10 standout players at the FIBA U20 Women's European Challengers
MUNICH (Germany) - As the dust settles on the FIBA U20 Women's European Challengers, a number of players posted exceptional performances to suggest there could be more senior court time ahead with their respective nations.
It wasn't only the MVPs of the Challengers in Konya, Skopje, Sofia, Sopron and Yerevan that excelled. Here are some of the standout performers who might now be pushing to make an impression at senior level.
Aliz Varga - Hungary
Tournament Stats: 16.8 PTS / 8.0 REB / 2.6 AST per game
Varga was deservedly crowned MVP of the Sopron Challenger as she catapulted Hungary to the title on home soil. She used her do-it-all approach to help her nation take the crown and had they not lost on the last day of action to Spain, they would have gone unbeaten.
The form of the winger means she can now push for inclusion in the senior team and Hungary need to start seeing some of their many talented young players breaking through since they failed to make it to the recent FIBA Women's EuroBasket.
Alessandra Orsili - Italy
Tournament Stats: 13.4 PTS / 3.4 AST / 1.4 REB / 1.4 STL per game
These are exciting times for fans of Italian basketball, even if it might not seem like it after their premature and disappointing exit at the recent FIBA Women's EuroBasket.
The conveyor belt of talented rising stars is still flowing nicely and having shown her skills at the global youth level and events such as the FIBA U17 Women's Basketball World Cup, as well as in Europe previously, this playmaker looks set for a promotion to the seniors sooner rather than later.
Orsili was the heartbeat of Italy winning every game in Sofia and she was crowned MVP in recognition of her leadership and all-around game.
Janelle Salaun - France
Tournament Stats: 17.0 PTS / 10.2 REB / 2 AST per game
Posting a huge double-double across the tournament in the Konya Challenger to inspire France to the crown, the already lengthy frontcourt rotation of the France seniors will continue if Salaun has her way.
While the competition is fierce, this MVP display in the competition will have made everyone sit up and take notice. If the forward builds on her encouraging displays in the LFB with ESBVA-LM last season, then she could soon be elevated to senior action.
Plus, there is the massive incentive of kicking on ahead of the 2024 Paris Olympics for every young French player.
Klea Verri - Albania
Tournament Stats: 24.0 PTS / 7.3 REB / 4.3 AST per game
While Albania are still minnows within the European game, there is no ignoring how much brighter their future looks with a someone like Verri in the mix and beginning to emerge.
Finishing as the leading scorer in the entire competition and across all the Qualifiers, Despite plenty of defensive attention, she also managed to make good shot selections and return a high shooting percentage.
Throw in the rebounding work and ability to hand out assists and it was a hugely impressive showing in Yerevan for the guard.
Emily Bessoir - Germany
Tournament Stats: 16.2 PTS / 13.8 REB / 2.2 STL per game
The German youth star will have been on every follower's watch-list before the event started because of her previous exploits helping Germany win U18 gold a couple of years ago, as well as playing at the FIBA U19 Women's Basketball World Cup in Bangkok and featuring prominently at Basketball Without Borders camps.
The versatile forward didn't disappoint with some huge showings in Sofia where she accumulated a classy double-double to remind everyone of her potential.
Marie Reichert - Germany
Tournament Stats: 15.0 PTS / 50% FG / 12.2 REB / 2.2 STL per game
There was no way of leaving out Reichert who posted a similarly spectacular tournament for Germany in forming this potent one-two punch with Bessoir.
Also harvesting an eye-catching tournament double-double and matching her teammate in the steals chart, Reichert shot the ball well and had a couple of huge performances.
This will have catapulted her onto the radar and followers of the women's game will note that Germany looks to be getting deeper and deeper as so many young players move towards the seniors.
This glut includes both Reichert and Bessoir who will want to follow other young guns like Satou Sabally, Leonie Fiebiech and Luisa Geiselsoder into the seniors very soon.
Yarden Garzon - Israel
Tournament Stats: 19.2 PTS / 9.4 REB / 2.0 AST / 2.0 BLK per game
The terrific displays of Garzon could barely be better timed, with last month's news that Israel will be co-hosts of the FIBA Women's EuroBasket 2023. Quite literally short in the frontcourt, the senior team will have all taken note of what she has accomplished here - at both ends of the floor.
While it is a totally different beast to be as impactful at the next level, these are hugely encouraging signs for everyone involved, with her still having a couple of years ahead to get even better before what will be a highly anticpated Women's EuroBasket debut for the forward.
Lilia Anna Karakasidou - Greece
Tournament Stats: 20.5 PTS / 3.3 REB / 3.3 AST / 2.3 STL per game
With Greek offense looking limited at the FIBA Women's EuroBasket in Valencia and in need of some additional firepower, perhaps one option could be Karakasidou.
She erupted in Yerevan and showed nice maturity and consistency which could put her in a good position to get court time in the forthcoming FIBA Women's EuroBasket 2023 Qualifiers.
Most impressively, she showed she is more than just a scorer and did some great work in other facets of the game, leading to her MVP award.
Emma Chardon - Switzerland
Tournament Stats: 18.0 PTS / 10.3 REB / 3.5 AST per game
The towering frame of Chardon has already been seen by plenty of people who followed the FIBA Women's EuroBasket 2021 Qualifiers, with the frontcourt rising star showing more than a glimpse of what she is capable of for the Swiss seniors.
Her double-double in Yerevan was entirely predictable, but no less impressive for having achieved it. Chardon also showed her underrated passing game and will be attracting attention from many of Europe's leading leagues in future years, while Switzerland will be hoping she can be someone that can push them closer towards a Women's EuroBasket ticket.
Ema Rodakova - Slovakia
Tournament Stats: 8.3 PTS / 4.7 REB / 3.3 AST / 4.3 STL
Slovakia reigned supreme in Skopje as they went unbeaten and won every game by at least 20 points against North Macedonia, Romania, Kosovo and Luxembourg.
Their success was arguably founded on the stellar defensive work of guard Ema Radkova whose work resulted in 4.3 steals per game - the most of any player in the competition across all the Qualifiers.