Group D Preview

11 July 2012

9. Martin Kríz (Czech Republic)
The Czech Republic have every reason to believe the frontcourt duo of Martin Kríz (pictured) and big man Ondrej Balvin could work wonders

Each one of the four teams in Group D, Hungary, Finland, the Czech Republic and Switzerland, is coming into the championship with reasons to believe they can surprise their opponents.


Hungary coach Peter Völgyi will lean on a young side in this tournament.

Peter Jakab poured in 10.6 points per game at the U18 European Championship Division B and was a threat from all over the court.

He also averaged three steals per game and should receive a lot of playing time after being influential in the build-up.

Balazs Kerpel-Fronius is a 1.95m guard/forward who also played in the 2011 event and has had some bright moments in the warm-ups, including a 15-point outing in a 59-54 outing against Iran.


Finland have a couple of players returning from the 2011 U20 European Championship Division B who are certain to make an impact.

They are 1.82m point guard Villematti Kopio and 2.03m forward Markus Molenius.

Both have been very performing well in the build-up. Kopio averaged 14.8 points last year in the same tournament while Molenius poured in 4.9 points per game.

Alex Murphy, who plays college basketball for Team USA coach Mike Krzyzewski at Duke University, promises to be a real spark for the Finns.

On his debut against Estonia on 27 June, Murphy hit 12 of his 21 shots from the floor and scored 36 points in a 97-78 Finnish victory.


Ondrej Balvín is one of the youngsters who is causing a lot of excitement in the game following his performance last year with the Czech Republic at the U20 European Championship Division B, where he made the All Tournament Team.

On the books of Banca Civica Sevilla in Spain, the 2.16m center averaged 12.3 points and 9.8 rebounds from the center position and even made a couple of appearances with the senior national team.

He was solid in the 74-72 defeat to Georgia in the Semi-Finals, a result that prevented the Czechs from winning promotion.

Balvin will form an interesting frontcourt combination with forward Martiz Kriz, the top scorer of last year's U18 European Championship, with 19 points per contest.


Milos Bozovic of Switzerland, a 1.98m forward, averaged 4 points per game in the U20 European Championship last year and returns but much will be expected of forwards Marko Mladjan and Michel Nzege, who were important last year for the U18 team.

The former averaged 8.6 points and 4 rebounds and the latter 8.1 points and 4.8 rebounds.

Point guard Taulant Murati was also a big contributor for the Swiss and could be vital this summer.


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