REGENSBURG (David Hein's Eye on the Future) - Argentina’s senior national team is clearly in transition with Manu Ginobili and Pablo Prigioni both being 36 years old, Andres Nocioni to turn 34 later this year, Luis Scola already having turned 33 years of age and Carlos Delfino being 31.
But there appears to be a bit of help eventually on the way if you look at the summer performance from Argentina’s 1995 generation.
Gabriel Deck and Nicolas Zurschmitten capped off their summer a couple weeks ago with the gold medal at the 2013 FIBA 3x3 U18 World Championship.
The Argentina quartet of Deck, Zurschmitten, Alejandro Zurbriggen and Lucas Gargallo went a perfect 7-0 in Pool C with wins over France and Lithuania on the first day.
The South Americans brushed aside Bulgaria 21-11 in the Last 16 and then beat Poland 21-6 in the Quarter-Finals.
Deck showcased his entire skill-set in the Semi-Finals with eight points in a 21-6 victory over Lithuania. In the Final against France, Zurschmitten scored six points while Deck had three points but more importantly helped hold France star Charly Pontens to just one point in a 13-7 win to take the title in undefeated fashion.
The Argentineans worked tremendously well together, especially on defense. Deck and company allowed just 9.5 points per game and just 19 combined over the final three games.
The tournament in Jakarta was another highlight this summer for Deck and Zurschmitten, who played at the 2013 FIBA U19 World Championship. Argentina did not impress at the U19 Worlds in Prague, finishing 12th of 16 teams.
In the Czech capital, the forward Deck was battling some nagging injuries and averaged just 6.6 points, 4.1 rebounds and 1.8 assists while playmaker Zurschmitten had four points, one rebound, one assist and one steal in 20 minutes of action over five games.
Both Deck and Zurschmitten earned playing time in Argentina’s top flight LigaA last season, Deck with Associacion Quimsa Santiago del Estero and Zurschmitten with Atenas Cordoba. And both are expected to get more playing time this season.
After playing at the 2012 FIBA U17 World Championship and FIBA Americas U18 Championship last summer, Deck’s other major highlight in 2013 came in late April as he played for the World Select Team at the Nike Hoop Summit in Portland. Playing alongside the likes of Dennis Schröder, Sergey Karasev, Andrew Wiggins and Dante Exum, Deck went scoreless in 3:20 minutes of action missing his only shot.
Deck is clearly the higher level prospect between him and Zurschmitten. But if they continue to develop as they are, both could eventually help fill the void when the older statesmen of Argentina’s senior national team finally decide to hang them up.
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