At the 17th edition of the Euroleague Basketball Adidas Next Generation Tournament Finals, U18 Rytas Vilnius will try to do something that hasn’t happened since 2009 – repeat as U18 continental champion at the Turkish Airlines Euroleague Final Four. Three other past title-winners will be among the teams fighting to keep Rytas from matching U18 FMP Belgrade’s feat 10 years ago.
Joining Rytas in the eight-team field in Vitoria-Gasteiz, Spain, with the goal of returning to the top of Europe are 2003 and 2007 winner U18 Zalgiris Kaunas, 2014 champion U18 Crvena Zvezda mts Belgrade and 2015 champ U18 Real Madrid. Among the other teams are U18 Mega Bemax Belgrade, which reached the 2017 ANGT championship game, and U18 Maccabi Teddy Tel Aviv, which lost in the 2003 title game. The other two teams are U18 FC Bayern Munich and debutant U18 Valencia Basket.
The finals will see the eight teams divided into two groups of four, which will play a round-robin format during the first three days of the event at Polideportivo Mendizorrotza. Sunday’s championship game will take place at Fernando Buesa Arena and will serve as the prelude to the game later that day on the same floor that will crown this season’s Euroleague champion.
Group A is comprised of ANGT Belgrade winner Mega, ANGT Kaunas victor Zalgiris, ANGT Munich runner-up Maccabi and ANGT Munich fifth-place team Bayern. Mega is making its fourth straight appearance at the ANGT Finals and would love to at least get back to the championship game, which the Serbian side lost in 2017 to U18 CFBB Paris. Zalgiris is back in the field for a 14th time after missing the ANGT Finals last season. Not only did the Lithuania giant win the first-ever edition of the competition and the crown in 2007, but it also reached the championship game in 2005, 2006 and 2011. Maccabi returns to the ANGT Finals for the first time since 2008 and will be playing in the tournament for the sixth time. Bayern meanwhile is making its second appearance after making its ANGT Finals debut last season.
Group B features ANGT Valencia winner Valencia, ANGT Munich winner Madrid, ANGT Belgrade runner-up Zvezda and ANGT Kaunas runner-up Rytas. Valencia is in the tournament for the first time. Madrid, for its part, is playing in the finals for the sixth straight season and seventh in total. In addition to winning the crown in 2015 with Luka Doncic being named MVP, Madrid played in the championship game in 2014. That game was won by Zvezda, which is making its ninth straight showing in the finals. After winning the 2014 crown, Zvezda lost in the championship game the following two seasons to Madrid and U18 FC Barcelona Lassa, respectively. Reigning champion Rytas, meanwhile, is participating in the finals for the seventh time and will be shooting for a third title following 2012 and last season. The Lithuania power also reached the championship game in 2009.
The stage is set for the finest young players in Europe to thrill fans as they battle to become continental champion at the Euroleague Basketball Adidas Next Generation Tournament Finals!