The Adidas Next Generation Tournament heads East, as Dubai becomes a host for the first time in its history. The third qualifier starts this Friday with teams from seven different countries (plus the select team), trying to do the same thing Real Madrid and Barcelona did in the first two: win and book a ticket to Berlin.

Aris Midea Thessaloniki

A historic team, but making its debut at ANGT, Aris is the lone Greek representative in Dubai. Theo Anastasoudis gave a great rundown of the team’s performance in the Greek U18 championship in his latest piece, with Filippos Tsachtsiras as the main man. The 6’8 forward will be asked to play a lot of minutes as the team’s big man, but his outside shooting can still shine and help the team space the floor. An improved inside finisher and defender, he will be asked to do a lot but he can definitely show out in Dubai. Epameinondas Epameinondas is a two-way guard who uses his size and physicality well on the defensive end. Competes, denies easy avenues inside and forces bad shots and turnovers. More of an off-ball player offensively, he can shoot the ball off the catch. Vasileios Kazamias provides rim pressure as a long guard at 6’5. Can find ways to the rim or his teammates off pick and rolls, with great understanding of the game. Christos Venetidis, Pavlos Petalotis and Chrysostomos Chatzilamprou compose a talented 2008 generation.

Dubai Falcons Basketball Academy

A team with an international feel, Dubai Falcons has athletes from many different nationalities, but none as intriguing as Aleksa Vlajic. The 6’9 big man comes in with interesting creation chops off the dribble, both from the perimeter or the low post. Strong, agile and smart, he’s able to get to the rim or find teammates and can actually step outside to shoot. Uses his length well to finish, block shots and go for rebounds. Lazar Stojkovic provides some more mobile size to the frontcourt at 6’10, while Marko Tofoski impresses with his scoring ability, especially going inside. Can take on contact at the rim and finish in a lot of different ways. The 6’8 Russian Egor Ryabov and the Canadian Nicolas Lindsay, both born 2008, are the youngest on the team. Ryabov especially is a great shot blocker and rim protector.

LDLC ASVEL Villeurbanne

A common presence at the Adidas Next Generation Tournament, ASVEL brings one of the more talented rosters in France to Dubai. Yohan Sissoko provides the playmaking and on-ball creation at 6’4. Creates advantages off drives, getting inside easily and finding ways to finish at the basket or force a foul. Finished last year’s Patras qualifier with 12.2 points and 3.2 assists and has clearly been evolving as a passer. Roy Krupnikas had a solid outing last year with Rasta Vechta, with 19.8 points, 4.8 rebounds and 5.5 assists. A table-setter that can toggle between going inside off pick and rolls or shoot the ball, both off the dribble and off the catch. Adam Atamna will play his second ANGT despite having turned 16 just last December. A shooter with no hesitation, he will provide spacing and ability to hit from outside off the catch and off movement. 6’11 Anton Mendy will also participate in his second ANGT. A big and mobile center who will serve as a play finisher and rim protector. Marvyn Wade, Appolinaire Lousavouvou and Joel Kamta are the youngest of the team, all born in 2008. Kamta is measuring 6’8 already.

Next Generation Team Dubai

Miika Muurinen is the main star of the tournament and the select team. A 6’10 wing with creation ability, who can dribble his way inside or stop for outside shots. A quick, lanky player, able to do the full court in a hurry and beat everyone down the floor. Great rim protection potential with his size and length. Frederik Drejer Erichsen comes back for a second tournament with the select team. Already with Danish 1st Division experience, the 6’9 wing is another long player, much more of a creator for others from the post or the perimeter. Elite court vision to find teammates and a developed outside shot. Staying with long forwards, Ilja Kurucs is another name to keep an eye on. An explosive finisher at the rim, interesting passer and a great rebounder. Alexandros Alexakis is a mature scorer of the ball. Plays more of the ball, taking any opening to get inside or shoot from the perimeter with confidence. Provides some disruptive defense, mainly off the ball where he can read plays and come away with steals and force turnovers. Andy Huelves is more of an on-ball guard, can run an offense, finds ways inside and is a really efficient outside shooter.

