The 2022 Euroleague Basketball Adidas Next Generation Tournament will boast star power beyond just the top young talents on the continent with the announcement today that recently retired legend Vassilis Spanoulis will serve as the head coach of specially selected Next Generation Teams at each qualifying tournament and the finals in Berlin, Germany.
Spanoulis, the all-time top scorer in the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague, ended his playing career with Olympiacos Piraeus last summer after having reached the heights of European basketball as a three-time EuroLeague champion and the only three-time Final Four MVP this century.
Now, Spanoulis will coach the Next Generation Teams organized by adidas from the top 18-and-under talents in Europe whose club teams are not already playing in one of the four qualifying tournaments that start in late January 2022. Spanoulis will also lead the Next Generation Team that participates in the ANGT Finals, which will run parallel to the 2022 Turkish Airlines EuroLeague Final Four in Berlin.
"Basketball has given me so much, and to give something back, I couldn't resist the great opportunity that adidas offered to coach some of the young players who are now starting out with the same dreams I had when I was their age," Spanoulis said. "This tournament has continually grown in stature for almost two decades and it will be a true honor for me to work with some of the future stars of our sport. I can't wait to get started."
Spanoulis will have close friends, Dusan Vukcevic, himself a former EuroLeague star, and Babis Skouzis, of the Olympiacos youth academy, working at his side throughout the tournaments.
The first ANGT qualifying event will be held in Munich, Germany from January 21 to 23 and include the host team, FC Bayern and fellow German club ALBA, as well as Basket Brno of Czech Republic, Casademont Zaragoza and Real Madrid of Spain, Orange1 Bassano of Italy, Zalgiris Kaunas of Lithuania and the Next Generation Team Munich to be coached by Spanoulis.
The second qualifying event is ANGT Belgrade from February 25 to 27, hosted for the 15th time by Crvena Zvezda mts Belgrade, whose 18-and-under team will compete against fellow Serbian squads Partizan NIS Belgrade, Mega Mozzart Belgrade, ASVEL Villeurbanne of France, Lietkabelis Panevezys of Lithuania, Tofas Bursa of Turkey, Valencia Basket of Spain, and Spanoulis's Next Generation Team Belgrade.
One of the two new cities on the ANGT agenda – Patras, Greece – will welcome the third qualifying event from March 25 to 27 as host club Promitheas Patras will measure itself against fellow Greek club Olympiacos Piraeus, FC Barcelona of Spain, Helsinki Basketball Academy of Finland, Maccabi Tel Aviv of Israel, Stellazzurra Rome of Italy, and the Next Generation Team Patras coached by Spanoulis.
The final ANGT qualifying makes its debut in Varese, Italy, from April 1 to 3 as that city's Varese Academy hosts the event that also features fellow Italian squad AX Armani Exchange Milan, Cedevita Olimpija Ljubljana of Slovenia, Joventut Badalona of Spain, Panathinaikos OPAP Athens of Greece, PFYM INSEP Paris of France, ratiopharm Ulm of Germany, and Next Generation Team Varese with Spanoulis on the bench.
Many of the biggest and brightest stars of basketball were seen first by an international audience at the ANGT. The ever-growing list of players currently on EuroLeague rosters who previously dazzled in the ANGT includes Marcus Eriksson, Jonas Mattisseck, Stefan Peno, Tim Schneider and Yovel Zoosman (ALBA Berlin), Vasilije Micic and Yigitcan Saybir (Anadolu Efes Istanbul), Danilo Andjusic, Rudy Demahis, Donatas Motiejunas and Armel Traore (AS Monaco), Davide Alviti, Luigi Datome, Riccardo Moraschini and Giampaolo Ricci (AX Armani Exchange Milan), Simone Fontecchio and Vanja Marinkovic (Bitci Baskonia Vitoria-Gasteiz), Ognjen Dobric, Marko Gusic, Stefan Lazarevic, Branko Lazic, Luka Mitrovic and Aleksa Uskokovic (Crvena Zvezda mts Belgrade), Marius Grigonis, Alexander Khomenko, Nikita Kurbanov, Andrei Lopatin, Nikola Milutinov and Alexey Shved (CSKA Moscow), Michael Caicedo, Rokas Jokubaitis, Nikola Mirotic and Sergi Martinez (FC Barcelona), Nihad Dedovic, Jason George, Ognjen Jaramaz, Leon Radosevic, Adreas Obst and Zan Sisko (FC Bayern Munich), Ismet Akpinar, Tarik Biberovic, Metecan Birsen and Marko Guduric (Fenerbahce Beko Istanbul), William Howard, Elwin Ndjock, Matthew Strazel and Victor Wembanyama (LDLC ASVEL Villeurbanne), Mathias Lessort and Ante Zizic (Maccabi Playtika Tel Aviv), Livio Jean-Charles (Olympiacos Piraeus), Eleftherios Mantzoukas and Nemanja Nedovic (Panathinaikos OPAP Athens), Alberto Abalde, Thomas Heurtel, Juan Nunez and Tristan Vukcevic (Real Madrid), Mario Hezonja and Artem Komolov (UNICS Kazan), Marek Blazevic, Niels Giffey, Mantas Kalnietis, Lukas Lekavicius, Karolis Lukosiunas and Edgaras Ulanovas (Zalgiris Kaunas), and Arturas Gudaitis and Dmitry Kulagin (Zenit St Petersburg).