08/06/2019 | News release | Distributed by Public on 08/06/2019 07:24
SKOPJE (North Macedonia) - The last youth event of the summer will take place in Skopje and the FIBA U16 Women's European Championship is going to be loaded with exciting talent.
We have picked out a selection of players to watch at the tournament as the newest generation of rising stars prepares to shine.
Gisela Sanchez - Spain
It's a case of take your pick when it comes to Spain and this generation which looks as stacked as they ever have been. And, that is saying something considering the talented sides they have had down the years which has seen them dominate this event. Sanchez has a super ability to run the floor and is a class act in almost every area. Tall, lean and a mean machine, she can score quickly and played at the event last year showing glimpses of her potential. If she doesn't shine quite as much as expected, there is always top drawer quality such as Marta Morales or Claudia Soriano for Spain to call upon.
Agata Makurat - Poland
An absolute lock to be a standout player at the senior level in the future for her country, Makarat joins the family party which includes her sister Anna playing for the prestigious UConn in the NCAA for the legendary play-caller, Geno Auriemma. Makarat junior has massive potential too. She can play multiple positions and could be a killer on the wing with her ability to put the ball on the floor, shoot over opponents with her height and generally utilize a wide ranging skill set. She is smart too, and is likely to spearhead Poland's challenge and be their main threat.
Elizabete Bulane - Latvia
Such is the potential of the guard, that she almost found herself representing Latvia at the recent FIBA Women's EuroBasket 2019 Final Round in her homeland. Fast-tracked due to an injury crisis, her potential inclusion was testament to her skills and even if she didn't quite make the end of the bench, it has only delayed her inevitable rise into the senior ranks. She is a clutch-player at the youth level, having shown her ability to hit big jump shots, triples, or execute plays for others in key moments. Bulane is a big hope for Latvian basketball as they are in need of top level guards coming through in these next few years.
Juste Jocyte - Lithuania
She may be set to be one of the youngest players taking part, but the word phenomenon is already being attached to a player that Lithuania may find develops into one of their best talents in a very long time. MVP of the U14 League in her homeland agai, Jocyte is a super rising star whose defensive capabilities are incredible. She is a swatting machine and her quick hands and reading of the game are excellent. While primarily a guard, she can play different positions on the court because of her all-around skills. She is able to score baskets in traffic, go high off the glass, drop a floater or showcase her creative ability with some amazing assists. Jocyte makes the game look so easy because of her natural ability and is only only one to watch this year, but also in 2020 too! (Photo L.Silkaitis/Lithuanian Basketball Federation)
Sara Roumy - France
Having joined the Federation's Centre Federal last autumn from Basket Landes, Roumy is ready to roll at this event and ramp up her production from her previous appearance in 2018. The signs are good that she can be the main contributor along with other exciting players such as the in-form Maia Hirsch and Leila Lecan. The natural offensive talent of Roumy makes her fun to watch and her dynamic style is a welcome addition to the table for those watching France.
Eleni Bosgana - Greece
Even though she was playing last year as one of the youngest members of the entire tournament - let alone the Greek roster, the talent of Bosgana was underlined by the fact that she helped carry them to promotion from Division B and was rewarded with an All-Star Five place. She formed a formidable one-two punch with Ioanna Chatzileonti in 2018 and now her teammate is too old to play, she will carry the flag in a big way. The forward can score inside, has a nice shooting range, great quick hands on defense and will be a major threat each time she steps out.
Kati Ollilainen - Finland
While Janette Aarnio took the plaudits last year, there is no doubt that Finland's promotion from Division B also hinged on the playmaking skills of Ollilainen. She finished with more than four assists per game and scored in double-figures - a feat she will have to repeat if her nation is to remain in the top flight. She is adept at finishing nicely at the hoop and the big question will be whether she can get her three-point game going to add an extra dimension.
Julia Franquin - Belgium
A scoring machine at times for Belgium, we got to take a look at her potential to rise to the elite level at the 2018 edition. Even thought she didn't finish as well as she can, she has shown in the past 12 months how she has matured and evolved her game. At the European Youth Olympic Festival recently in Baku she was on fire and racked up more than 21 points per game which was an incredible accomplishment. She may not have a lot of support around her, but if some of her team-mates do step it up, she can be the centrepiece of a positive campaign.
Bianca Braikia - Denmark
The rise of women's basketball in Denmark has been impressive in recent years and as they fight to keep their precious Division A status, much will fall upon the shoulders of Braikia. The forward is likely to be tasked with taking the game to Denmark's opponents. She can get to the hoop and is hard to stop with her long arms and those will also come in useful in terms of contributing on the glass as well. She has 3x3 style skills for her size and if she makes smart decisions and doesn't force it too much, she could get some big numbers in this competition.
Lara Habling - Hungary
Hidden during 2018 in Kaunas behind big-hitters like Reka Dombai, things are likely to change this year for Habling and she will bring her outstanding maturity, leadership and skills to the team. She spent some time at Csata in Budapest developing her game, but most recently has been back as captain at the Pecs College National Basketball Academy. Tall and able to move gracefully around the court, Habling has turned up the volume on her game in these past 12 months. A nice passer, slasher, shooter and with big potential, she is likely to gain time in the Hungarian League with PEAC-Pecs once the action is over in Skopje.
All players included may still be subject to confirming availability and being selected for the final rosters by their respective Federations.