With the objective of growing basketball globally together, Euroleague Basketball and Nike are pleased to confirm the participation of the eight clubs that will compete for the 2013 Euroleague Basketball Nike International Junior Tournament trophy. The 11th annual NIJT, held in conjunction with the Turkish Airlines Euroleague Final Four, runs from Thursday, May 9 to Sunday, May 12, 2013 in London, United Kingdom. The final to crown Europe's junior champions will be contested at The O2 on the same court where some hours later the Euroleague champion will be crowned. The NIJT features four teams that secured their places via qualifying tournaments held during the season and four wildcards.
KK Spars Sarajevo of Bosnia and Herzegovina advanced from the Torneo Città di Roma; FIATC Joventut Badalona of Spain made it through the Torneig Junior Ciutat de L'Hospitalet; Lietuvos Rytas Vilnius of Lithuania was the champion at the Euroleague Junior Qualifying Tournament Inter RAO Lietuva; and Crvena Zvezda Telekom Belgrade of Serbia qualified from the NIJT Classification Tournament Belgrade. Joining them will be FC Barcelona Regal of Spain, INSEP Paris of France, Team China and Team England.
In line with Euroleague Basketball’s strategic goals, wildcard spots were awarded to the under-18 national teams of England and China to help encourage the growth of the sport in those countries. For both Team China and Barcelona, this will be a third consecutive year at the NIJT. Lietuvos Rytas is back to defend its 2012 NIJT crown. Crvena Zvezda and 2010 winner INSEP have made multiple past appearances, while Joventut, Spars and Team England will compete for the first time.
For more than a decade, the NIJT has exemplified the long-term commitment that Nike and Euroleague Basketball have to showcase young basketball talents who may someday become stars. As such, the NIJT alumni club is becoming a who’s who of European basketball stars. Many players who participated in previous events can be seen on Turkish Airlines Euroleague and Eurocup rosters. They include Milos Teodosic and Anton Ponkrashov (CSKA Moscow); Nikola Mirotic and Mirza Begic (Real Madrid); Jonas Maciulis (Panathinaikos Athens); Nihad Dedovic (Alba Berlin); Thomas Heurtel (Caja Laboral Vitoria); Xavi Rabaseda (FC Barcelona Regal); Augusto Lima (Unicaja Malaga), Branislav Djekic, Danilo Andusic, Dejan Musli and Bogdan Bogdanovic (Partizan m:ts Belgrade); Nemanja Nedovic (Lietuvos Rytas Vilnius), Klemen Prepelic (Union Olimpija Ljubljana), among others.
The group stages of the NIJT will be played from Thursday to Saturday at The London Soccerdome, located in front of The O2. The NIJT final is the traditional start to a fantastic Sunday at the Euroleague Final Four weekend. Fans have free admission to all games including the final, giving a unique opportunity to those who do not have Final Four tickets to see the arena from the inside. At the start of its second decade, the Euroleague Basketball Nike International Junior Tournament has this season featured 34 different teams in the challenge to become junior champs of Europe.
Fans will be able to follow all of the action at www.euroleague.net/events/nike-international-junior-tournament/london
where articles, statistics, game reports, quotes, photos and links will be available.