By Jared Grellet
|Marko Arapovic leads Croatia in scoring|
For the majority of participants at the Dadu U16 European Championship, the tournament marks their first appearance in a major tournament, and the first opportunity for them to make a name for themselves outside of their own country.
FIBAEurope.com looks back at players who have stood out from the pack during the first two rounds of action.
Appearing in his second U16 European Championship, Croatia big man Marko Arapovic has been living up to the expectations placed on his young shoulders, averaging a shade over 19 points a night and eight rebounds a game. His most impressive effort in a winning game came against Latvia in a must-win clash when he scored 25 points and picked up nine rebounds.
Despite the Czech Republic having only won one game to date at the tournament, it has not been through a lack of offensive consistency from Matej Svoboda. After scoring 10 points in his team's first up game against France, the small forward has since gone past 20 in every game to be averaging a tournament-high 20.5 points a night. What has been even more promising is Svoboda's improved shooting as the tournament has progressed with his shooting percentage improving in nearly every game.
Showing flashes of his father, Arvydas, Domantas Sabonis has been a menace under the hoops in Lithuania, averaging 14.7 rebounds and 13.5 points a night, including a record-equalling 27 boards against Poland. The 2.05m center also leads the tournament in double-doubles with three.
Not to be mistaken for his twin brother, Kamil, who has been impressive in his own right in
|Likes to create contact on his way to the basket: Pierfrancesco Oliva|
Panevezys, Marek Zywert has been instrumental in leading the Polish team into the quarter-finals. Averaging 12.3 points and 5.7 points a game, perhaps a more impressive stat is the 3.2 steals he picks up, the most from any player in the tournament to date.
The nimble Pierfranceso Oliva is not scared to throw his slender two metre frame into contact, as is exemplified by the number of the trips that the Italian small forward has made to the free-throw line, drawing on average seven fouls a night. Shooting at 77.7% from the charity-stripe, Oliva has been able to post solid figures of 15.7 points and 9.8 rebounds a game, providing the backbone in a strong all-round Italian team.
Nowadays, discussion around NBA six-man of the year seems to create as much discussion and debate as MVP. If there was also going to be a six-man award in Lithuania, then Marc Garcia's name can certainly be thrown into the mix. Picking up the majority of his minutes from the Spanish bench, the forward is leading the way with 16.5 points a night with a 46.8% success rate from the field, making him one of the strongest all-round shooters inside and outside the arc.