19 February, 2024
25 February, 2025
15 rising stars who made a mark in the first EuroBasket Qualifiers window
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15 rising stars who made a mark in the first EuroBasket Qualifiers window

MUNICH (Germany) - It was a tremendously eventful window of FIBA EuroBasket 2025 Qualifiers, with close games, memorable individual performances, upsets, buzzer-beaters and excitement in nearly every contest.

The young talent in the competition was also impressive, with a number of players who are rising quickly through the European rankings.

Youth basketball expert Ignacio Rissotto put together a selection of 15 young players, born in 2001 and later, who made their mark during the first EuroBasket Qualifiers window.



Tarik Biberovic - Turkiye TUR

Biberovic's debut with Turkiye couldn't have gone any better. He kept Turkiye in the game with a masterful performance against Italy, going for 27 points, 8 rebounds and 4 assists. The next game, he saved his team from falling to 0-2, hitting the buzzer beater to beat Iceland 76-75.

Turkiye is yet to show the dominant play expected from them, but this qualifying window has made clear that they have found one of their wings of the future in Biberovic.

Malte Delow - Germany GER

The reigning World Champions were probably expecting to sit at 2-0 after the first qualifying window. Bulgaria, however, had other plans for Germany who will certainly need to improve in a few areas ahead of November's qualifying window. 


One thing that won't need improvement, however, is Malte Delow's play. The 1.98m wing was a sniper for Germany, converting 41.7 percent of his three-point attempts during the qualifying window. Delow should be an important piece for Germany going forward with his size and floor-spacing ability.

Bakary Dibba - Denmark DEN

After making his senior national team debut in the Pre-Qualifiers, Dibba quickly showed the potential to become one of the cornerstones of the team going forward with a strong start to the Qualifiers.

The 2.01m wing was able to score both at the rim and from beyond the arc, as he shot 40 percent from three. Dibba also made an impact on the defensive end of the floor with his size and mobility, as he led the team in rebounds while also averaging 1.5 steals and 1.5 blocks per game.

Barra Njie - Sweden SWE

Njie played just 16 minutes per game for Sweden, but that was enough for him to make an impact. The Braunschweig guard averaged 11.0 points and a team-leading 3.5 assists per game, while shooting 40 percent from beyond the arc.

The race in Group D is wide open, with all four teams tied at 1-1, if Sweden is one of the teams that will make it out of the group, Njie will have to continue to make an impact with his athleticism, his aggressive scoring and his disruptive perimeter defense.

Tobias Jensen - Denmark DEN

Despite scoring just 5 points per game, Jensen showed why he's one of the most versatile young players in Europe in this qualifying window. Standing at 1.98m, Jensen was able to make an impact on defense, collect rebounds and make plays for others while shooting the occasional three-pointer.

The 19-year-old wing played important minutes for Denmark who finished the qualifying window with a 1-1 record and is dreaming of returning to EuroBasket for the first time since 1955.

Oleksandr Kovliar - Ukraine UKR

Ukraine's winless record is not a reflection of Kovliar's stellar performance. At just 21 years old, the Obradoiro guard has emerged as a leader for this Ukrainian squad with his shotmaking and his ability to get teammates involved, leading his team in both scoring and assists, averaging 20 points and 9 dimes per game. 


Despite currently sitting at 0-2, Ukraine has everything still in front of them, as Group A is very much open. Kovliar will look to lead Ukraine back to winning in the upcoming November window where they will face Israel.

Yannick Kraag - Netherlands NED

Kraag scored in double digits for the Netherlands in both of his appearances during the window, being able to both score at the rim on drives and space the floor with his outside shooting. The Joventut wing was also able to utilize his 1.97m size, length and athleticism to make an impact on the defensive end of the floor.

Alongside Keye Van der Vuurst, Kraag is one of the faces of a young Netherlands team who will need to make a quick turnaround in November's qualifying window where they will face Czechia.

