12 - 20
August 2022
77 Ben Avraham Saraf (ISR)
to read

12 players to watch at the FIBA U16 European Championship 2022


SKOPJE (North Macedonia) - After a two-year break, the FIBA U16 European Championship returns to its usual format with the 2022 edition in Skopje, North Macedonia.

16 teams will be competing for medals, as Spain will look to defend the title they won in 2019. Below is an overview of 12 players who are expected to shape this tournament.

Be sure to also check out the players to watch in the Division B tournament, which will be taking place in Sofia, Bulgaria.

Ben Saraf – Israel


Birth Date: April 14, 2006 (16 years old)
Height: 1.95m (6ft 5in)
Club: Hapoel Hemek Hefer (ISR)

Ben Saraf put on a show at last year's FIBA U16 Challenger, averaging 15 points, 2.8 assists and shooting an incredible 17-of-32 from three through five games. Considering he was playing up a year, he can be expected to be one of the tournament's stars again this season. The lefty is an extremely exciting watch: at 1.95m, he fits the modern game very well as a tall ball-handler who can run an offense. He's an exceptional shooter for his age and can consistently create space for pull-up jumpers. Additionally, he's a good playmaker out of pick-and-roll, who regularly flings difficult passes all over the court. With the 16-year-old at the helm, Israel definitely has a chance at finishing on the podium of the FIBA U16 European Championship.

Neoklis Avdalas – Greece


Birth Date: February 4, 2006 (16 years old)
Height: 2.01m (6ft 7in)
Club: Panathinaikos BC (GRE)

Neoklis Avdalas is one of the most exciting prospects in his generation and will lead an intriguing Greece team into the tournament in Skopje. The 16-year-old is a good athlete, who's effective in transition, but he can also handle the ball in the halfcourt well for his size. He's capable of making impressive pick-and-roll reads and will have the ball in his hands quite a bit on this Greek team. Additionally, he shows impressive flashes as a shooter, even confidently running off screens and taking threes with no hesitation. On the defensive end, he stands out with his mobility, which allows him to defend smaller players consistently. During the 2021-22 season, Avdalas made headlines for becoming the youngest ever scorer in EuroLeague with a dunk in transition. Now it's time for the youngster to shine with the national team.  

Ognjen Radosic – Serbia

Shooting Guard

Birth Date: May 26, 2006 (16 years old)
Height: 1.95m (6ft 5in)
Club: Student Igokea (BIH)

The U16 age group is a strong one for Serbia, so they belong to the group of favorites to win a medal at the FIBA U16 European Championship. On the wing, they'll be represented by athletic slasher Ognjen Radosic. The 16-year-old is hard to stop driving to the rim or pushing the ball in transition, displays crafty moves around the basket and has some acrobatic finishes in his arsenal. Furthermore, the lefty shows potential as an outside shooter, even if it'll take time until he becomes fully consistent. Still, with this skillset Radosic is expected to fill up the stat sheet and especially the points column. The wing also has intriguing potential on the defensive end, where he pesters opposing ball-handlers with his length and quick hands.

Demir Dogan – Turkey


Birth Date: April 11, 2006 (16 years old)
Height: 2.01m (6ft 7in)
Club: Besiktas JK (TUR)

Demir Dogan was one of the standouts at last year's FIBA U16 Challenger and established himself as one of the best 2006-born prospects in Europe. After spending the season at MZT Skopje, Dogan returns to the competition with hopes of leading Turkey to a successful tournament. The forward moves very fluidly with the ball in his hands, and he can effectively attack the rim in a variety of ways, but especially in transition. On those drives, he also shows solid passing vision for his size. His outside shot is a work-in-progress for now, but he's already quite versatile. Finally, Dogan is a very good defender, who can guard multiple positions on the perimeter and makes a large impact as an off-ball defender, especially protecting the rim from the helpside. At last year's Challenger, the 16-year-old averaged an exceptional 1.4 steals and 2.4 blocks per game.

Dame Sarr – Italy


Birth Date: June 4, 2006 (16 years old)
Height: 1.96m (6ft 5in)
Club: Orange 1 Basket Bassano (ITA)

With the current influx of tall ball-handlers in world basketball, Dame Sarr fits the modern game very well. At 1.96m, Sarr often brings the ball for his team. He's a blur in transition but can also regularly create shots in the half-court. While the 16-year-old still has plenty of work to do to reach his full potential, he already shows impressive flashes as a shooter: at this year'sAdidas Next Generation Tournament, the Italian guard shot 14-of-32 from three in four games, even though he was one to two years younger than most of his competitors. Italy will rely on their guards a lot during the tournament: next to Sarr, they'll also field Samuele Miccoli, a crafty and skilled slasher, and Leonardo Valesin, a volume scorer with the potential to run hot from three at any time.

Kasparas Jakucionis – Lithuania

Point Guard

Birth Date: May 29, 2006 (16 years old)
Height: 1.87m (6ft 2in)
Club: FC Barcelona (ESP)

Kasparas Jakucionis will be leading a Lithuanian squad looking for their first medal since 2016. The skilled guard is expected to be the team's primary ball-handler because he's a capable scorer and shot creator. He consistently gets into the paint with his fluid handle and leaves defenders in the dust with crafty moves. In the  pick-and-roll, he's a creative passer with solid vision. Finally, he's a capable shooter from beyond the arc, which rounds out his offensive skill set nicely and makes him one of the most intriguing point guards in his age group. With his talent, it's no wonder he caught the eyes of FC Barcelona at such a young age.

