Breakdown of how the teams did, who starred, who disappointed, and who to look out for. There’s also first and second team selections.

Croatia: A disappointing performance for a young but talented team that was expected to make it to the semi-finals. They have a very deep team with a versatile roster full of players with great potential, the only thing lacking was experience. After beating USA in the last game of the second round they were expected to overcome Argentina, but the South Americans surprised everyone and Croatia has to view the result as a massive disappointment.

Their leading scorer was the 19-year old 6’9″ center, Boric Barac (17.9 ppg) but their best player – and likely the second-best playerin the tournament – was Dario Saric.

He was listed as a center in the competition but found himself played considerable time at the point! He can handle the ball, shoot from mid-range and attack the basket off the dribble. He’s a natural scorer and a tenacious rebounder (tournament top 5 in both categories with 18.1 ppg and 10.1 rpg) and is two years younger than Barac. already has him as a lottery pick in 2013. If his development continues and he stays in the draft, I see him being a top 5 pick. He reminds me a lot of Toni Kukoc because of his all-around abilities at his size.

Player to Watch: Besides Saric, of course, Mario Hezonja, a very athletic 6’5’’ shooting guard. He’s only 16 years old and plays in the same team as Saric in Croatia. He started the tournament strong playing a lot of minutes but in the last couple games he couldn’t put a double-digit scoring game. He finished with an 8 ppg average.

Poland: Finished seventh overall by beating Croatia on the last day of the competition. One of their main players was Przemylsaw Karnowski, an 18-year old 7’1’’ center who averaged 13.2 points and 6.3 rebounds, but couldn’t stop tournament MVP Jonas Valanciunas in the quarterfinals, a tall task in this tournament. Valanciunas’ 26/24 performance was too much for Karnowski to overcome. Considering they didn’t come as a favorite by any account, the seventh spot was a good performance.

Player to Watch: Michal Michalak, an 18-year old 6’6’’ guard who averaged 17.4 points. He’s got good size and rebounds well for his position, he’s best remembered in the competition for putting up a stellar performance against Lithuania with 29 points and 13 rebounds.

Australia: Won their group in the second round but lost in the quarterfinals to tournament runners-up Serbia. They lost by one to USA and ended up finishing sixth. It was a good performance which would have been better if their main player, Anthony Drmic (a 6’5’’ small forward committed to playing in the NCAA next season), put the same numbers in the final round than as he had in the previous two. After two rounds, he was head-to-head with Valanciunas for the tournament MVP but averaged just 9 points in the last 5 games. Their top scorer with 17.1 ppg was 6’3’’ guard, Hugh Greenwood.

Player to Watch: Anthony Drimic who will be easy to follow in the next couple of season. Greenwood showed a great scoring ability in the lasts games but he’s undersized for the SG position at 6’3’’.

USA: I won’t say a lot about them. Most RR readers know these players better than me. Jeremy Lamb, Joe Jackson and Patric Young were their best players. Lamb put up some stellar performances that showed he’s a very good prospect. He’s a bit undersized but has a crazy long wingspan. He averaged 16.2 points and had a 35 point game against champions Lithuania, a game that USA won in overtime.

Their loss to Russia in the quarterfinals was the tournament’s biggest surprise. Some said that they underestimated their opponent and questioned their preparation. It’s the same thing that had been said about the National Team in Indianapolis 2002, Athens 2004, and Japan 2006.

The fifth spot overall is clearly not what everyone expected from them.

Argentina: Finished fourth after losing to Russia in the bronze medal game. It was a spectacular performance for a team that didn’t come with a lot of hype or expectations. They lack a true star and even a good prospect, but they showed their typical effort (see Scola, Ginobili) and a great team game. They are a very deep team because no player is much better than the rest.

After losing the tournament opener in a blowout against Australia and recovering in the second round, they surprisingly beat Croatia in the quarterfinals and lost a very close game against European powerhouse Serbia in the semis. Their top scorer, Luciano Massarelli, averaged just 11.2 points, and their fifth best scorer averaged 8.2 points, showcasing the even scoring responsibility on the team. The stat also perfectly shows the ball distribution and multiple scoring options that present itself out of their motion-heavy offense. Massarelli, Garino, Giogetti and Paredes are some names to play attention.

