Turkey and France cemented their status as favourites for July's Umcor U18 European Championship Men in Greece, following impressive showings at the Tournoi Mondial De Basket in Douai, France at the weekend.
The two sides had already impressed on the international stage in 2006, battling for gold at the Albert Schweitzer Tournament (AST) in April.
France emerged victorious at the AST, beating Turkey 78-56 behind an MVP performance from Nicolas Batum.
|Martynas Gecevicius (Lithuania) |
In France, the Mondial de Basket was dominated by the USA which coasted to the gold medal, capped by a 107-78 victory over Turkey in the final.
France, playing without Batum, 214cm center Alexis Ajinca and 190cm guard Antoine Diot, finished in fourth place, losing out to Lithuania 85-81 in the bronze medal game.
Turkey put on a brave performance in the final against a very strong USA elite team featuring 5 players ranked in the top 12 among high school seniors in the country. However, without the injured Dogus Balbay (an All-Tournament selection at the Albert Schweitzer), Baris Hersek, Deniz Tunca and Can Özcan (playing in the TBL play-off finals with Ulker), Turkey were not at full strength.
After a close first 20 minutes in which Turkey trailed by just 7 points, the USA pulled away in the second half to win comfortably.
The USA dominated the All-Tournament Team led by 207 cm forward Chase Budinger. He was joined by teammates Nick Calathes, Thaddeus Young, and Robin Lopez, while Lithuania's Martynas Gecevicius was the lone European selection.
Visit www.tournoi-douai.com for all the rosters and stats from the tournament.