Eight players to watch at the FIBA U18 European Championship 2022, Division B
PLOIESTI (Romania) - After a two-year break, the FIBA U18 European Championship, Division B returns to its usual format, with the 2022 edition of the competition played in Ploiesti, Romania.
The 22 participating teams will once again be competing for promotion to Division A, with two tickets up for grabs for the teams that reach the Final.
Here is an overview of eight leading players who will shape this tournament.
Be sure to also check out the top players to watch in the Division A tournament, which will be taking place in Izmir, Turkey.
Elliot Cadeau – Sweden
Birth Date: September 4, 2004 (17 years old)
Height: 1.85m (6ft 1in)
Club: Link Academy (USA)
Elliot Cadeau sits atop the list of the most anticipated FIBA debuts this summer. The 17-year-old is one of Europe's most athletic and exciting guards and will be impossible to stop for his opponents. At the recent U18 Nordic Championships, Cadeau won the MVP trophy and averaged an outstanding 25.2 points per game. The guard is a brilliant slasher: he combines a shifty handle with elite explosiveness, and he regularly detonates for huge dunks. Most of the time, the only way to stop him from scoring is to foul, so expect him to live at the charity stripe as well. In addition to the scoring, Cadeau is also a creative passer, who regularly throws impressive cross-court dimes. Despite this electrifying skill set, the Swede is hardly known in Europe, because he plays in the US. There, however, he's considered one of the best players in his graduating class and has reported offers from Kansas, Maryland, Syracuse, Tennessee, and many other elite basketball schools. Expect him to put on a show this summer!
Miro Little – Finland
Birth Date: May 30, 2004 (18 years old)
Height: 1.93m (6ft 4in)
Club: Sunrise Christian Academy (USA)
Miro Little was the breakout star of European youth basketball this season, and he will be looking to lead Finland back into Division A after they were relegated in 2019. Little dominated the Finnish 2nd Division as well as the Adidas Next Generation Tournament and has even represented the senior national team on three occasions already. Through his performances, the guard earned a scholarship to Baylor, one of the United States' most successful basketball schools in recent years. Little excels with the ball in his hands: he's a very good slasher, who regularly gets to and finishes at the rim in transition and in pick-and-roll. Additionally, he shows solid vision on his drives, so he can consistently set up teammates for open shots. Finally, he's a respectable shooter, who can punish defenses for going under screens. Expect Little to put on a big performance in Ploiesti and be among the tournament leaders in points as well as assists.
Dragos Lungu – Romania
Birth Date: September 2, 2004 (17 years old)
Height: 1.96m (6ft 5in)
Club: NBA Global Academy (AUS)
Dragos Lungu was one of the standout players at last year's U18 Challenger and returns to the competition with a chance to lead Romania into Division A in front of a home crowd. Since last summer, Lungu has moved to NBA Global Academy in Australia to further develop his skill set and present his game to a wide international audience. Once the big guard graduates high school, he'll be one of the most sought-after European players, because of his intriguing skill set. At 1.96m, he's an exceptional ball-handler, who effortlessly strings together shifty handling moves, which makes it very hard to stay in front of him one-on-one. The Romanian's jump shot and playmaking ability are still progressing, but he has the makings of a high-level primary ball-handler if he develops well in the future. Defensively, Lungu shows flashes of being able to defend multiple positions and makes an impact in passing lanes as well.
Zinedin Mulic – Bosnia and Herzegovina
Birth Date: January 15, 2004 (18 years old)
Height: 2.00m (6ft 7in)
Club: OKK Spars (BIH)
After not participating in last year's European Youth Challengers, Bosnia and Herzegovina returns with a solid team led by versatile forward Zinedin Mulic. The 18-year-old had a strong season, showing his talents in the U19 ABA Championship with OKK Spars Sarajevo as well as the ANGT, where he was selected in the team of the tournament. At 2.00m, Mulic displays impressive offensive versatility: he's a capable pull-up shooter and an athletic driver. He regularly gets to the basket, especially in transition and by attacking closeouts, and he finishes at the rim with outstanding body control and vertical. He even flashes some potential running the pick-and-roll and making reads for others. Mulic already impressed in his FIBA debut at the U18 European Championship in 2019, and he can be expected to be one of the standouts again.
