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March Madness: 10 European players to watch at the NCAA Tournament



MUNICH (Germany) – March Madness is here and as it’s become a tradition over the last few years, a contingent of European talent will be on display at the competition.

For a number of those players, their stories began at the FIBA Youth EuroBasket tournaments while for others, their careers will surely take them to their senior national teams in the future.

For the next two weeks, the eyes of the basketball world will be set on the college game and European national team coaches won’t be the exception.

Our youth expert Ignacio Rissotto compiled a list of 10 European players who could make an impact in the NCAA Division I men’s basketball tournament and could be key contributors for their national teams for FIBA EuroBasket 2025 and beyond.

Augustas Marciulionis – Saint Mary’s


Birth Date: March 21, 2002
Height: 1.93m (6ft 4in)

Marciulionis came into his own in his third season at the NCAA level, becoming one of the best floor generals in the college game and earning the WCC Player of the Year award in the process. The Lithuanian guard is a gifted passer who is able to create open shots for teammates. His improvement as a shooter this season (now converting 34.3 percent of his three-point attempts) has opened up the driving lanes for him, which he attacks with his pace and smoothness as a ball-handler.

The son of Lithuanian legend and FIBA Hall of Famer Sarunas Marciulionis, Augustas is putting up an impressive career of his own. At just 21 years of age, Marciulionis already made an impact both in the European and college ranks and with this season’s performance, he has put himself in the conversation as the likely point guard of the future for the Lithuanian National Team.

Emanuel Sharp – Houston ISR


Birth Date: March 7, 2004
Height: 1.90m (6ft 3in)

Sharp dazzled with his play at the 2019 FIBA U16 EuroBasket, where he led the tournament in scoring, averaging 25 points per game. Nearly five years later, Sharp has developed into a key piece for one of the best teams in the NCAA in only his second season at the college level.

A strong two-guard who can space the floor, attack the rim with power and defend the perimeter, Sharp plays with a level of intensity that perfectly matches a Houston squad known for its relentless defensive pressure. They say defense wins championships and the Cougars will go into the tournament as one of the top seeded teams, thanks in large part to their strong defense. Sharp has been a key contributor in Houston’s run and should provide Israel’s backcourt with toughness and scoring power in the near future.

Elliot Cadeau – North Carolina 


Birth Date: September 4, 2004
Height: 1.85m (6ft 1in)

The MVP of the 2022 FIBA U18 EuroBasket, Division B tournament, Cadeau came into his freshman season as one of the most highly touted players in his high school class and he has not disappointed, earning an ACC All-Freshman selection in the process. While the jumpshot hasn’t come around so far, as he has converted only 18.6 percent of his three-point attempts, Cadeau has been able to make an impact for the Tar Heels with his quickness and his aggressive scoring mentality, which allows him to put pressure on opposing defenses consistently.

North Carolina fell short in the ACC Championship game, losing to in-state rivals NC State, but with a 27-7 record under their belt the Tar Heels will enter the tournament as one of the main candidates to win it all. It’s the first step in what should be a long and productive career for Cadeau on both sides of the Atlantic.

Pelle Larsson – Arizona 


Birth Date: February 23, 2001
Height: 1.98m (6ft 6in)

Larsson was an impactful player for the Swedish national team at multiple Youth EuroBasket tournaments, earning an All-Tournament Team selection at the 2019 FIBA U18 EuroBasket, Division B. Now four years into his college career,  Larsson has developed into one of the most versatile offensive guards in the NCAA, as his combination of smooth ball-handling, outside shooting and playmaking for others allow him to fit with nearly any lineup and contribute on multiple facets of the game.

Arizona has had an influx of European talent during the past decade and Larsson is the most recent name on the list to make an impact for the Wildcats, who will enter the tournament as a 2-seed and will be looking for their first National Title since 1997.

Zvonimir Ivisic – Kentucky CRO


Birth Date: August 9, 2003
Height: 2.18m (7ft 2in)

Ivisic has been one of the most intriguing prospects in the Balkans for the past few years, due to his combination of size and flashes of perimeter skillset, both of which were at full display at the 2023 FIBA U20 EuroBasket, where he led the tournament in blocks, while also shooting 34.4 percent from beyond the arc.

