Europe's Bright Stars Shine in Slovenia, Italy // 14.07.2007
Looking towards the future, fans of European basketball have plenty of young players to keep an eye out for - a number of those shining very brightly at the U20 European Championship Men.

Here is a breakdown of 10 of the top talents and prospects in the spotlight in Nova Gorica and Gorizia.

Milos Teodosic

Point guard - Serbia, 14.5 ppg, 2.7 rpg, 6.0 asp, 0.7 stg

The crafty play-maker from FMP Zeleznik can do it all - score, pass and shoot, and all of it with perceived ease. His defence is a bit suspect at times. But Serbian senior national team coach Zoran Slavnic has already nominated the 20-year-old Teodosic for his team's training camp for the 2007 EuroBasket. After leading Serbia to two European gold medals, U16 in 2003 and 2005 U18, he's ready to complete the title tri-fecta of youth basketball.

Alexey Shved
Alexey Shved (RUS)
Alexey Shved (RUS)


Guard, Russia, 17.2 ppg, 4.5 rpg, 2.3 asp, 1.5 stg

This 18-year-old is already a special talent who has shown he can dominate against older generations. Despite shooting just 26 percent from three-point range, Shved is an excellent shooter but an even better scorer. The some-what skinny BC Khimky Moscow guard also can take over play-making duties with ease and excels in distributing the ball on the break - if he doesn't finish himself. His defence is satisfactory and he will grow stronger with age.

Dragan Labovic

Power forward, Serbia, 19.8 ppg, 6.3 rpg, 1.2 asp, 0.7 stg, 1.7 bpg

Labovic was Teodosic's team-mate on the 2003 U16 and 2005 U18 title-winning sides, but he also was a major factor in Serbia's capturing of the U20 title in Izmir, last summer. The FMP Zeleznik big man should be given the title as Mr. Efficient, shooting 65 percent from inside the three-point line and 26 percent from beyond it. He also commited just 1.7 turnovers in 30 minutes per game. Labovic is not fast or athletic or strong, but he plays to near perfection.

Ante Tomic

Center, Croatia, 16.3 ppg, 7.3 rpg, 1.0 asp, 0.8 stg, 1.0 bpg

The sky is the ceiling for this 19-year-old, who was Croatia's main weapon in a poor showing at this tournament. Tomic, who plays at KK Zagreb, can take over games with his low post offensive skills and defensive prowess. He still needs to fill out his body but his quickness and size offer plenty of promise.

Omri Casspi

Small forward, Israel, 18.2 ppg, 5.2 rpg, 1.3 asp, 2.3 stg

Perhaps a marked man coming into the tournament, Casspi has been one of his generation's top talents for the past couple years. He struggled at this tournament after opening with a 35-point showing in Israel's first game. The 19-year-old Hapoel Galil Elyon player has a great set of offensive skills and does okay defensively. But some have posed questions about his attitude. Regardless of that, the potential is immense.

Gasper Vidmar
Gasper Vidmar (Slovenia)
Gasper Vidmar (Slovenia)


Center, Slovnenia, 15.7 ppg, 10.0 rpg, 0.7 asp, 1.3 stg, 1.7 bpg

The 19-year-old is a dominating presence in the paint - on both ends of the court. The Geoplin Slovan Ljubljana big man has a solid battery of offensive moves and positions himself well on defence - both for rebounding and blocking shots. Vidmar already has great size and bulk and will only improve in that area with age. He could move into the low post for the Slovenian senior national team soon and stay there for a long time.

Mehmet Yagmur

Point guard, Turkey, 16.3 ppg, 4.0 rpg, 4.5 asp, 1.3 stg

The 20-year-old is the motor to Turkey's attack. And what he lacks in size - 1.86m - he makes up in will and desire. The Besiktas Istanbul play-maker has proved one of the quickest and elusive players in this tournament, driving past opposing point guards at will and having the skill set to finish plays regularly. He doesn't have the greatest outside shot - 33 percent three-pointers - but he's a big-play player on offence and defence, as proved by having the ball in his hands at the end of games and his blocked shot to beat France.

Xavier Rey

Center, Spain, 17.2 ppg, 9.8 rpg, 2.7 asp, 1.3 stg, 1.8 bpg

On a team which plays so well together, it's hard to select just one person. While guards Pau Ribas or Sergio Llull are both very promising players for the tournament's only undefeated team so far, Spain would not be in the semi-finals without their only big man in the post, 20-year-old Rey. The Barcelona/Cornella center dominated at both ends of the court, ranking fifth in scoring, third in rebounding and second in blocked shots after the Qualifying Rounds - including a 23-point, 20-rebound, five-blocks showing against Israel. If he continues to play at this level, Rey will soon be knocking quite hard at the door of the Spain's senior national team.

Poviales Butkevicius

Power forward, Lithuania, 14.3 ppg, 11.7 rpg, 0.7 asp, 1.3 stg, 1.0 bpg

Coming from just an average age group talentwise from the basketball warehouse of Lithuania, Butkevicius has plenty of promise, as displayed by his double-double averages for scoring and rebounding. The 19-year-old big man could have performed better at this tournament after not playing much this season at the first division Estonian club Tartu Ăślikool/Rock. With aspirations of trying to play a small forward position, Butkevicius will likely return to a mid-level Lithuanian side where he can hone his skills - which are there.

Nando De Colo

Guard, France, 18.3 ppg, 4.8 rpg, 2.8 asp, 2.5 stg

The 20-year-old can definitely light up the scoreboard though he needs a bit of improvement on his three-point range - just 29 percent for the tournament. But the Cholet guard is an excellent defender and could emerge into a solid possibility for the senior national team if he continues to develop.
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