A 30th anniversary presentation for the Torneig Junior Ciutat de L’Hospitalet, the second of three NIKE International Junior Classification Tournaments to be held this season, was held on Friday in the town outside Barcelona that gives the tournament its name. The holiday edition of the L'Hospitalet tournament, as its know far and wide in basketball circles, will be held from Sunday, January 4 to Tuesday, January 6 and will draw 12 teams, half of them from outside Spain. The teams will feature players born in 1991 and 1992, and the tournament finalists will win a place at the NIJT tournament series final in Berlin, Germany at the 2009 Final Four in May. Euroleague Basketball will mark its second year of collaboration with the Torneig Junior Ciutat de L’Hospitalet with full coverage in a special section of Euroleague.net updated as the tournament progresses. The first of the classification tournament series will be held in Rome, Italy from December 27 to 29, and the third in Belgrade, Serbia from February 13 to 15. The following comments were made during the tournament press conference on Friday:
Jordi Bertomeu, Euroleague Basketball CEO:
"The junior tournament is very special because it allows us to approach basketball in not such a competitive way, but rather a didactic one. Our link with the L'Hospitalet Junior Tournament has allowed us to increase one more step in quality because of its organizational ability, and we, Euroleague Basketball, try to give the tournament more European exposure. Last year, it was our first collaboration and the champion here got to play in the Euroleague Final Four and later go to the NIKE Global Challenge in Portland. Also, cities like Roma and Belgrade have followed this model to join us. Our idea when we started the junior tournament in Barcelona in 2003 was to consolidate the concept of the junior tournament while trying to be legitimate at the same time. Right now, I am proud to say that after Roma and Belgrade, many European clubs are in the waiting line to organize more tournaments of this kind."
Nuria Murin, Mayor of L'Hospitalet:
"This is a special year because it is the tourney's 30th, so we want to use the occasion also to present the special logo we did for it. We hope we can have this traditional tournament going for many more years in the future because L'Hospitalet is a city that lives and feels basketball with true passion."
Antonio Bermudo, L'Hospitalet Sports Area Vice-Mayor:
"This year we are having an important tournament because it is our 30th edition. It is a tournament of important media impact because it has featured some players that were stars when they grew up in the courts, and because it is played at a great time of the year. It is also important to highlight the fact that the tournament is very important for this city, a city of basketball."
Abel Garcia, Barcelona Deputy Sports Area Counselor:
"I want to say thanks for the invitation to this presentation of a tournament that has impact all over Europe. At a junior level, I'd say it is the most important tournament in Europe. Turning 30 is not easy, and even less so while maintaining a high level year after year."
Enric Piquet, Catalan Basketball Federation President:
"Among all the basketball tournaments that are played around Christmas, I'd say that the tournament in L'Hospitalet is like the icing on the cake. It has international impact and I'd dare say it is the most important in the continent at this level."
Ramon Paton, CB L'Hospitalet President:
"This tournament is generally considered the best junior tourney in Europe by the specialized press. The fact that it is now an official tournament for Euroleague Basketball makes us look forward its start even more. I'd like to say that thanks to the collaboration of Euroleague Basketball, this year we will be featuring six non-Spanish teams in the competition."