Ivisic had to wait until late January to make his debut for Kentucky, but once he was on the floor, he was an impactful player, providing interior finishing and rim protection for the Wildcats, while also adding value with his outside shooting, as he has converted 37.5 percent of his three-point attempts during the season. Kentucky enters the tournament as a dangerous 3-seed and they certainly have the star power to win it all, behind a backcourt of projected top-ten picks in the 2024 NBA Draft in Rob Dillingham and Reed Sheppard.

Great Osobor – Utah State ESP Great Britain


Birth Date: December 13, 2002
Height: 2.03m (6ft 8in)

Osobor exploded into the scene this season. After spending two years coming off the bench for Montana State, Osobor transferred to Utah State where he became a double-double machine, leading the conference in points, rebounds and blocks. Osobor makes an impact in the paint with his strength and his touch around the basket, being able to convert tough shots against defensive pressure. Defensively, he has become an imposing rim protector, despite not possessing elite size.

The reigning MWC Player of the Year was born in Spain and moved to England at 12 years old, and while he’s yet to make his debut in a FIBA competition, both the Spanish and the British national teams should be more than intrigued by his strong performance in this 2023-24 season.

Tristan Da Silva – Colorado Germany


Birth Date: May 15, 2001
Height: 2.06m (6ft 9in)

In his Senior season at Colorado, Da Silva has elevated his play and is now considered as a potential first round pick in the 2024 NBA Draft, earning an All Pac-12 Second Team selection in the process. Da Silva’s combination of 2.06m height and perimeter skills make him a uniquely talented prospect. A career 37.9 percent three-point shooter, Da Silva is a threat from beyond the three-point line due to his ability to both convert jumpers and attack closeouts with the ball in his hands.

With Franz Wagner on the roster, the current world champions have in Da Silva yet another versatile forward with tremendous size who can make an impact in the perimeter.

Rienk Mast – Nebraska Netherlands


Birth Date: July 19, 2001
Height: 2.08m (6ft 10in)

In his Youth EuroBasket career, Mast has made a habit of leading the Netherlands to the promised land. In 2017, the Oranje came second at the FIBA U16 EuroBasket, Division B, earning promotion to the top flight and then in 2018, Mast was part of the Netherlands gold medal run at the U18 EuroBasket, Division B. This year, Mast has been instrumental for Nebraska, a team that hadn’t made the NCAA Tournament since 2014.

Mast utilizes his combination of size, footwork, fluidity and touch extremely well to score in the paint, but he’s also proved to be a reliable three-point shooter who can be deadly in the pick-and-pop game. With a 23-9 record, Nebraska is having their best season since 1991 in terms of winning percentage. Even if they are not expected to be one of the teams to make the final four, even winning a game would be a welcome change for a Cornhusker program that remains the only power conference school to never win a tournament game.

Danny Wolf – Yale ISR


Birth Date: May 5, 2004
Height: 2.13m (7ft 0in)

After playing limited minutes in his freshman season, Wolf made a strong impression in last year’s FIBA U20 EuroBasket, where he led Israel to a second-place finish, earning an All-Tournament Team nod in the process. The Israeli big man definitely took another step this season for Yale, as he led the Ivy League in blocks and rebounds per game, while being named to the All-Conference first team.

Wolf is a 2.13m center who makes an impact on multiple levels of the floor. His sheer size makes him a presence as a rebounder, shot blocker and interior finisher, but he’s also more than capable of putting the ball on the floor for drives and he has also taken another step as a shooter, converting 36.1 percent of his three-point attempts. Wolf has shown that he has taken another step in this 2023-24 season and he should be considered as a tremendous option for Israel at the center position.

Aubin Gateretse – Stetson BEL


Birth Date: August 16, 2001
Height: 2.11m (6ft 11in)

In his first year as a full-time starter, Gateretse was instrumental for a Stetson team that won the ASUN Conference and will play in their first-ever NCAA Tournament. Standing at 2.11m, Gateretse’s massive size, long wingspan and vertical agility make him a tremendously efficient finisher at the rim, forming a pick-and-roll duo with fellow Belgian Stephan Swenson that was nearly unstoppable for opposing teams. Defensively, Gateretse utilizes his size and athleticism to contest and block shots around the basket.

It’s a tough draw for the Hatters, who will make their NCAA Tournament debut against reigning champions UConn. If they have a shot at the upset, Gateretse must continue his stellar play, because they will need his size to contain UConn’s star big Donovan Clingan.


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