ratiopharm Ulm

One of the main talent factories in Germany and Europe, Ulm has in Noa Essengue their best player. Already with appearances in the Eurocup, Essengue’s 6’8 size and plus length make him a great perimeter defender, with the way he uses those physical tools and his quickness. More known as a slasher and play finisher, he’s been developing his shot creation and mid range and should come in as the main on-ball guy. Joel Cwik brings experience at this stage, after a great outing last year in Munich. A guard that can play with and without the ball, gets inside easily and tries to get rollers involved off pick and rolls. Aggressive and high IQ defender. Jervis Scheffs is a complete scorer, capable of creating for himself. Uses a low dribble and quick handles to get to his spots. Oliver Kullamae shined last summer with Estonia at the U16 European Championship, with his outside shooting off the dribble and high tempo play. Always looking to get a shot off, he’s a tough player to stop. At 6’10, Endurance Aiyamenkhue is a long athlete who provides rim-running, acting as a play finisher on offense and a deterrant at the rim on defense.

Valencia Basket

Valencia is the lone Spanish team present in Dubai, after two others took home the trophy in the previous qualifiers. Jorge Carot is the main hope for Valencia, providing rim pressure and constant paint attacks at 6’8. Has a developed body and can play from the post as well, with patience and good footwork. Sergi Kemu is an interesting shooter and someone who can use his efficiency from behind the arc to explore avenues to the rim. Pau Torrens and Dida Cebolla offer playmaking and shot creation at the guard position, trying to keep the tempo high and getting everyone in their spots. At 6’9, Szymon Borowski is the big man for this team. Still growing into his body, he can use his size inside to fight on the boards, while he already offers some rim protection. Marc Grau and Pedro Souza, both measuring 6’4, will be intriguing players to watch from the 2008 generation.

Virtus Segafredo Bologna

The Italian team has in Matteo Baiocchi its main guy. Standing 6’5, he can do almost anything with the ball. Strong frame, gets inside and overpowers defenders and likes to add some plays from the post. Can shoot the ball, especially off the catch and is a smart passer. A versatile presence on the offensive end to guide this team. Matteo Accorsi is a slim guard with good size that likes to shoot the three. Can get to the paint using long strides and avoiding obstacles in his way, but is much more comfortable shooting the ball. Virtus relies on its 2007 generation a lot, with Riccardo Dalla Cia playing as the big. At 6’8, he’s clearly developing his body still, but shows promise as an interior presence. Finishes plays and has some post work potential, trying to anchor the defense on the other end. Much like Accorsi, Matteo Lenci has a way of slithering himself inside with a slim frame at 6’7. Not as good a shooter, but better at finding ways to score at the basket.

Zalgiris Kaunas

One of the favorites of the tournament, Zalgiris finished second last year in the Munich qualifier behind Real Madrid. Dovydas Buika will try to guide his team to victory, using his shot creation and mature approach to the game. A score-first guard, gets to the basket or the mid-range area off pick and rolls using his body and can also hit from the perimeter off the catch. Mantas Laurencikas is another highly-efficient player, who can get everyone organized. Initiates offense, finds the right play and goes for his shot when he gets an advantage, especially going to the basket. Nedas Raupelis‘ size will be key for Zalgiris. A mobile 6’9 big, he can block shots at a high rate. Smart defender who knows where to be. Offensively he’s more of a roller and play finisher, although with some ability to create off the post. Mantas Juzenas is never afraid of taking a shot from the perimeter and Zalgiris will involve him in a lot of actions. Mostly a spot up shooter, he’s an improved movement shooter, which adds a different level to his offense. Thomas Bassong is a strong wing, measuring 6’7. Likes to attack the basket, can finish above defenders and uses his body really well to finish. Athletic player on both ends. 6’10 Avtandil Bakhtadze was the main guy for Georgia this summer as they achieved promotion to the U16 Division A. A great inside finisher who can step out to the perimeter and hit open threes. A fluid big man that can handle the ball a bit. The guard Emilis Prekevicius is the lone 2008 player on Zalgiris’ squad.