Giorgi Ochkhikidze - Georgia GEO

In his debut for the senior national team, Ochkhikidze was the X-Factor for a Georgia squad that kept it close against both Serbia and Denmark. The 19-year-old guard averaged 8 points, 2 assists and 1.5 steals on 85.7 percent from the field.


Currently playing in the Georgian Superleague for Kutasi 2010, Ochkhikidze's performance at the first EuroBasket Qualifiers window has certainly put him in the map of European basketball.

Jaime Pradilla - Spain ESP

Spain find themselves in unfamiliar territory, being winless after the first qualifying window. If there was a silver lining it was Pradilla's performance in both games, the 23-year-old forward was able to contribute as a rebounder and score efficiently, averaging 9.5 points on a tremendously efficient 70 percent shooting percentage.


Spain will go back to the drawing board ahead of a double match up against Slovakia in November's qualifying window, but Pradilla's contributions as an interior finisher and rebounder is something that they might start building upon.

Ruben Prey - Portugal POR

Big things were expected from Prey in this qualifying window and the 19-year-old was up to the challenge, putting up 10 points, 4 rebounds and 2 steals in a close loss against Israel. Against Ukraine, the Joventut prospect contributed once again scoring 7 points in just 15 minutes, in Portugal's first EuroBasket Qualifiers win since 2016.

Portugal will go into the second qualifying window with a 1-1 record; their dream of making their first EuroBasket since 2011 is very much alive.

Roko Prkacin - Croatia CRO

Prkacin played in just one of the two games for Croatia in this window, but it was more than enough to see all his talent on display. The Gran Canaria forward put up 24 points, 10 rebounds and 2 blocks on 10-for-12 shooting from the field in a blowout against Cyprus.

Croatia's next qualifying window will have them play Bosnia and Herzegovina in a crucial pair of games that could be make-or-break for their EuroBasket aspirations. If his play against Cyprus is any indication, then Prkacin should be an important factor for Croatia in their quest to qualify for their fifteenth straight EuroBasket.

Gabriele Procida - Italy ITA

Italy is off to a great start at the Qualifiers, currently sitting at 2-0. With Nicolo Melli and Giordano Bortolani on the roster, the
Azzurri didn't need Procida to do much scoring, so he did pretty much everything else, making an impact as a rebounder and versatile defender. 

When he had the ball in his hands, the ALBA Berlin wing took care of the ball (3 assists, 0 turnovers) and was able to score efficiently, as he averaged 8 points on 63.6 percent from the field and 66.7 percent from three-point range.

Matthew Strazel - France FRA

France remain undefeated after the first qualifying window and with his efficient scoring, Strazel has established himself as a key piece in the perimeter for Les Bleus. The Monaco guard scored double digits in both of his games, shooting 50 percent from the field, and 44.4 percent from three-point range.

France has an embarrassment of riches when it comes to young talent, but with his performance during the first EuroBasket Qualifiers window, it shouldn't surprise anyone if Strazel develops into France's long-term starter at the point guard position.

Azuolas Tubelis - Lithuania LTU

Efficiency was the name of the game for Tubelis, who scored 4 points in just 3 minutes of playing time, in his debut against Poland. While his scoring didn't exactly set the world on fire against Estonia, the 21-year-old made an impact in many areas with a statline of 6 points, 7 rebounds, 3 assists and 2 blocks.

Lithuania sit at 1-1 after an unexpected loss against Estonia, and Tubelis' versatility could be one of the keys for the Baltic Giants to get back on track in these Qualifiers.

Keye van der Vuurst de Vries - Netherlands NED

We're seeing a changing of the guard for the Netherlands in the Qualifiers and Van der Vuurst might be the biggest example. The 22-year-old floor general led the team in points and assists, while showing his full arsenal of creation for himself and others.

Netherlands' 0-2 record does not reflect the level of play they showed during the first qualifying window, as they lost both games by a grand total of six points. If the Oranje will turn those close losses into wins, then Van der Vuurst will need to keep up his stellar play throughout the Qualifiers.