euroleague averaged 10 and 7 but he was not enough to bring his team to the next round.

Elimination Round Top Scorers
1.Berzins, K. LAT 19.3
2.Maciulis, J. LTU 19.3
3.Ruikis, M. LTU 19.3
4.Eliyahu, L. ISR 18.3
5.Gasol, M. ESP 17.3

Total Rebounds
1.Markota, D. CRO 12.7
2.Berzins, K. LAT 10.7
3.Fesenko, K. UKR 9.0
4.Gasol, M. ESP 9.0
5.Vougioukas, I. GRE 9.0

Assists
1.Rodriguez, S. ESP 5.0
2.Mocnik, J. SLO 4.0
3.Akulich, D. BLR 3.7
4.Bokolo, Y. FRA 3.7
5.Sirsnins, R. LAT 3.7

Blocked Shots
1.Begic, M. SLO 6.0
2.Fesenko, K. UKR 2.7
3.Vougioukas, I. GRE 2.7
4.Berzins, K. LAT 2.0
5.Gasol, M. ESP 2.0

3 Pts Field Goal Percentage
1.Ruikis, M. LTU 12/18 66.7
2.Larrouquis, T. FRA 6/9 66.7
3.Sakota, N. GRE 10/17 58.8
4.Fattori, G. ITA 4/7 57.1
5.Antonutti, M. ITA 7/13 53.8

2 Pts Field Goal Percentage
1.Gasol, M. ESP 19/24 79.2
2.Maciulis, J. LTU 15/19 78.9
3.Begic, M. SLO 17/22 77.3
4.Kurbanov, N. RUS 16/21 76.2
5.Rodriguez, S. ESP 18/24 75.0

In the second round, there were still 8 teams remaining, and they were in two different groups of four, where everybody played against everybody for 2 semi-final spots per group.

Group E
1. Russia 3/0 6
2. Israel 1/2 4
3. Greece 1/2 4
4. Italy 1/2 4

Russia dominated their group with two big wins over Greece and Israel and a shorter one against Italy. Nikita Kurbanov was still their best all-around player. After a big start in the first round against Croatia, he went a little down to come back in the last two games with 16 points in both with a very high shooting percentage. He also grabbed 12 rebounds against Greece. He now stands at 12.5 points and 7.2 rebounds, 2.2 steals and 2 blocks per game.

Guard Vitaly Frizdon got better every game and is now the second offensive option of the Russian team. He averages 11.7 points during the 6 first games and has a 69.2% FG from 2 points shooting percentage. The height of 7 footer Dmitri Sokolov is still very effectively used by Russians. He is not a big time scorer and is very inconsistent (1 point against Greece, 19 against Israel).

Israel is still the surprising team of this championship. They play in the semifinals essentially due to the superb job that is doing Lior Eliyahu. He can be the first ever Israeli-player coming to the NBA, he showed at least the potential to do so. He became better when the games were more important, and he is still one of the best scorers of this tournament. 18.7 points and 7.3 rebounds are the statistical numbers of his game. Anton Kazarnovski is also improving from game to game and maybe they can pass to the Finals.

Greece said goodbye, and Ntousan Sakota did too. After a great first round, he completely disappeared during the second round. He only scored 12 points combined in the 3 games, less than his worst score in the first round. Is their a problem with nervousness, which would be very surprising for a Greek player?

On the Italian side, Bologna youngster Marco Belinelli did all he can, but it was not enough to help his team to the semifinals.

Group F
1. Lithuania 2/1 5
2. Serbia & Montenegro 2/1 5
3. France 1/2 4
4. Latvia 1/2 4

Lithuania passed to the semifinals essentially because of their two superb guards Reinaldas Seibutis and Jonas Maciulis. The second one struggled a bit against Serbia, but he put up great numbers during the whole tournament. Seibutis is truly the leader of this team. He showed the way with 27 points against France where his team was down by 10 and he shot them back in the game and to the win.