Player to Watch: Marcos Delia. He didn’t put up spectacular numbers but he really showed great footwork and an offensive arsenal from the post. He averaged 10.8 points and 7.8 rebounds but put a very strong performance in the semis with 19/10. Because of his offensive repertoire in the post, he reminds a lot of Luis Scola, but Scola took care of that comparison with a tweet during the semis: “I like him a lot, but he’s not like me, He’s far more athletic”.

Russia: Qualified for the quarterfinals after Argentina beat Brazil, a result they needed to advanced and meet USA, who they finally beat to advance to the semis against Lithuania. Dimitri Kulagin had a great tournament despite starting slow. Sergey Karasev shouldered the load until Kulagin appeared as everyone expected. Both players average a combine 30 points but it was the latter who carried his team in crunch time. He put up 21/12 against USA, 27/3 against Lithuania, and 24/8 in the bronze medal game.

Player to Watch: Of course, Kulagin and also Karasev. At 6’5’’, Kulagin is an exciting combo-guard, a bit undersized for the two and not really a true one. He shjot a great 48.7% FG and he’s a natural scorer who has potential to improve – he’s already on the NBA’s radar.

Sergey Karasev is a 6’7’’ small forward that averaged 15.3 points but just 4.1 rebounds. For a player with his size and strength, he could had rebounded better. He remains a solid three-point shooter making 35.4% from outside.

Serbia: Came as a contender and lost the final game to Lituania by 18, 67-85. They were lead in scoring by the exciting and electrifying Aleksandar Cvektovic, the 18-year old 6’3’’ point guard. He reminds me of Tony Parker, except he’s not as quick and is a much better shooter. He averaged 14.4 points and 3.8 rebounds, but a poor 2.7 assists considering how much he handles the ball. He started the tournament very strong but his scorning numbers went down as the games went on.

Serbia finished the second round in the fourth spot but beat Australia in the quarterfinal and then won a close game against Argentina in the semis. In that particular game, Bogdan Bogdanovic showed why so many are excited about him. Note that he’s not Bojan Bogdanovic, the Croatian picked 31th by the T-Wolves in the 2011 Draft who was traded to the Nets on draft night. Bogdan is a 19-year old 6’6’’ guard with a long wingspan and a good touch who didn’t have a great tournament (he missed the first two games). He did erupt against Argentina for 25 points (4/6 3PT) and 8 rebounds. In the final game, 7’3’’ center Nemanja Besovic was destroyed by Valanciunas.

Player to Watch: Of course, Cvetkovic, but some scouts say Bogdanovic has a better chance of being drafted.

Lithuania: What can you say, they came as the favorites, lost the opening game against Croatia and an overtime thriller against USA without their second-best player. After that, they destroyed everyone on their road to victory. They won the trophy with by far the best and most dominant player in Jonas Valanciunas and an extraordinary and mature point guard in Vytenis Cizauskas. Lithuania is one of the few countries where basketball is the main sport and a constant source of good players.

The Cavaliers front-office has to be at least thinking about their decision of not selecting Valanciunas in favor of Tristan Thompson, even though the former hasn’t picked up an NBA basketball yet. He lead the competition in both points and rebounds with 23 and 14, respectively, and had some spectacular performances like the 26/24 against Poland in the quarterfinals, the 30/15 against Patric Young and USA, and the 36/8 in the final against Serbia. But the most surprising stat was the 81.1% (60/74) free-throw shooting. He had only 2 games with less than 10 rebounds and scored in double figures in every game. He was dominant and abused almost every center that defended him.

Player to Watch: Vytenis Cizauskas, a 19-year old 6’2’’ point guard who controls the game very well. He showed great all-around abilities and a high basketball IQ for his age. The decision making was impeccable at times and he did a great job of feeding Valanciunas in the post throughout the tourney. He led the tournament in assist with 5.6 and also averaged 13 points and 5.7 rebounds.

Most Disappointing Teams:

1. USA
2. Croatia
3. Brazil

Most Surprising Teams:

1. Argentina
2. Russia
3. Egypt

Most Disappointing Players:

Davis Bertans (Latvia): He’s an 18-year old, 6’10’’ player who plays on the perimeter. Although he recovered in the last couple games, it was not a good shooting performance for one of the only two already drafted players. He played in his country and his team could have played better. Averaged 15.3 points but shot just 26.7% from three.