Mario Saint-Supery – Spain


Birth Date: April 14, 2006 (16 years old)
Height: 1.90m (6ft 3in)
Club: Unicaja Baloncesto (ESP)

Mario Saint-Supery has already experienced a lot, debuting in the Spanish ACB as well as the Basketball Champions League before his 16th birthday as well as playing a significant role at theAdidas Next Generation Tournament in Ljubljana. It's not only his experience that qualifies him as one of the most interesting prospects in the tournament, however, it's also his skillset. At 1.90m, the guard is an athletic slasher, who consistently gets to the rim out of the pick-and-roll and shows high-level touch with his right hand. Furthermore, he displays some passing creativity and flashes of pull-up shooting in these ball-screen scenarios. On defense, he possesses a good eye for bad passes and uses his long arms well to create extra possessions. Spain will be missing Hugo Gonzalez, who performed admirably at the FIBA U17 Basketball World Cup, but they are in good hands with Saint-Supery leading the way.

Noa Essengue – France


Birth Date: December 18, 2006 (15 years old)
Height: 1.98m (6ft 6in)
Club: Pole France (FRA)

As always, France field a roster with several highly talented youngsters and belong to the contenders to win the FIBA U16 European Championship, even if their players aren't well known on the international stage yet. Noa Essengue is one of their standout prospects. The forward is an impressive athlete, who thrives in transition and regularly throws down nice dunks. Besides his driving game, he also shows potential as a shooter. On defense, he's very mobile for his size, which allows him to defend multiple positions on the perimeter and also make a big impact protecting the rim as a help defender. With his versatility, Essengue will surely catch the eye of fans this summer. This should also apply to skilled guards Nolan Traore and Talis Soulhac as well as athletic forward Mohamed Diakite.

Nojus Indrusaitis – Lithuania


Birth Date: April 25, 2006 (16 years old)
Height: 1.98m (6ft 6in)
Club: St. Rita High School (USA)

Nojus Indusaitis will be part of Lithuania's stacked rotation of perimeter players, which is a major reason why the Baltic team are one of the contenders to win the FIBA U16 European Championship. Indrusaitis is a very talented offensive player: for one, he's a dangerous slasher, who is hard to stay in front of due to his quickness. Additionally, he's a capable shooter, who even shows glimpses of shot versatility by running off screens for movement threes, and he displays some ability to make plays for others. For Chicago-born Indrusaitis, this will be his first tournament on European soil. In the US, however, he's already a household names as he holds offers from Iowa, Iowa State, Marquette, Missouri, DePaul and Maryland among others, even though he's still two years away from graduating high school.

Urban Kroflic – Slovenia

Shooting Guard

Birth Date: March 28, 2006 (16 years old)
Height: 1.95m (6ft 5in)
Club: Spanish Basketball Academy (ESP)

Urban Kroflic had a breakout performance at the Adidas Next Generation Tournament in Ljubljana earlier this year. There, he ranked fourth among all scorers with 15 points per game and put up a huge 31-point game against European powerhouse Zalgiris Kaunas. The big guard can put the ball in the basket in a variety of ways: he's primarily a shot maker, who excels at creating openings, for example out of pick-and-roll, and then reliably knocks down pull-up jumpers from midrange and from three. In addition to that, the 16-year-old can get to the rim and displays nice touch around the basket, even finishing from tough angles from time to time. As the leader of the Slovenian team, Kroflic has the potential to be among the leading scorers in Skopje.

Tymoteusz Sternicki – Poland

Shooting Guard

Birth Date: June 10, 2006 (16 years old)
Height: 1.99m (6ft 6in)
Club: GAK Gdynia (POL) 

After already playing a rotation role for the Poland squad that finished eighth at the recent FIBA U17 Basketball World Cup, Tymoteusz Sternicki will tackle his second international competition of the summer. Here, the skilled wing should have an even bigger role than for the U17 team, where he averaged 5.7 points, 4.6 rebounds and converted 9-of-20 from three in 15.2 minutes a game. The 16-year-old is a skilled shooter, who can get his shot off over opponents due to his size. Additionally, he's a capable ball-handler, who can push the pace in transition and makes plays against closeouts. On defense, Sternicki isn't overly quick, but he has the tools to impact opponents' shots as an on-ball and as a help defender.

Dwayne Aristode – Netherlands


Birth Date: August 17, 2006 (15 years old)
Height: 2.00m (6ft 7in)
Club: Joventut Badalona (ESP)

Dwayne Aristode made his first mark on the international stage during the Adidas Next Generation Tournament earlier this year. Now it's time for the talented forward to debut at the FIBA U16 European Championship. At 2.00m, Aristode has the makings of a very good two-way player. On offense, he's a capable shooter, who also has the athleticism to excel in transition. On the defensive end, the Dutch forward can defend multiple positions and impact shots around the basket as a help defender. Aristode isn't the first Joventut Badalona forward from the Netherlands we've highlighted this summer: Yannick Kraag played an excellent FIBA U20 European Championship, Division B and now it's Aristode's turn to shine, though he's faced with a tall task, as the Netherlands are only competing in Division A for the second time after they were promoted in 2019.