Background: Determining somatic models and profiles in young athletes has recently become a fundamental element in selecting basketball playing positions. The aim of this study was to assess the relationship between the body build of young and adult elite male basketball players at different playing positions. Methods: Participants consisted of 35 young (age: 14.09 ± 0.30 years, n
= 35) and 35 adult professional basketball players (age: 24.45 ± 5.40 years, n
= 35) competing in elite leagues. The anthropometric characteristics assessed included body mass, body height, skinfolds, somatotypes, girths, and breadths. Results: The centers in both age groups were significantly taller and heavier (p
< 0.001) compared to forwards and guards. The greatest difference between categories were in the guards’ personal height (from 169.36 to 186.68 = 17.32 cm). The guards from the professional team were closest in height to the forwards (difference = 7.17 cm) compared to young players where the difference between guards and forwards was 13.23 cm. Young competitors were more ectomorphic (2.12-3.75-4.17), while professional players were more mesomorphic (2.26-4.57-3.04). Significant criteria for center selection at professional level seems to be personal height and arm span ratio. Conclusions: The results indicate that the selection for basketball playing positions should include the analysis of body height and mass, shoulder breadth, humerus breadth, femur breadth and specifically for centers the difference between personal the height and arm span.
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