Lucas Nogueira (Brazil): He put up some weak performances but the most disappointing part of his tournament was his team’s 9th overall position. Everyone knew he’s still years away from being a quality center, but being eliminated in the second round didn’t help his stock either. He averaged 9.6 points and 8.8 rebounds, the inconsistency was evident in his 19/10 and 4/2 performances.

Most Surprising Players:

1. Assem Ahmed (Egypt)
2. Marcos Delia (Argentina)
3. Vytenis Cizauskas (Lithuania)

RR’s All Tournament First Team:

PG: Aleksandar Cvetkovic (Serbia)
SG: Dimitri Kulagin (Russia)
SF: Dario Saric (Croatia)
PF: Marcos Delia (Argentina)
C: Jonas Valanciunas (Lithuania) – MVP

RR’s All Tournament Second Team:

PG: Vytenis Cizauskas (Lithuania)
SG: Anthony Drmic (Australia)
SF: Jeremy Lamb (USA)
PF: Assem Ahmed (Egypt)
C: Boris Barac (Croatia)

You can follow me on Twitter at @raul_ruscitti.

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  • Sek99

    Happy our guy is doing well, but not too taken just yet. While it may very well be true with what was said about Thompson, I’m not sure how we can judge who will be better considering neither has played in the NBA yet. Also, I thought one of his huge pluses was his free throw shooting, so I’m not sure if that was necessarily a surprise. A final couple thoughts; it’s international play and he’s playing against guys a lot younger. Also have to remember that there have been a lot of big men who dominate when they are young and playing similarly younger bigs (Brown, Chandler, Olujawakandi or however the hell you spell that current mcdonalds managers name) and either take a few years to develop, or end up working at McDonalds. All that being said, he couldn’t have had a better showing, so now I guess I’m guardedly optimistic. Still wish we had Kemba though.

    • Ihatehaters

      Forget about Kemba – he is going to be running a Micky D’s soon. Assistant to Ed O’Bannon. 

      Raps got a steal in Jonas V!

      • JW

        Nothing wrong with Kemba turning out.  Hope he does, I liked him in the interviews.   Me enjoying the Jonas selection does not have to be at the expense of Kemba and his success

      • BCGheradiniJayGots2Go!!!

        Wrong. Kemba has game plus he’s a competitor.

    • pesterm1

      “he’s playing for guys alot younger”

      what do u mean ? alot younger then who???
      Jonas is 19 yrs old he is playing against other 18 and 19 yr olds

      • Sek99

        And a lot of 16 year olds. Also, there aren’t a lot of quality C’s in the NBA, let alone international play. Considering bigs usually take a few to develop anyway. Also have to remember that USA won there world championship thingy last year with Lamar Odom and Javale McGee as centres. Odom’s a really good player, but he’s obviously not a C in the NBA. And McGee thinks he can free-throw line dunk it every possession, isn’t a great post defender, and has the JR Smith Complex, where he’d rather do something really cool on the court vs. doing the best thing. Not exactly top C’s but they all dominated. Just putting things into perspective.  

        • Bendit

          Can you please link to your source of “a lot of 16 year olds”?

          If they were better than the 19 yr. olds in their countries…well great. But your source would be an eye opener.

          • Sek99

            Read the past posts on this website about the tournament. . . he mentions a few 16 year olds. 

    • tonious35

      Wait till Leo “coaches” Tristan Thompson, if there is anything happening negatively in Team Canada basketball between those two, there has to be enough evidence that Leo should not be on TV anymore.

      • BCGheradiniJayGots2Go!!!

        I don’t see TT nor Cory playing for Team Canada under Leo- he’s snubbed them in the past for tryout spots.

        • Simon

          Why do you think that? That’s not true.

          They were regulars with team Canada at the Junior level, trained with the seniors last year and will be regulars on the senior team as soon as this summer possibly.

          They’ve never been snubbed by the men’s team; this is the first year they’re even realistically eligible unless you expect the senior team to be carrying high school players into international competitions.

          • BCGheradiniJayGots2Go!!!

            Time will tell. All is not as you think.

  • JW

    Where is Canada? 

