|11 July 2012|
|France will have to do without the services of recently drafted Evan Fournier, but watch out for their other combo guard, Léo Westerman |
France, Serbia, Montenegro and Germany will battle it out in Group A of the U20 European Championship Division A. We break down the prospects of the four teams in this very difficult pool.
The French have been on the podium each of the last three years, winning silver in 2009, gold in 2010 and bronze in 2011.
Les Bleus will be without Evan Fournier, this year's number 20 pick in the NBA draft, but watch out for their other combo guard, Leo Westermann.
The rising star, who has just signed with Partizan, averaged 10 points and 2.3 assists per game at the 2011 edition of the Championship.
Big man Rudy Gobert should also have a prominent role with France.
Gobert averaged 5.6 points and 5.1 rebounds last year in Bilbao.
Kevin Mendy is also back for the second year in a row, after pouring in 5.3 points per contest at the power forward position in less than 17 minutes an outing.
Serbia are coming off a disappointing 13th place finish in Bilbao.
Aleksandar Dzikic, the coach, has all the members of the squad that won silver at the U19 World Championship last year in the preparations while Nenad Miljenovic, Nemanja Krstic, Stefan Popovski, Nemanja Bezbradica and Nemanja Dangubic are in one year after helping the country capture silver at the 2011 U18 European Championship in Wroclaw.
All eyes will be on Miljenovic, who averaged a team-high 15.4 points for Mega Vizura this season in the Serbian league.
Montenegro, who are coached by Mihailo Pavicevic, finished seventh in 2011 in Bilbao and they will have Marko Todorovic, who played last season at Joventut Badalona, back.
A 2.10m center, Todorovic averaged 8.6 points, 7.9 boards, 1.1 blocks and 1.4 steals at least year's U20 European Championship in Spain.
Others to look out for are forward Radosav Spasojevic and guard Andrej Pajovic, returning members from last year's team.
Germany are coming off a very good fifth-place finish in Bilbao and are once again led by coach Frank Menz.
The 2.00m guard/forward Mathis Mönninghoff has a prominent role for the under-20 side. Last year, the Ibbenbüren-born player shot 42% (21 of 50) from long range and averaged 10.4 points and 2.1 rebounds.
Another to look out for is 2.10m center Philipp Neumann, who played 25 games for German champions Brose Baskets Bamberg this season and averaged 2.6 points and 1.9 rebounds.