22 - 30
July 2023
15 Aday Mara (ESP)
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Coming in hot: 10 standouts from the Group Phase in Nis

NIS (Serbia) - The Group Phase of the FIBA U18 European Championship has just wrapped up. It's been three days of intense competition in Nis and a number of players have already left a mark, delivering impressive performances and making an impact in the tournament.

As teams prepare for the Round of 16, we take a look at 10 players who have stood out during the the first days of action in Nis.

Aday Mara - Spain


Birth Date: April 7, 2005 (18 years old)
Height: 2.20m (7ft 3in)

Tournament Stats: 18.7 PPG, 9.3 RPG, 3.3 BPG, 2.0 APG

Mara was one of the most highly touted prospects coming into the tournament and he has more than lived up to the hype, leading the competition in efficiency, while being the second leading scorer, rebounder and shot blocker. Mara has provided Spain with an offensive presence in the paint by finishing plays and creating his own shot in post-up situations. Defensively, he has been a wall around the basket with his massive size and length, helping Spain hold opponents to just 39.6 percent shooting inside the arc.

Emre Tunca - Turkey

Point Guard

Birth Date: October 13, 2005 (17 years old)
Height: 1.96m (6ft 5in)

Tournament Stats: 18.0 PPG, 6.5 RPG, 6.5 APG, 2.0 SPG, 0.5 BPG

Tunca has one of the most interesting profiles in the tournament. Standing at 1.96m, with long arms and solid open-court athleticism, the 17-year-old combines his elite physical tools with the aggressive scoring ability of a wing and the creative passing vision of a point guard. Turkey is 2-1 heading into the Round of 16 and Tunca is right in the midst of a breakthrough performance at Nis as the lead offensive creator for his team, being the assist leader of the tournament while also ranking top five in scoring.

Shachar Doron - Israel


Birth Date: May 22, 2005 (18 years old)
Height: 1.90m (6ft 3in)

Tournament Stats: 20.3 PPG, 3.7 RPG, 3.7 APG, 1.0 SPG

Doron's prolific scoring ability, including a 31-point outburst against Sweden, led Israel to a 2-1 record and a second-place finish in a tough Group A that also included France and Lithuania. The 1.90m guard shows all the abilities you would want in a perimeter scorer: he's aggressive and fast to attack defenders in the perimeter while also being a versatile shooter who can convert jumpers with little time and space to prepare his shot.

Elhadji Dame Sarr - Italy


Birth Date: June 4, 2006 (17 years old)
Height: 1.96m (6ft 5in)

Tournament Stats: 17.7 PPG, 6.0 RPG, 2.3 APG, 1.7 SPG, 0.7 BPG

Italy finished the group stage with a 1-2 record, but Sarr's tremendous shooting ability kept the team within reach in close losses against Greece and Spain. The Barcelona wing is currently shooting 40.9 percent from beyond the arc on 7.3 attempts per game, but he's far from being a one-dimensional player, Sarr is also able to get to the rim with his combination of size, length and open court speed, as well as creating events on the defensive end of the floor.

Illan Pietrus - France

Point Guard

Birth Date: June 20, 2005 (18 years old)
Height: 1.92m (6ft 4in)

Tournament Stats: 12.3 PPG, 4.7 APG, 3.3 RPG, 1.0 SPG

Considered as one of the top French prospects at the guard position and a potential selection in the 2024 NBA Draft, Pietrus has not disappointed with his performance in Nis. He's scoring the ball with efficiency (shooting 47.8 percent from the field and 40 percent from three-point range) while also providing creative playmaking for others, averaging 4.7 assists to just 1.0 turnover per game. He's also contributing defensively for France, using his length and lateral speed to stay in front of opponents in the perimeter.

Filip Jovic - Serbia

Power Forward

Birth Date: February 1, 2005 (18 years old)
Height: 2.04m (6ft 8in)

Tournament Stats: 12.0 PPG, 6.0 RPG, 2.3 BPG, 2.0 APG, 0.3 SPG

Serbia has cruised through the Group Phase, beating opponents by an average of 30.6 points per game and it's hard to select just one player to highlight. Among Bogoljub Markovic's scoring, Nikola Topic's passing and Pavle Nikolic's all-around game, Filip Jovic's tremendous efficiency and two-way impact can't be overlooked. The Mega Basket forward is scoring 12.0 points per game on a tremendous 76.5 percent from the field, while also contributing defensively, being one of the top five shot blockers in the tournament.

Blaz Tratar - Slovenia

Power Forward

Birth Date: January 24, 2005 (18 years old)
Height: 2.03m (6ft 8in)

Tournament Stats: 11.3 PPG, 7.0 RPG, 1.3 SPG, 0.7 BPG, 0.3 APG

Tratar has been a steady and efficient interior presence for Slovenia, leading the team in scoring and rebounding while shooting a tremendous 76.2 percent from the field. Tratar utilizes his size and strength to set hard screens, being a solid target in pick-and-roll plays and while he's not exactly a self-creator in the post, he shows good touch to finish in crowded spaces once he gets the ball in the paint.

Alexandros Samodurov - Greece


Birth Date: April 20, 2005 (18 years old)
Height: 2.11m (6ft 11in)

Tournament Stats: 14.0 PPG, 4.3 RPG, 2.3 APG, 1.7 BPG, 1.3 SPG

Samodurov is considered to be one of the most interesting long-term prospects in Nis and he's making a major impact for Greece, contributing in nearly all aspects of the game. Standing at 2.11m, Samodurov handles the ball with impressive speed and fluidity, putting pressure consistently on opposing defenders with an aggressive mentality that is evidenced by the amount of fouls he draws per game. He is also making an impact on defense with his size and length around the basket.

Christian Anderson - Germany

Point Guard

Birth Date: April 2, 2006 (17 years old)
Height: 1.84m (6ft 0in)

Tournament Stats: 14.0 PPG, 3.7 APG, 3.3 SPG, 2.3 RPG

Germany will roll into the Round of 16 with a perfect record, in part due to the synergy between Johann Grunloh's interior presence, Ivan Kharchenkov's versatile scoring and Christian Anderson's two-way impact. The 17-year-old guard has impressed offensively with his shotmaking, possessing one of the best pull-up abilities in the tournament, but also with his creative passing ability on the move. The Oak Hill prospect has also made an impact defensively in the perimeter with his quick hands, averaging 3.3 steals per game in the tournament.

Milan Stranel - Czech Republic

Power Forward

Birth Date: October 17, 2005 (17 years old)
Height: 1.98m (6ft 6in)

Tournament Stats: 14.3 PPG, 12.3 RPG, 3.0 APG, 2.3 BPG, 1.0 SPG

Czech Republic is still looking for their first win of the competition, but that hasn't stopped Stranel from having a standout performance in Nis. The USK forward has stepped up and despite standing at just 1.98m, he's leading the tournament in rebounding and ranks top five in blocks per game, making an impact in the paint for a Czech team that certainly lacks the elite size of other squads in the competition.