Bursa, Turkey hosted the International Basketball Federation’s latest initiative, the Youth Champions League in 2023. Debrecen can host the first, now official,  competition between the 2nd of April and 7, 2024, thirteen U18 teams, including Team Debrecen, will fight for the final victory in the Oláh Gábor Street Sports Hall.

On Wednesday morning, on the 27th of  March 2024, the Organising Committee invited media representatives to the grandstand of Oláh Gábor Street Athletics Stadium, where the official press conference of the Youth Basketball Champions League was held. Following last year’s highly successful trial, the tournament will officially debut in Debrecen in 2024, with the clear aim of serving as a kind of “stepping stone” for young stars on the brink of a professional career.

Among the guests of honour at the press event, Deputy Mayor of Debrecen Diána Széles, was the first to pick up the microphone, who praised the work of the local organising committee, emphasised the local people’s love of sports, and described the upcoming tournament as a significant opportunity for the basketball students of the Cívis city.

“It is always a pleasure to report on a basketball event in Debrecen, which there is no shortage of in our city, as this will be our thirty-second international event since 2008. Once again, I would like to highlight the work of the organising committee led by István Becsky, since without them these contests would not be possible. Debrecen is one of the most sporty cities in the country, the people living here are interested and enthusiastic about sports and competition, which is why the cooperation with the International Basketball Association can work so smoothly. A lot of young people play this beautiful sport in Debrecen, and for the youngsters of the DEAC Basketball Academy it can mean a lot to see the European elite up close, ” Diána Széles said.

The Manager of the Champions League tournament series Patrick Comninos was unable to attend the press conference in person, but he sent a message to those present from the House of Basketball Geneva:

“Debrecen has advanced to become the capital of youth basketball in recent years, all the conditions are there to hold high-quality tournaments. Special thanks to Mayor László Papp for his hospitality, and on behalf of the National Association of Hungarian Basketball Players, President Márton Báder and Secretary General Péter Bodnár for their work in bringing the event under the roof. After last year’s “trial version” held in Bursa, I expect high-quality fights again. I think it is extremely important that emerging talents can show their skills in an environment similar to what awaits them soon on the big stage of adult basketball,” he said.

Chairman of the organising committee István Becsky  said that the world class players are not the only ones expected on the floor, as so far unusually, there are also sportsmen from the elite American and European game officials.

“In the past three summers we have been able to organise one World Junior Basketball Championships after another, and as soon as the cycle ended we started thinking about the next one. I am delighted that we will be hosting the first official Junior Champions League. High standards are guaranteed not only by the participating teams, but also by the incoming referees, with referees from the North American Professional Basketball League (NBA) and the International Basketball Federation (FIBA). Next year, these two organisations will launch a joint referee training course, making the tournament in the city of Cívis a milestone in this respect. I am confident that we will once again be a good host, which will earn us the respect of FIBA in the future,” István Becsky said.

The national coach of the U18 national team and Team Debrecen Ákos Pethő said that he wants his team to surprise the strong group opponents.

“I consider it a great honour to be part of such a prestigious event and I am even more proud that Ferenc Varga will be among the players representing DEAC. The name Team Debrecen will cover the U18 national team this time, but the situation is a bit special, as the team is made up of players from the domestic points competition. Nevertheless, I feel that we have the necessary playing power and we will try to make things difficult for our group opponents. This will not be easy, of course; Rytas Vilnius are a true European giant, while Lenovo Tenerife are the Spanish giants and Promitheas Patras are the traditional Greek giants. Our aim is to finish in the top flight, and we want to keep competing for the top places for as long as possible”.

The DEAC Basketball Academy will be represented by coach Ákos Pethő and Ferenc Varga, who assured the audience of a brave, whole hearted basketball game, no matter who his team will face.

“ I see this tournament as an outstanding opportunity, as it’s not every day we get to play the best on the continent. I think our team is very close-knit, we’ve played together in a number of matches and we play each other every week in the U18 tournament. Although we’re aiming for the top flight, I can’t promise anything specific about our final position, but I can guarantee what we have in us, we will leave it on the floor,whoever we face,” the basketball player promised.

There will be twenty-eight matches in total. Tickets for the group matches will cost 1,000 HUF, 1,500 HUF for the cross games, and 2,000 HUF for the play-offs and the final. Online ticket sales have already started and advance tickets can be purchased via the website of Debrecen Sportcentrum. On match days, the ticket offices will open at 10 a.m. In both cases, only payment by credit card is possible.

Groups of the youth BL:


Group A: Team Debrecen, Rytas Vilnius (Lithuanian), Lenovo Tenerife (Spainish), Promitheas Patras (Greek)

Group B: Igokea m:tel (Bosnian), Basketball Academy Nymburk (Czech), AEK (Greek)

Group C: Tofas Bursa (Turkish), Porsche BBA Ludwigsburg (German), BK Opava (Czech)

Group D: Oldenburg (German), Galatasaray (Turkish), Hapoel Jerusalem (Israeli)

Source: debrecen.hu

Author: Debrecen4U