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Canada's Aaliyah McKenzie Edwards, Israel's Deni Avdija named MVPs at BWB Global Camp
CHARLOTTE (U.S.) - The fifth annual Basketball Without Borders (BWB) Global Camp took place in conjunction with NBA All-Star 2019 over the weekend in Charlotte, North Carolina, with the pair of Aaliyah McKenzie Edwards (Canada) and Deni Avdija from Israel being named as the MVPs.
Sixty-four elite high school age players from 31 countries and regions came together to receive elite level coaching and life lessons while also getting a chance to take in the festivities of the league's mid-season classic.
The 40 boys and 24 girls from Africa, the Americas (not including the USA), Asia-Pacific and Europe had three days of learning from some of the best in the game, including 2019 NBA All-Stars Nikola Jokic (Denver Nuggets; Serbia) and Nikola Vucevic (Orlando Magic; Montenegro), 2018 No. 1 overall draft pick and former BWB camper Deandre Ayton (Phoenix Suns; Bahamas; BWB Global 2016) and 2017-18 All Rookie Second Team member Bogdan Bogdanovic (Sacramento Kings; Serbia).
Recognized as the most outstanding players of the Global Camp were Edwards and Avdija (seen in main picture with NBA Deputy Commissioner Mark Tatum and FIBA Secretary General Andreas Zagklis).
"I've been so blessed to be here," Edwards told FIBA.basketball. "I just want to say that all these athletes competed as hard as I did but I'm very grateful to receive this award because it shows that everything I've been working for actually paid off."
Though it is a camp for individuals, the 6ft 3in guard said she was playing not only for herself but for her country, which she has represented at the FIBA U16 Women's Americas Championship 2017 and FIBA U17 Women's Basketball World Cup 2018.
"When I first wore the jersey for team Canada, representing them in the summer, it brought tears to eyes. I was just so honored to do that. And representing my team here (at BWB), it just motivates me to play better."
Feeling Blessed to have been a part of this amazing experience! Also got to meet great ppl and learned a lot!!🙏🏾😊 https://t.co/lwBjsWmBch— Aaliyah Edwards (@Aaliyah26867788) February 18, 2019
Avdija was equally gracious, telling FIBA: "I had a good camp, but there are so many good players. It's such good talent here and it was amazing to see, and amazing to get to meet new friends. But for me it's just motivation to keep working hard. I hope there is more to come."
Already a professional with Maccabi Tel Aviv, the 6ft 8in (2.05m) forward appreciated the experience of the instructors and the wisdom imparted from NBA players who visited the camp over the weekend.
"The great coaches in this camp taught me a lot of things, new things and the (NBA) players who came and talked to us said some few things that was really helpful," he said, adding that the competitors learned from each other, "You learn the most from your teammates."
Other camp awards included:
BWB Global 2019 All-Stars
Boys: Santiago Vescovi (Uruguay); Tamuri Wigness (Australia); Matthieu Gauzin (France); Jermaine Miranda Perez (Puerto Rico); Jovan Kljajic (Montenegro); Killian Hayes (France); Matthew-Alexander Moncrieffe (Canada); Deni Avdija (Israel); Tristan Enaruna (Netherlands); Samuel Mennenga (New Zealand); Amar Sylla (Senegal); Khalifa Diop (Senegal).
GIRLS: Nika Muhl (Croatia); Ming Zheng (China); Goksen Fitik (Turkey); Zoe Wadoux (France); Florencia Chagas (Argentina); Aminata Sangare (Mali); Aaliyah McKenzie Edwards (Canada).
BWB Global 2019 Team Champion
BOYS - Toronto Raptors: Tamuri Wigness (Australia); Matthieu Gauzin (France); Cashius McNeilly (Canada); Ma Chien-Hao (Chinese Taipei); Julian Strawther (Puerto Rico); Matej Rudan (Croatia); Nelly Junior Joseph (Nigeria); Clifford Omoruyi (Nigeria); Khalifa Diop (Senegal).
GIRLS - Minnesota Lynx: Ming Zheng (China); Misa Hayashi (Japan); Grishma Niranjan (India); Meriem Saadaoui (Algeria); Emily Bessoir (Germany); Simona Visockaite (Lithuania); Aaliyah McKenzie Edwards (Canada); Mariana Valenzuela Medina (Mexico).
BOYS: Santiago Vescovi (Uruguay).
GIRLS: Zoe Wadoux (France).