Many great players have showcased their skills in the EuroLeague over the years. If you take a look at the last 10 Rising Star Award winners, you find names like Ricky Rubio, Nikola Mirotic, Bogdan Bogdanovic, Luka Doncic, Goga Bitadze, Kostas Papanikolaou and Alex Abrines. There is a lot of young blood in the EuroLeague ready to take their game to the next level. Here are 10 of the best young players in the competition for the 2020-21 season.
Usman Garuba – Real Madrid
A force of nature, Garuba has already cracked Real’s rotation and is expected to see even more playing time this season. Garuba is an outstanding athlete with great versatility, who is able to play defense against all sorts of opponents, from guards to centers. At age 18, he is still developing on offense, but has the best teacher he can find as a teammate: Real legend Felipe Reyes. Always expect high intensity and great energy from him.
Zan Sisko – FC Bayern Munich
At age 23, Sisko has already shown he belongs to the EuroLeague level, averaging 5.3 points in seven games last season in less than 16 minutes per night. Sisko is a very quick player with an even faster basketball mind. His high basketball IQ allows him to think fast and make good decisions, which is especially valuable in transition, whether creating for himself or finding an open man for an easy basket. He’s an extremely fun-to-watch player.
Matt Strazel, LDLC ASVEL Villeurbanne
A playmaker with unlimited shooting range, Strazel surprised everyone in his EuroLeague debut last season with 9 points off the bench. By the end of the season, he had connected on 41.4% of his shots from downtown, which is a fine number for a 17-year-old rookie with no experience at that level. A good ballhandler with poise and character, Strazel will see more playing time this season as he gains experience and adds to his physical tools.
Carlos Alocen, Real Madrid
He signed for Real a year ago, but remained with his previous club, Casademont Zaragoza, on loan for one season. Alocen is the complete package; an old-school playmaker with great passing skills and court sense, he also has the athleticism to attack the rim and play sticky on-the-ball defense. Alocen arrives at the perfect team, as he is a quick, ambitious player who is the right fit for Coach Pablo Laso’s system. The next great Spanish point guard?
Leo Bolmaro, FC Barcelona
Bolmaro used to be a track & field athlete before giving it up for basketball and you can tell that by his physicality, timing and overall quickness. The left-handed Bolmaro plays with great aggressiveness, has very good passing skills – especially in transition, and is in the right environment to keep developing. Coach Jasikevicius was an elite playmaker and Nick Calathes is one of the best pass-first point guards in the world. Keep an eye on him!
Jonas Mattisseck, ALBA Berlin
Mattisseck took advantage of ALBA head coach Aito Garcia Reneses’s next-man-up mentality and saw very valuable playing time last season when his team’s point guards were injured. Now Mattisseck is expected to see regular playing time off the bench to make the most of his outside shooting, coordination, passing skills and fresh legs on defense. Coach Aito knows what it takes to developing young talent, so Mattisseck is in good hands.
Aleksa Radanov, Crvena Zvezda mts Belgrade
After a great season with FMP Belgrade in which he was one of the team’s pillars, Aleksa Radanov returns to Zvezda to fight for quality playing time. A former ANGT star who took Zvezda to back-to-back championship game appearances in 2015 and 2016, Radanov is a tall swingman able to put the ball on the floor, use his size to score in the low post, dunk in traffic and sink the outside shot, especially from the corners.
Davide Moretti – AX Armani Exchange Milan
Moretti has chosen Milan to start his professional basketball career after three successful seasons with Texas Tech University. Last season, he averaged over 5 three-point shots per game and made 38.5% of them. Moretti has already seen significant playing time in Milan early in the season. He is a shooter with unlimited range and good patience to find the right shot at the right time. An interesting prospect.
Yovel Zoosman – Maccabi Playtika Tel Aviv
Slowly but steadily, Zoosman has become an important member of Maccabi’s rotation. Above all, Zoosman is a team-oriented player, who is very versatile and able to play strong defense and look for steals, while also relying on a nice array of moves on offense. His overall activity, energy and willingness are contagious, as he sometimes seems to be everywhere on defense. Athletic and ready, Zoosman needs to build a consistent three-point shot to be truly outstanding.
Marek Blazevic – Zalgiris Kaunas
Blazevic drew everyone’s attention in the 2018 ANGT Championship Game in Belgrade, Serbia, with a double-double of 20 points and 11 rebounds to lead U18 Lietuvos Rytas Vilnius to the title. He is a good finisher around the rim due to his great hands and feel for the game, can hit mid-range shots and is a good defender. A EuroLeague newcomer, Blazevic starts the season as his team’s fifth big man and will fight hard to earn respect and playing time.