Youth All-Stars Put On Show

The first-ever Youth All-Star Game was held today in Moscow at the USH CSKA, featuring the top players from Russia's two most prestigious youth leagues: the VTB United Youth League and Association of Student Basketball.

The VTB United League and ACB put together an exciting event for the fans with contests, on-court entertainment and a terrific afternoon of basketball.

The ACB pulled away early and led throughout the 1st quarter. During the 2nd quarter, CSKA's Anton Astapkovich brought the VTB United Youth League back into the game, helping knot the score up at halftime, 41-41.

During the break, organizers put together a slam-dunk contest featuring Anton Astapkovich (CSKA-2), Dmitry Popov (Khimki-2), Vladislav Meleshkin (SPbGUPTD, St. Petersburg) and Nikita Potapov (NovGU, Veliky Novgorod). Judges included VTB United League president Sergey Kushchenko, deputy general director Ilona Korstin, Munich 1972 champion Ivan Edeshko and Seoul 1988 champion Sergey Tarakanov as well as league mascot Buba the Leopard.

The competition was intense and needed more than the allotted 15 minutes. In the end, Astapkovich came out on top, defeating Meleshkin by one point after several extra rounds and heated discussion between the judges.

The game stayed close in the second half and wasn't decided until the final minute. With 25 seconds left on the clock, Maxim Kondakov scored on a fast break, giving the Youth League a 71-69 lead. On the ACB's next possession, Marko Miletic lost the ball and had to foul. The outcome hanging in the balance, the Youth League knocked down the free throws, securing a 74-69 victory in the first-ever Youth All-Star Game.

Vladislav Meleshkin was named the ACB MVP, scoring 12 points. CSKA-2 forward Anton Astapkovich took home the Youth All-Star Game MVP, finishing with 17 points and five rebounds.