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August 2021
13 Martin Ude Kalu (GER)
23/08/2021
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10 players who impressed at the FIBA U16 European Challengers

MUNICH (Germany) - The future of European basketball looks extremely bright with the next generation of stars showing out at the FIBA U16 European Challengers this past week.

France, Poland, Serbia, Hungary and Kosovo came out victorious to win Challenger titles in Skopje, Sofia, Novi Sad, Sofia (19-25) and Pristina, respectively. We take a look at 10 players who shone the brightest across the five tournaments.

Skopje Challenger

Killian Malwaya (France)

SHOOTING GUARD

Birth date: May 4, 2005 (16 years old)
Stats: 13.4 PTS, 3.8 REB, 2.0 STL - 11.8 EFF per game

Malwaya was the leading scorer for France as they swept through the field in Skopje to take the title. The 16-year-old guard started the tournament with 17 points, 5 rebounds and 5 steals before a best of 21 points followed in the Group Phase against Lithuania. After going 7-of-9 from the field in the Semi-Finals, Malwaya was held to 1-of-9 in the Final, though France had enough to overcome Lithuania for a second time in the week. 

Sofia Challenger

Martin Ude Kalu (Germany)

SHOOTING GUARD

Birth date: January 28, 2005 (16 years old)
Stats: 27.0 PTS, 7.5 REB, 2.3 STL, 50% 3PT - 24.5 EFF per game

Kalu was one of the leading performers across all five Challengers with an impressive 27.0 points per game as the joint-leading scorer. He helped Germany to three successive victories with a 36-point haul including eight triples in a win over the hosts, Bulgaria. Kalu finished with 26 points in back-to-back games as his side came up short in their quest for the title with a defeat against Poland on the final day to miss out on the U17 World Cup.

Szymon Nowicki (Poland)

POWER FORWARD

Birth date: June 2, 2005 (16 years old)
Stats: 17.5 PTS, 9.3 REB, 1.8 STL - 17.8 EFF per game

There was no messing around from Nowicki for Poland. The 2005-born forward averaged a near double-double in helping his side to four wins from four to win the Sofia title and clinch a spot at next year's FIBA U17 Basketball World Cup. Nowicki saved his best display for their most crucial game with 24 points, 11 rebounds and 4 blocks against Germany as Poland completed a perfect week.

David Pavin (Croatia)

GUARD

Birth date: February 19, 2005 (16 years old)
Stats: 22.5 PTS, 5.3 REB, 4.8 AST - 19.5 EFF per game

It was a tough week for Croatia, but their sharpshooter was paving the way in Sofia. Pavin was the only player to average double figures in scoring having started off hot with six triples in a 28-point haul in a loss to eventual champions, Poland. Pavin then had two more 20+ point games in the next two games, whilst also handing out 8 assists against Bulgaria.

Novi Sad Challenger

Jan Vide (Slovenia)

POINT GUARD

Birth date: January 15, 2005 (16 years old)
Stats: 27.0 PTS, 5.6 REB, 4.2 AST - 20.6 EFF per game

The Real Madrid protege was the real deal in Novi Sad. Another Challenger, another MVP award going to a player from Slovenia. Vide fired in 27 points per game across five games having set the tone with a 34-point, 10-rebound double-double before 28 points in the next game as his side made a 3-0 start. However, they were beaten by Serbia despite an impressive 38 points from Vide as they had to settle for second place in the group.

Ognjen Stankovic (Serbia)

SHOOTING GUARD

Birth date: March 19, 2005 (16 years old)
Stats: 13.8 PTS, 8.4 REB, 3.2 AST - 16.2 EFF per game

Stankovic helped lead Serbia to five wins from five as they won the Challenger on home soil. The 16-year-old guard recorded two double-doubles in the week and posted 13 points, 7 rebounds and 7 assists in the decisive win over Slovenia on the penultimate day. Stankovic then finished with a flourish with 22 points, 12 rebounds and 5 assists to secure the 5-0 record. Meanwhile, Nikola Topic top scored with 17 points and had 5 assists in his sole appearance in the tournament opener.

Demir Dogan (Turkey)

SMALL FORWARD

Birth date: April 11, 2006 (15 years old)
Stats: 16.2 PTS, 9.4 REB, 2.4 BLK - 19.0 EFF per game

Another emerging Turkish prospect out of Besiktas ICRYPEX with Dogan showcasing his potential of following in the footsteps of Alperen Sengun. The 15-year-old came out of the blocks with 24 points, 15 rebounds and 3 blocks against Belgium before later posting another double-double of 15 points and 14 boards along with 6 assists in a defeat to Slovenia. Just the trio of three-pointers from 18 attempts with free throws down at 64-percent.

Sofia Challenger (19-25)

Luka Alavidze (Georgia)

GUARD

Birth date: May 5, 2005 (16 years old)
Stats: 16.0 PTS, 5.0 REB, 5.6 AST, 3.2 STL - 17.6 EFF per game

Alavidze didn't exactly hit the ground running with a 3-of-14 shooting night in Georgia's opener, but the 16-year-old found form in the ensuing games to help propel his side into the Final. The guard had 18 points against Cyprus before back-to-back 20+ point games featuring a best of 24 points against Hungary before contributing a 21-7-8-7 stat-line in the Semi-Final triumph over Ukraine. However, he would foul out with 5 points in 18 minutes of a Final loss.

Ruben Prey (Portugal)

FORWARD

Birth date: February 16, 2005 (16 years old)
Stats: 17.0 PTS, 18.3 REB, 5.3 BLK - 31.3 EFF per game

Prey was feasting in Sofia. 16+ rebounds in each of the four games for Portugal with four big double-doubles as well as a near triple-double effort. Prey started the tournament with 14 points, 17 rebounds and 7 blocks to signal his intentions and would post 21 points and 23 rebounds in a full 40-minute effort in Semi-Final loss to Hungary. In the Third Place game, Prey finished with 19 points, 17 rebounds and 8 blocks in a monster display to get the win.

Pristina Challenger

Rron Dahsyla (Kosovo)

SMALL FORWARD

Birth date: May 3, 2005 (16 years old)
Stats: 17.4 PTS, 9.6 REB, 3.4 AST, 4.0 STL - 22.8 EFF per game

Just like at the FIBA U18 European Challengers, Kosovo swept through the field at U16 level with five wins from five on home soil. Dahsyla starred as MVP with a near tournament double-double of 17.4 points and 9.6 rebounds per game as one of several key performers for Kosovo. The 16-year-old forward recorded three double-doubles and saved his best for last with a 30-point haul in the title-clinching win over Luxembourg in Saturday's decider.

FIBA