    • onemanweave

      Just west of Iceland and east of Japan.

      • JW

        LOL, but seriously,

        It would of been nice to write something about our boys, Egypt gets mentioned, but no reference to Canada at all even though this site has predominantly Canadian basketball readership?

        Just odd to me.  Feel like an opportunity has been missed to promote our game. I honestly don’t care about this tournament other than for Jonas and Canada. I already forgot who won it. Was it Poland?

        “ALL I NEED TO KNOW” is how did Canada do, and how did Jonas do.

  • Brian Gerstein

    But the most surprising stat was the 81.1% (60/74) free-throw shooting. Surprising to who, certainly not me. 

    In fact, 81.1% for Jonas from the charity stripe is downright disappointing (just kidding) for a career 88.5% shooter.  I am not 100% sure in what context you wrote that, but it appears you were surprised at his high %, which in reality was below his career shooting %, but not by that much.

    We have a stud, and complements to Maurizio who was behind it.

    • barenakedman

      Jonas wasn’t exactly a diamond in the rough that Mauricio had to beat the bushes to find, he was on everyones radar.    

      • cesco

        His name is Maurizio and Jonas was not on the Cavs radar , everyone seems to criticize their choice of Thomson .   

        • Theswirsky

          uhhh Jonas was very much on the Cavs radar.  He was going to be their pick until a buyout wasn’t going to be reached (that would bring him to the NBA this coming season) at which point they chose to go with Tristan Thompson instead.

    • Getalife

      can we hand an award (a Darwin?) to this guy before he leaves again for his volunteer camp in Kuala Lampur, and move over already?

    • Bendit

      Any link showing Maurizio was the driving force behind the pick?

  • Mediumcore

    Great break down of the tourney Raul. Thanks!

  • hateslosing

    Great read, thanks Raul!

    Grear Tourney by Val, I’m really looking forward to the senior men’s tourney to see how he does aganst some tougher competition. I read he is likely to be the teams back up and I hope he has a good showing.

    I was very disappointed to read about Lucas Nogueira’s performance. I read about him while I was researching the draft and he sounded like such a talent if he could ever get his head right. Here’s hoping he figures it out.

    • Riego

      I’ve seen some games of him here in Spain and I’m very dissapointed with his performance too, he’s a better player than he has shown.

      • Nilanka15

        Speaking of Spain, it’s going to be great to see Valanciunas go up against the Gasol brothers at Eurobasket.  I believe Spain and Lithuania are in the same grouping.  Let’s see how our boy fares against a legit NBA frontcourt.

        • Riego

          Yeah, the battle between him and Marc will be nice, both are reckless rebounders…but JV won’t see too much time with that team I’m afraid, we’ll see.

          One note I just discover about JV ability to create his own shot, he did not receive a single possession in isolation plays last season 😀 Well, no surprise, we all know that right now, he gets his points  in situations where he receives the ball and define (offensive rebounds, breaks, cuts, P&R, etc).

          • darby

            Big V will see more game time in the eurobasket warm up games. BOLO in early august.  Btw, I don’t believe he is a lock for the team. Right now he is on the preliminary roster with 20 guys.

        • points

          test #2

    • Mediumcore

      When does the senior men’s tournament begin (when in August)? It should be interesting to see how Val cope’s with bigger stronger competition that doesn’t allow him to get to where he wants to go in the post. I think it will also give a good indication to what kind of rebounding insticts he has. If can rebound against bigger guys then it says a lot about those instincts.

      • points

        test #3

  • Kevin

    I really want to see him play in the big boy tournament in August.  Don’t know how much PT he will get but hopefully it’s enough for us to see him go up against some proven NBA talent.  I’m really excited about what he did during the U19 but I’m much more excited about this.

  • Riego

    Great…no, GREAT cover of the torunament Raul, congrats from Spain.

    By chance do you know why Spain didn’t play in this tournament???

    • Bendit

      Or Turkey?

      • None of those two qualify for the tournament. The case of Spain was a big dissapointment, they fail to make the world champion even with a roster full of promising players

        • Riego

          Ok, thanks, I never would thought they didn’t classified, with Jodar, Mirotic (future Bull’s player), Franch and company…big time dissapointment (hidden by spanish media of course…).

