FIBA - International Basketball Federation

07/21/2019 | News release | Distributed by Public on 07/21/2019 08:11

Dombai: History in Sarajevo, EuroCup Women over NCAA, eyes on Paris 2024

BANGKOK (Thailand) - Reka Dombai is one of the most exciting and promising rising stars in the women's game globally and it's all happening at a frantic pace for the Hungarian diamond.

She barely had time to pack her suitcase as she jumped from Sarajevo to Bangkok, but was soon shrugging off the jet lag and lighting it up at the FIBA U19 Women's Basketball World Cup with a perfect shooting performance on Day 1.

Her arrival in the Thai capital comes after a whirlwind few weeks when she signed a contract to play in EuroCup Women with Uni Gyor and then made the All-Star Five at the FIBA U18 Women's European Championship as she guided Hungary to a first Final at the event.

'We did great indeed and we can be proud of our silver medal,' smiled the guard.

'I have two very fond memories of the tournament: one is the game against Belgium where we didn't play well but fought very hard, and we were able to win in overtime.

'The other is the Semi-Final game against France. We were able to concentrate for 40 minutes and execute the coaches' orders - I think we played great that night.'

Dombai has been in huge demand. Her talent is unquestionable and although a teenager, she killed it in the highly-rated Hungarian League last season and emerged as one of the leading scorers with some eye-popping numbers for Vasas. And, it's a club that she was quick to praise for everything they have done for her at their basketball academy.

'I had a great time at Vasas and I have a lot to thank for the club and the coaches,' she stressed.

'We had a good year indeed, maybe with better luck, there could have been more to it. I was the starting point guard, which was a big responsibility. We worked really hard on my technical and physical training, I hope it shows on the court.

'I think my defense improved the most in the past season - almost every game we had was about life and death, we needed every one of them to accomplish our goals, so it had to improve.

A thrilled Uni Gyor won the intense battle to obtain her services moving forward and that means a EuroCup Women debut in 2019-20 for Dombai.

She said: 'I'm a type of person that needs challenges for a better performance and Gyor is a big challenge, since many national team players play there, whom I can learn a lot from.

'I expect to become a better player wearing Gyor's colors, in the National Cup, Hungarian Championship and EuroCup Women and compete for the best possible results.'

Naturally Dombai was in the middle of the NCAA radar, but she was adamant that unlike for most players, it was not a difficult decision to make in terms of heading down the pro-route.

'I had an offer, but I felt that I'm too young for it - I have to be more mature to even play in another country in Europe, let alone in the States,' she revealed.

'I love being home, I get homesick fast, so it wasn't a hard decision after all.'

At her current rate of progress, Dombai is on course to become a senior player for Hungary ahead of time and with so many other players 21-years or younger, an incredible and thrilling opportunity lies in wait. It means that Hungary can dream big again.

What will be important for Dombai and her talented peers is that they don't only show skills, but also follow the high-profile Hungarian performers who have walked before them.

She commented: 'I could mention a lot of good players, but I don't want to miss out any of them, so I won't make a list.

'However, Dalma Ivanyi, Zsofia Fegyverneky and Krisztina Raksanyi are very good role models for me - they are not only great players, but very good people as well.'

In the case of Raksanyi (pictured), she will play alongside the Hungarian captain at Gyor this season and could also soon be in the backcourt with her on the senior team. In what is lining up as a thrilling collision of different generations in these next years, Dombai can't wait for what might be in the pipeline.

She mused: 'The current national team is very young and I was able to spend a couple of weeks with the best before this year's FIBA Women's EuroBasket. It was a great experience and I look forward to the next invitation.

'I think this U18/U19 team of ours have a chance to help produce some very good results at the adult level as well. We are strong together and I hope that we can be worthy successors and additions to the senior team - maybe as early as Paris 2024,' added Dombai.

For now though, her focus must be on the present and taking Hungary to a winning record on Tuesday, having collected a win and a loss during the first two days of action in Bangkok.