Right across Europe, the rising stars who appeared at this year’s #FIBAU16Europe in Bourges and Division B in Skopje, as well as #FIBAU18Europe in Sopron and Dublin have been showing their talents at their respective clubs.
Because of the tender age of each of the U16 players and the wide geographical and cultural spread, there is a real mix of platforms for them to demonstrate their progress and secure the development of their game.
Some players are continuing with Federation-led programs and teams, while others are playing in Junior Leagues, with some playing in pro-leagues, although mostly in second tier.
Here is just a selection of some of the names we are following and we will pick out some more faces next time!
(2001) Raquel Carrera – Spain
The 15-year-old center who racked up a tournament double-double in Bourges, plays for RC Celta in Spain’s LF2 and opened up the campaign with a classy 13 points (57%), 6 assists (highlighting her nice court vision) and 5 boards. Her second game against Lugo this weekend was less productive, with no points but six boards. Such a solid prospect and we look forward to her evolution in 2017-18.
(2002) Ilaria Panzera – Italy
The wing star dazzled in Bourges and is being tipped to be a leading European light at senior level, such is her dynamic and varied game. Italian greats like Raffaella Masciadri have even backed that very notion. Panzera steps out with Geas Sesto San Giovanni in the second division in her homeland. She scored 12 points in her team’s season opener against Fassi Edelweiss Albino.
(2001) Emily Bessoir – Germany
The frontcourt star has been a standout player at the past two editions of #FIBAU16Europe and she plays with Jahn Muenchen in the German Second Division – DBBL2. It’s been a mixed bag so far, with 4 points against Keltern II and then 14 points against Bamberg. She can shoot the ball better, but has at least been huge on the boards with 14 and 7 boards respectively. And, in that game against Bamberg, she came up with a spectacular six blocks! Then, she had a 13 point and 15 board double-double against Krofdorf, although only shot just over 20%.
(2001) Nika Muhl – Croatia
A superb point guard who has got it all and an incredible amount of potential, Muhl has enjoyed a typically influential start to the season. She treads the hardwood with Tresnjevka 2009 in the top Croatia League and helped her team win 67-61 at Sibenik with 13 rebounds, 5 points, assists and 3 steals.
(2000) Lucija Kostic – Croatia
The forward provides a nice 1-2 backcourt/frontcourt punch for Tresnjevka 2009 with Muhl and she had a fabulous performance in that nice road win in Sibenik. Kostic amassed a 15 point and 11 rebound double-double!
(2001) Awak Kuier – Finland
With one of the biggest wingspans in European youth basketball, the towering center is playing in the Finnish League with Kotka Peli Karhut. She was excellent for her country in Skopje and turned a lot of heads. She has started with 6 points and 4 boards against Hypo and then 6 boards and a couple of blocks against Kouvot. Lots of work to do with her rawness, but she has size, athleticism and talent.
(2001) Helena Pueyo – Spain
The guard won rave reviews for her displays in Bourges this past summer and her basketball IQ and tenacity were big upsides – along with her passing skills. She plays with Segle XXI in the second tier of the Spanish game. She opened up with 10 rebounds, 5 points and 2 assists in the first outing against Pontevedra and then had a game to forget as her team lost again at home to Patatas Hijolusa when she had 5 points and 3 assists, but spilled the ball 5 times.
(2001) Iliana Rupert – France
The champions in Bourges were of course fuelled by multiple (2001) players from the Federation’s programme in Paris and they’re playing for CFBB in the second French league this season. Bourges MVP, Rupert has shown her maturity in the past couple of games, adding 14 points in the team’s heavy defeat at Reims, before following it up with a 17 point and 11 rebound double-double in the win against SIG.
(2001) Kendra Chery – France
In contrast, while the superb athleticism and physicality of Kendra Chery is similar to Rupert, she has struggled shooting-wise and went 1 of 7 last week and 1 of 4 against SIG. Although she did harvest an impressive 14 boards at Reims.
(2001) Marine Fathoux – France
Lastly, Marine Fathoux has plenty of smarts and the guard delivered 14 points and 3 assists against SIG. She is still one to watch closely as she looks like she could really come alive in coming years.
We will catch up soon with another selection of players to see how these prospects are performing.