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17 February, 2020
23 February, 2021
10 rising stars who made their mark on the first window
28/02/2020
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The future is now: 10 rising stars who impressed in the February window

MUNICH (Germany) - The first window of the FIBA EuroBasket 2021 Qualifiers was packed with next generation talent showcasing their potential on the senior international stage.

We've taken a look at the top performing 1999-born and younger players to see how they got on representing their countries in the February games of the Qualifiers.

Deni AVDIJA - Israel


GUARD

Birth date: January 3, 2001 (19 years old)
Height: 203cm / 6'8"
Club: Maccabi Tel-Aviv (ISR)

Statistics: 21.0 PTS, 8.0 REB, 2.0 AST in 24.0 MIN

Only 24 minutes of action were needed to see how special a talent Avdija is. Finishing with 21 points, 8 rebounds, 2 assists and a block ensured Israel completed the first window with two wins from two. The 19-year-old provided the spark needed in the second half to break the resistance of Romania and continued to show why his basketball journey is on a rapid upwards trajectory.

Kristian KULLAMAE - Estonia


POINT GUARD

Birth date: May 25, 1999 (20 years old)
Height: 194cm / 6'4"
Club: ZTE Real Canoe NC (ESP)

Statistics: 24.0 PTS, 2.5 REB, 5.5 AST in 29.1 MIN

Kullamae was one of the standout players of the entire window, let alone just amongst the rising stars. The 20-year-old point guard opened with a 31-point haul to lead Estonia to victory over North Macedonia before posting a respectable 17 points and 6 assists against Italy. Having featured in nine games during Estonia's FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019 European Qualifiers campaign, Kullamae is steadily building experience at senior level.

Mateo DREZNJAK - Croatia


SHOOTING GUARD

Birth date: November 19, 2000 (19 years old)
Height: 196cm / 6'5"
Club: CBC Siroki (BIH)

Statistics: 14.5 PTS, 3.0 REB, 2.0 AST in 25.6 MIN

Despite being the youngest on the roster, Dreznjak stepped up for Croatia as their leading scorer through the first window in which they came through unbeaten. The 20-year-old opened with 16 points on 88 percent shooting to go with 4 steals and 3 assists in a win over Sweden before hitting double figures again in helping his side beat the Netherlands. 

Arturs ZAGARS - Latvia


POINT GUARD

Birth date: April 21, 2000 (19 years old)
Height: 190cm / 6'3"
Club: Divina Seguros Joventut (ESP)

Statistics: 13.0 PTS, 5.0 REB, 3.0 AST in 28.5 MIN

Zagars did not play in Latvia's home defeat against Bosnia and Herzegovina before being called into action on the road. The 19-year-old guard contributed 13 points, 5 rebounds and 3 assists in over 28 minutes in a gruelling contest as his side eventually fell to an agonizing 110-104 loss in double overtime to Bulgaria. The exciting prospect will no doubt be hoping to build on his debut performance and flourish under the tutelage of national team great, Roberts Stelmahers.

Rokas JOKUBAITIS - Lithuania


POINT GUARD

Birth date: November 19, 2000 (19 years old)
Height: 193cm / 6'4"
Club: BC Zalgiris (LTU)

Statistics: 7.0 PTS, 3.0 REB, 6.0 AST in 22.6 MIN

Having not been part of the opening defeat against Belgium, Jokubaitis was included in the 12 to make his senior debut on home soil as Lithuania came from behind to see off Czech Republic 97-89 in Vilnius. The 19-year-old contributed 7 points along with 6 assists in a solid display, stepping up to the plate in a time of need for his country as they collected a vital victory to move to 1-1

Vit KREJCI - Czech Republic


SHOOTING GUARD

Birth date: June 19, 2000 (19 years old)
Height: 199cm / 6'6"
Club: Casademont Zaragoza (ESP)

Statistics: 5.5 PTS, 3.5 REB, 3.5 AST in 21.0 MIN

One of two prospects on the list that ply their trade with Basketball Champions League side Casademont Zaragoza, Krejci made important plays at both ends of the floor for the Czechs as they split their opening two games. The 19-year-old put up 5 points, 4 assists and 3 rebounds in a 19-minute cameo in the home win over Denmark before scoring 6 points in increased playing time against Lithuania with the visitors letting slip a nine-point lead.

Carlos ALOCEN - Spain


POINT GUARD

Birth date: December 30, 2000 (19 years old)
Height: 192cm / 6'4"
Club: Casademont Zaragoza (ESP)

Statistics: 4.0 PTS, 1.5 REB, 9.0 AST in 21.9 MIN

Alocen saw just two minutes of action on his senior debut 12 months ago, but had a more prominent role this time around orchestrating the Spanish offense. An All-Star Five member at the FIBA U20 European Championship 2019, Alocen displayed his creativity with 9 assists in each of the two games, though he was held to 30 percent shooting combined as well as having 7 turnovers in the loss to Poland as part of the learning process. 

Rati ANDRONIKASHVILI - Georgia


POINT GUARD

Birth date: March 19, 2001 (19 years old)
Height: 194cm / 6'4"
Club: BC Rustavi (GEO)

Statistics: 7.5 PTS, 2.0 REB, 1.0 STL in 14.6 MIN

TheGeorgian guard was handed another chance to showcase his talent for the senior side following on from making six appearances during the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019 European Qualifiers. Andronikashvili scored 7 points in under 15 minutes of the opening victory in overtime against Switzerland before a further 8 points to help his side stun Serbia on the road, though he did finish with 5 turnovers and without an assist.

Melwin PANTZAR - Sweden


GUARD

Birth date: April 10, 2000 (19 years old)
Height: 188cm / 6'2"
Club: AS Monaco Basket (FRA)

Statistics: 4.5 PTS, 1.5 REB, 4.5 AST in 15.6 MIN

The 19-year-old prospect had the opportunity to show out for Sweden and posted 7 points and 7 assists in a tough loss to Croatia in Zagreb. Pantzar was then able to take in another incredible atmosphere as history was made with the largest attendance in Sweden for their game against Turkey. The 19-year-old saw reduced playing time but still handed out a couple of assists in 9 minutes of their memorable 87-80 triumph.

Keye VAN DER VUURST DE VRIES - Netherlands


POINT GUARD

Birth date: December 29, 2001 (18 years old)
Height: 191cm / 6'3"
Club: Filou Oostende (BEL)

Statistics: 5.0 PTS, 1.5 REB, 3.0 AST in 15.0 MIN

The youngest of all the players mentioned having only turned 18 before the start of the new year, Van Der Vuurst De Vries enjoyed more valuable playing time for the Netherlands - 14 months on from his senior debut. The point guard came up with 3 assists and 2 steals in a cameo in the upset over Turkey before scoring 10 points in Almere Stad against Croatia to follow up some strong showings in the Basketball Champions League Regular Season.

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