The same observation can be done for Serbia, they also have two players that stand above the rest. Uros Tripkovic had maybe a disastrous game against Lithuania but he came back in the decisive game against France with 23 points, shooting 5 from 7 from behind the arc. Luka Bogdanovic was very impressive against Lithuania with 27 points and 5 rebounds. His versatility against France was again decisive for the win (18 pts, 9 rbs, 1 block).

France was too inconsistent, a fact that was true for all their best guys that could not stand for 3 good games in a row. Latvia's power forward Kaspars Berzins showed a great game against France with 22 points and 8 offensive rebounds.

The semifinals that are held on Saturday will face up Russia against Serbia and Israel versus Lithuania.
 

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remind me what your full name is. I can post these now. When we launch they will be too late.

I am going to edit them first.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
My name is Christophe Ney
I'll be in holidays for two weeks on from sunday, and i dont know if i'll have internet over there
 

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Article from www.fibaeurope.com about the All-Tournament Team.

Russia forward <b>Nikita Kurbanov</b> has been elected MVP of the ACI Trading Ltd U20 European Championship Men in Chekov.

The 200 cm Kurbanov was a key performer in Russia's gold medal winning side, averaging 11.3 ppg and 7.9 rpg during the competition. Kurbanov, who will still be eligible for the U20 category in 2006, did not put up the kind of numbers that saw him selected to the U18 All-Tournament team in 2004 when he averaged 21.1 ppg and 10.3 rpg. After a 27 point outburst in the opening contest against Croatia, Kurbanov was willing to take a backseat on offense for the remainder of the competition. However, it was his presence on the court, tenacious defense (1.8 spg and 1.6 bpg) and willingness to do the little things for his team that earned him MVP honours.

Along with Kurbanov, <b>Renaldas Seibutis</b> (Lithuania), <b>Aruturas Jomantas</b> (Lithuania), <b>Luka Bogdanovic</b> (Serbia & Montenegro) and <b>Lior Eliyahu</b> (Israel) were selected to the All-Tournament team.

Seibutis and Jomantas were the two outstanding performers on a very talented Lithuanian side which fell one step short of the gold medal. At 196cm, Seibutis was the top shooting guard at the competition, able to keep defenses honest with his outside shooting and possessing the quickness to get to the basket and finish, or find open team-mates. He averaged 17.4 ppg during the tournament.

Jomantas, a 202 cm guard/forward, was more of a physical presence for Lithuania. He pulled down a team-high 6.1 rpg for his side and was also the top passer, dishing 2.6 apg. Jomantas was undoubtedly Lithuania's top player in their tough encounters against Serbia & Montenegro (23 points and 7 rebounds) and Israel (21 points and 10 rebounds). Unfortunately he failed to find his offensive touch in the final against Russia, scoring a tournament low 7 points.

Israel's Lior Eliyahu is no stranger to the U20 European Championship, having been part of the side that won a silver medal in 2004. Last year it was Yotam Halperin who earned All-Tournament honours, but this year Eliyahu has stepped into the role of team star. At 204 cm, Eliyahu was one of the quickest and most athletic players at the tournament. He used his talent to average 18 ppg, 6.1 rpg and 2.1 spg, including a 27-point effort against Lithuania in the semi-finals.

Luka Bogdanovic rounded up the All-Tournament team, and nobody would dispute his selection. The 202 cm forward did everything from Serbia & Montenegro, from running the offense, to rebounding and scoring. Bogdanovic averaged 15.3 ppg and 5.5 rpg, shooting 54% from the field including 48% on three-pointers (14/29).
 

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Discussion Starter #9
it is not my own words, i just gave as info. i won't have the time to write something until next week.
 

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Here is my article on the Under 20 championship 1st team.

In this year Under-20 European Championships, Russia won the tournament with a final 61-53 win against Lithuania. The bronze medal went to Serbia&Montenegro who defeated Israel in the game for the 3rd place.

