|13 June 2007|
In preparation for summer youth competition, a number of top U19 European teams and prospects took part in the World Basketball Tournament of Douai, Northern France.
Israel, led by Omre Casspi, came away undefeated with a 5-0 record, giving reason to believe that their side can make a run to the podium at the U20 European Championship, which will be held in Slovenia and Italy beginning on 6 July.
The Israelis clinched first place following a 91-65 thrashing of Lithuania. Casspi, who was named the competition’s Most Valuable Player, scored 21 and Israel’s defense forced 25 Lithuania turnovers.
Israel concluded their perfect showing in the tournament with a 112-88 triumph over the USA.
Earlier in the competition, Israel posted a surprise win over talented France, whose roster included prospects such as Ludovic Vaty, Alexis Ajinca, French champion Adrien Moerman of Chorale Roanne and Le Mans players Nicolas Batum and Antoine Diot. The five players were all instrumental in France’s run to the gold medal last year at the Umcor U18 European Championship.
|Nicolas Batum and France beat Lithuania in a re-match of the U18 European Championship title game.|
Other highlights from the World Basketball Tournament included a rematch from the 2006 U18 European Championship title game. France once again defeated Lithuania, this time by the score of 94-87.
Batum, the MVP of the 2006 U18 European Championship, registered one of the best individual performances in the World Basketball Tournament with 35 points, seven rebounds and three assists in France’s 90-86 loss to Australia.
The loss to Australia relegated France to third place. Lithuania finished fourth with a 2-3 record, the USA came in fifth (1-4) and Germany sixth (0-5).
All tournament team:
Point Guard : Patrick Mills - Australia
Shooting Guard : Martynas Gecevicius - Lithuania
Small Forward : Nicolas Batum - France
Power Forward : Omre Casspi - Israel
Center : Andrew Ogilvy - Australia
MVP : Omre Casspi - Israel
Best scorer : Jordan Hamilton - USA
Created in 1986, the World Tournament of Douai has always attracted the best international U19 basketball teams. More than thirty players who previously took part in the event have been or are now playing in the NBA, including Tony Parker, Carmelo Anthony, Andrei Kirilenko, Luol Deng, Rudy Gay and Daniel Gibson.