Seven countries – Turkey, Germany, Spain, Poland, France, Italy, and Israel – will compete for the title of the Men’s U23 European Championship in Lignano Sabbiadoro, Italy, next week between the 14 – 18 June 2021.
The championship is the European Zone’s Qualification Tournament for the Men’s U23 World Championship, which is scheduled to take place in Chiba, Japan next year.
Here is a quick preview of the seven countries, hoping to make the top five and claim one of the five qualification spots available for the U23 World Championship.
Fifty percent of the French team will compete in their junior team for the first time in this year’s championship as they welcome six new players from their 2018 team. Marseille’s Manuel Gomez is one of the six players who remain from that 2018 line-up and will be key for his team. He has been part of the French junior team since 2017 and was the team’s second top points scorer in 2018.
2018 Silver medalists Germany, have five from the 2018 team, and only two – Alexander Budde and Urs Rechtsteiner – from the 2017 U23 World Championship team.
Hannover United’s Budde will be influential for Germany with senior national team basketball under his belt. Budde, alongside low pointers Lukas Glossner and Tobias Hell, are currently named in the 15-man preparation squad for Germany that could go to the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games.
The team with the youngest average age at the tournament, Israel, are another who do not have many changes from the team that competed in 2018, with only three players who are now too old to compete. They will be led by talisman Amit Vigoda who most recently won the USA’s Collegiate Championship with The University of Texas at Arlington whilst also winning the Most Valuable Player award.
Mattia Scandolaro and Samuele Cini are the only two players from the Italian 2017 U23 World Championship team who will compete in this year’s competition, both featuring in their third European’s. They will be joined by four players who were part of the 2018 team – Matteo Mordenti, Lorenzo Bassoli, Francesco Castellani and Amine Gamri – and six players who will be making their debuts for Italy at a junior European Championship, including the youngest player of the tournament, 14-year-old Joel Joseph Boganelli.
Poland is the most unchanged team from the 2018 U22 European Championship, with only two new players making their international debut, 15-year-old Adrian Jankowski and 16-year-old Filip Jabłoński.
A key player for the Polish will be Krzysztof Kozaryna who averaged double figures for both points and rebounds in 2018, and will hopefully be able to use the experience he has gained playing for club teams in Italy and Germany (DECO Group Amicacci Giulianova and Baskets96 Rahden respectively), as well as at senior international level in the 2019 European Championship.
Spain’s squad has the oldest average age and is the most experienced in the competition – nine of the team remain from the 2018 championship, in which they claimed the bronze medal.
They will be hoping to draw on the experience of Bidaideak Bilbao’s Manuel Lorenzo and Amiab Albacete’s Oscar Onrubia who were part of the senior men’s team in the 2019 European Championship. Ignacio Ortega, who plays for CD Ilunion, was the leading points scorer at the 2018 U22 European Championship.
There has been a change of guard in the Turkish team, with only three of the team – Mücahit Günaydin, Mevlüt Erdenci and Ridvan Aksoy – who won Gold in the 2018 U22 European Championship remaining.
This will be the third European Championship for Mücahit Günaydin, who plays for 1907 Fenerbahçe in Turkey’s Super League, and he was the leading scorer for Turkey and second in all scorers for the competition in 2018.
More about the Championship
The Italian Wheelchair Basketball Federation (FIPIC), who were originally awarded the honour of hosting the Men’s U23 European Championship in the summer of 2020, will retain the hosting duties in Lignano Sabbiadoro for the revised dates of 14 June – 18 June 2021.
Reigning Junior European Champions Turkey were drawn in Group A with France and Israel; Germany, Spain, and Poland were drawn in Group B. Italy, as the host nation, chose to be placed in Group A.
For more information visit the Championship website.
Image courtesy of FIPIC.