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Our watch-list of rising stars in Skopje
SKOPJE (North Macedonia) - There will be plenty of talent on display at the FIBA U18 Women's European Championship Division B in Skopje.
We have picked out 8 must-watch players from a big crop of rising stars:
Awak Kuier - Finland
Is there any other player who causes so much of a buzz within the FIBA youth game right now? Maybe not. That is because Kuier throws down dunks and now in the senior Finland team, she is also an even better forward/center from the experience - especially playing with the legendary veteran Taru Tuukkanen. A Basketball Without Borders Global camper, she threw down a dunk at the event when she was just 15-years-old. She will lead Finland and will be looking to repeat her All-Star Five place at this tournament from last year.
Ioanna Chatzileonti - Greece
The MVP at the FIBA U16 Women's European Championship Division B last year, Greek basketball has a major talent on its hands, and one that is now capable of stepping up to the U18 team and also being a big success . She has a big impact not only on offense where she can score freely, but she uses the combination of her size and great mobility on defense too. She gained nice experience with Proteas in the Greek league last year and so should be a standout again during 2019.
Matilda Ekh - Sweden
If Sweden need an offensive boost at this tournament, they will turn to Ekh. That's because she is a gifted player whose skills were recognized last year at the FIBA U16 Women's European Championship Division B where she made the All-Star Five. The guard is not just about scoring and is a do it all player, as her 7.3 rebounds, 2.9 assists and 2.9 steals per game in Podgorica would testify. She is relatively long so nice at the defensive end too.
Anna Gret Asi - Estonia
Get your finger on the record button because Asi is a walking highlights reel for Estonia. Inside, outside, shooting, passing and scoring from multiple spots across the floor, she does it with style. Last summer at the FIBA U16 Women's European Championship Division B tournament, her show reel was pretty special and so were her numbers. She was the top scorer in the tournament with 19.3 points per game.
Alberte Rimdal - Denmark
Even if Denmark are not yet an elite level nation in women's hoops, they have a potentially elite level player in Rimdal whose talent is huge. The guard handles the ball brilliantly, can leave her defender stone dead from a standing start with a sweet first step and she will lead at both ends of the floor. Last summer she poured in more than 18 points per game at the FIBA U16 Women's European Championship Division at the Division A level which showed her class. Her 4 assists per game show that she also has trust in her team-mates, while last season at club level she didn't just put up big numbers, she shot the lights out all season-long with Aabyhoj. She is one of several rising stars in what is turning into exciting times for Danish women's basketball.
Emma Chardon - Switzerland
Highly efficient in everything she does, Chardon is a class act and it will not be long before she is elevated to the senior ranks with Switzerland. She just had a great shooting season in the Swiss League with Geneve Basket, dropping an eye-popping near 60 percent from the floor. That reflects the form and contributions of the forward for the national youth teams. Last year at the FIBA U16 Women's European Championship Division B, she accumulated a tournament double-double. She used her athleticism, poise and strength to harvest more than 18 points and 11 rebounds per game.
Sude Yilmaz - Turkey
Yilmaz is another exciting young player coming through for Turkey and they can't come quickly enough after the senior team hit the rocks at the FIBA Women's EuroBasket 2019 and suffered an early elimination. She came up with the best play of the FIBA U16 Women's European Championship last year and that underlines her do-it-all approach. Leading her country in efficiency, points and rebounds in Kaunas, she was rewarded last season with an opportunity to prove herself in the demanding Turkish League. And, she responded by playing 12 games for the mighty Galatasaray.
Mariana Carvalho - Portugal
A gutsy guard who played last season with the well known Portuguese club Lombos Quinta and managed to impress, Carvalho will be expected to lead a title push for her country. Last year at this tournament she was a force for Portugal but they just fell short, having to settle for a top 5 spot but without promotion. The guard can shoot nicely from long-range and is very dangerous. She will most likely form a one-two punch with forward Ana Jesus.