Tobias Jensen – Denmark
Birth Date: May 8, 2004 (18 years old)
Height: 1.98m (6ft 6in)
Club: ratiopharm Ulm (GER)
Tobias Jensen is a big guard with an outstanding skill set, who played a strong season for ratiopharm Ulm's junior team. He also impressed at the recent U18 Nordic Championships, where he averaged 19.6 points, 4.2 assists and 36.1 percent from downtown on over seven attempts a game. At 1.98m, he's an elite shooter off the catch and off the dribble, who will let it fly at almost any opportunity and has still converted nearly 40 percent of his threes this season. While not overly explosive, Jensen uses screens brilliantly to get downhill, often catching defenders off guard by rejecting or snaking ball-screens and then finishing with soft floaters or layups with either hand. Despite his size, Jensen will be Denmark's primary ballhandler and form a lethal duo with the athletic forward Marqus Marion. In fact, Denmark will field a very solid team overall, which shouldn't be counted out as a dark horse candidate for promotion into Division A.
Tunde Fasasi – Sweden
Birth Date: June 4, 2004 (18 years old)
Height: 2.00m (6ft 7in)
Club: Promitheas Patras (GRE)
Tunde Fasasi is set to make his first FIBA appearance after a successful season, which saw him make his EuroCup debut and leave a lasting impression at the ANGT. The physical forward can do a little bit of everything for the Swedish national team. At 2.00m, Fasasi is a standout athlete, who can attack from the perimeter or push the ball in transition, and always has the potential for a big throwdown. Furthermore, he shows potential as a shooter. On defense, the 18-year-old has the tools and awareness to make a big impact on and off the ball, and it wouldn't be surprising if he found himself among the tournament leaders in steals and blocks at this FIBA U18 European Championship, Division B. Sweden's squad has great depth and multiple impressive athletes, which should make them one of the contenders to secure promotion into Division A.
Tudor Somacescu – Romania
Birth Date: June 15, 2005 (17 years old)
Height: 1.87m (6ft 2in)
Club: U-BT Cluj Napoca (ROU)
With Izan Almansa and Alexandre Sarr, two European players from Overtime Elite excelled at the FIBA U17 Basketball World Cup. Tudor Somacescu will be looking to continue his teammates' streak of positive performances at the FIBA U18 European Championship, Division B. The Romanian guard impresses with a deceptive handle and creative passes, which earned him the reputation as one of the best international guards in his age group. Additionally, he shows potential as a shooter, which will be an integral skill to becoming a primary ballhandler at a high level of professional basketball in the future. Somacescu didn't have an easy season at OTE: the youngest player in the program fought with injuries throughout the year. Therefore, this tournament in front of a home crowd in Ploiesti could serve as an opportunity for Somacescu to get back on track and set up a potential breakout season in his second year at Overtime Elite.
Timotej Malovec – Slovakia
Birth Date: April 25, 2004 (18 years old)
Height: 2.02m (6ft 8in)
Club: KK Mega Basket (SRB)
Few players in the tournament will be able to match Timotej Malovec's experience against professional competition. At 18 years old, the wing has already played close to 1700 minutes of pro ball, including 66 games in Slovakia's first division and a handful of games for the senior national team. The FIBA U18 European Championship will be an opportunity for Malovec to play a lead role on his team. In Romania, he'll be able to put his intriguing offensive skill set on display: at 2.02m, the Slovak is a solid shooter off the catch, shows some ability getting to the basket out of pick-and-roll, and regularly makes nice passing reads. He impresses with unselfishness but also with his creativity as a playmaker, as he's very comfortable with bounce passes for example. Last year, Matus Malovec set the U18 Challenger on fire; this year, it's his brother's turn.