        • Bendit

          I also see that the qualifying occurs somewhat like for the soccer world cup where the world is divided into regions….Europe, Asia, Americas etc…and with only so many slots available for Europe the 2 mentioned had a lesser chance of getting in even though probably better than Korea or Egypt etc.

  • Johnn19

    Valanciunas has already competed in the Euroleague for Rytas as an 18 year old against the best teams in Europe and 25/32 year old players, contributing as a back-up C, 7.7pts and 5.8rbs in 15 mpg.

    He will be able to compete at Eurobasket as a back-up for the senior mens team, but needs another year in the Euroleague with more playing time and work on his body, to be NBA ready, as a 20 year old.

  • BCGheradiniJayGots2Go!!!

    It’s better than Jonas played well than not in this tourney but he ha sproven nothing on a NBA level.

    Lets wait & see what Jonas does in a Vegas Summer League setting then in a NBA preseason before getting all hyped up over what could be a potential 6 ppg & 5 rpg type of NBA player.

    Just a reminder the top US age eligible players turned down the U19 invitations from team USA- the guys who won the U18 Worlds last year. That was a rag tag bunch of 2nd/3rd tier talent that Team USA put together

    NBA >>>>>> U19

    • cesco

      Bullchiit , Lithuania has 1/100 th of the population of the US (3.4 mil vs 307) , it is little David vs Goliath . If Lithuania had 34 millions instead of 3.4 , the US will have little chance to beat them in basketball .

      • BCGheradiniJayGots2Go!!!

        Save that drama for ya mama…lmfao

    • points

      test #4

    • Bobbert

      I call shenanigans. You can’t seriously be saying the NBA is better than FIBA U19 basketball. What kind of chumps do you take us for?

    • Tai

      This was your earlier post: “Wrong. Kemba has game plus he’s a competitor.” ………. As is Jonas.
      You are so quick to criticize JV saying that “he has proven nothing on an NBA level.”

      Well tell me who from this draft class, or any draft class for that matter, have proven something on an NBA level?

      • BCGheradiniJayGots2Go!!!

        You win the ‘I’m stuck on stupid’ badge for today- enjoy & congrats.

  • Rpsfan95

    Lithuanian Bill Russell.

  • GMoney

    Jonas V highlights from FIBA U19 Tourney – MVP:

  • Great work.

    Regarding the all-tournament-teams, I have Lamb instead of Saric in the 1st. Cizauskas is probably undisputed in the 2nd, I also agree on Assem Ahmed. Drmic/Greenwood/Michalak is a tough call. Barac is an option on 4/5. I find it difficult to judge on Nogiuera since group games weren’t broadcasted. His per-minute numbers were pretty good, though maybe not as good as expected.

  • GermanWunderkind

    No one blaming AB or BC? lol

    • Guy

      AB is a lazy bum. Satisfied? 

  • BCGheradiniJayGots2Go!!!

    The talent level in college basketball in 2011-12 will be off the charts, but few of the game’s stars were willing to spend their summer abroad, or encouraged by their coaches to participate in the U19. According to a source, USA Basketball put out 49 invites for Latvia and only had 20 players say yes. That rate (around 40 percent) is normal for a U19 trip, but in this case, it left them without a horde of potential stars.North Carolina had four players say no (Harrison Barnes, Reggie Bullock P.J. Hairston and James Michael McAdoo), as did Kentucky (Anthony Davis, Mike Kidd-Gilchrist, Terrence Jones and Marquis Teague). Duke had three (Quinn Cook, Austin Rivers and Josh Hairston). Washington (Tony Wroten Jr). Big men with NBA futures such as Ohio State’s Jared Sullinger, UCLA’s Josh Smith, Memphis’ Adonis Thomas and high-schooler Andre Drummond also passed.

  • Kujo

    I wish there was television coverage of this event in Canada.  What excuse does NBA TV Canada have for not carrying this?

    Anyway, has dominate as JV was, I’m reserving judgement due to the fact he dominated against teenagers, and inferior competition.
    Let’s see what he does against the best players in the world in the NBA.  
    Regardless, this is a positive sign, and feel a lot better about this pick.

  • Looks like the Big V has met the President now of Lithuania. He has some interesting thoughts on the upcoming Senior Mens team too.