Russia forward <b>Nikita Kurbanov</b> was elected MVP of the Tournament. The 2m02 tall player from CSKA Moscow averaged 11.3 points and 7.9 rebounds per game. He played only a few games last season with the professional team of CSKA. He scored 2.9 points per game in the Russian Superleague. He essentially plays in the Junior team, where he is one of the top players averaging 16.8 points and 9.5 rebounds. He had his most productive game last season in the russiona cup against Severstal where he played in the Starting five and scored 29 points and grabbed 14 rebounds and provoked 10 fouls. He is born in 1986 and can still play nexte year in the Under20 Championships. Maybe he will get some little playing time next season in the Euroleague.
<img src="http://i23.photobucket.com/albums/b374/xtf_no4/NikitaKurbanov.jpg" alt="Image hosted by Photobucket.com">

<b>Renaldas Seibutis</b> from Lithuania played for Sakalai this season, where he is one of the best players of the team. He averaged 19.5 points during the 2004-2005 season in the Baltic Basketball League. He is a 1m96 shooting guard with great touch and has a very good court vision as show the 2.3 assists per game at Sakalai.
<img src="http://i23.photobucket.com/albums/b374/xtf_no4/RenaldasSeibutis.jpg" alt="Image hosted by Photobucket.com">

<b>Arturas Jomantas</b> is the second Lithuanian to join the 1st team of the tournament. He played for Siauliai in the Baltic League where he averaged 8.3 points and 4.8 rebounds and great 3.3 assists per game. He is a 2m02 forward and he showed his best games against the toughest opponents during the tournament.
<img src="http://i23.photobucket.com/albums/b374/xtf_no4/ArturasJomantas.jpg" alt="Image hosted by Photobucket.com">

Israel’s <b>Lior Eliyahu</b> got his second selection to 1st team honours after his selction last year. He is a 2m04 power forward playing for Galil Elyon in the Isreali league. He is talented enough to grab down the board and go coast-to-coast, a scorer that can create for himself and his teammates. As used for Israeli players, you won't find "Fear" in his dictionary. He averaged 13.9 points per game last season, shooting 38.9% from behind the arc. He played also FIBA Europe League last season.

Serbian-born <b>Luka Bogdanovic</b> was the fifth player to join the 1st team. He is a 2m02 all-around forward. He has the most experience of all these players, because of his Euroleague games.
 

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Here is a list of players that showed some potential, and that could develop.

<b>Damir Markota</b> was the scoring and rebounding leader of the tournament. He plays for Cibona Zagreb in Croatia, where he got also his first experience in Euroleague last season. He can become a way more important element this year’s in the Croatian top team. He is a 2m09 power forward with great athletic skills (he won the Croatian Slam dunk Competition this year). He needs to improve his free-throw shooting. He also can improve his shot-blocking abilities. He was born in Sarajevo (Bosnia/Herzegovina) and his original name is Damir Omerhodzic.

<b>Marc Gasol</b> from Spain averaged 16.8 points and 9.3 rebounds per game during the tournament. He plays for Barcelona in the Spanish ACB and also got some minutes during euroleague games. He is a pure center, with 2m12 size and big body. He can shoot from behind the arc, as he did in the last game against Slovenia, where he made 3 from 3.

The shooting guard <b>Marco Belinelli</b> from Italy showed his driving abilities during this tournament. He plays for Italian power house Climamio Bologna, where he got regular playing time. He has great athletic potential and an own website (www.marcobelinelli.it). Marco is a smooth shooter who has nice size, great fundamentals, good ball-handling and is not afraid of taking the big shots.
Here you can find a video from a dunk over Sonic Johan Petro during the U18-championships last year. (http://www.marcobelinelli.it/media/videos/video03.wmv)

Power forward <b>Kaspars Berzins</b> from Latvia showed also some impressive games averaging 16 and 10. He plays for Unicaja Malaga in Spain and should get some more minutes to play this season with Fran Vasquez leaving.
 
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