Nine players who stood out at #FIBAU18Europe
KONYA (Turkey) - There were plenty of incredible individual displays at the FIBA U18 Women's European Championship which showcased the depth of young talent ready to rise up further during coming years.
Here are eight risings stars s who caught the eye in Konya with their contributions across the tournament.
Ajsa Sivka - Slovenia
Birth Date: November 23, 2005 (17 years old)
Tournament Statistics: 22.0 EFF; 15.9 PPG; 9.3 RPG; 3.0 APG; 2.4 SPG
Hopes were high for Sivka after her major tournament debut with Slovenia at the FIBA Women's EuroBasket 2023 and she didn't disappoint when she stepped onto Turkish soil. She led her team to their historical triumph with the kind of maturity and class everyone expected from a young player who has learned so much in 2023. MVP was a no-brainer, even if Slovenia had been edged out in the title-decider. She showed her extensive skill set and class in every single facet of the game - both on and off the ball. The sky's the limit.
Lea Bartelme - Slovenia
Birth Date: December 30, 2005 (17 years old)
Tournament Statistics: 18.0 EFF; 13.5 PPG; 7.0 APG; 5.5 RPG; 2.8 SPG
With her teammate dominant and taking the coveted MVP award, the displays of Bartelme were maybe hidden a little more, but make no mistake, Slovenia have got the potential makings of an elite level guard if she continues to develop. She led the tournament in assists with 7.0 per game, she is an aggressive defender and rebounder for her size, can knock down shots and plays like someone who wants to run a team for her colleagues first - rather than for herself. And, that is always a great sign in any young playmaker.
Marine Dursus - France
Birth Date: August 26, 2005 (17 years old)
Tournament Statistics: 14.9 EFF; 13.0 PPG; 3.0 APG; 2.4 RPG; 2.3 SPG
So strong on the ball, her physical attributes combined with her IQ make her such a super young talent. Two tangible measures of her success are that she was the best field goal shooter in the competition and also that quite incredibly, she only turned the ball over 10 times in the entire tournament! That is despite playing almost 25 minutes per game, including intense Semi-Finals and a Final. Dursus is another player who does everything across the board as her numbers demonstrate, but she is also seriously tough.
Iyana Martin - Spain
Birth Date: January 18, 2006 (17 years old)
Tournament Statistics: 16.9 EFF; 14.3 PPG; 5.3 APG; 3.7 RPG; 3.3 SPG
She looked destined to take MVP for much of the competition, but like her teammates, it was a one-off night to forget in that majorly sub-par Semi-Final outing. Still, Martin was able to showcase her all-around game once more, having been the U16 MVP last summer and then making the All-Star Five at the U17 Worlds. Her main value is her general efficiency and shot selection as a primary scorer, along with her ability to draw defenses and pass the rock to great effect. She now moves on to the pending U19 Worlds in Madrid.
Marija Avlijas - Serbia
Birth Date: January 6, 2005 (18 years old)
Tournament Statistics: 17.9 EFF; 20.6 PPG; 4.6 APG; 4.4 RPG
Described as a walking bucket heading into the competition, Serbia's go-to player didn't disappoint with a tally of more than 20 points per game in the tournament. She also handed out almost five assists per outing too - something that clearly shows she is not all about putting the ball through the hoop. Avlijas also did some of the dirty stuff by doing a good job on the glass for her country, and while they just fell short of the podium, she had the consolation of reminding everyone she is surely a senior star in the making.
Elina Aarnisalo - Finland
Birth Date: July 26, 2005 (17 years old)
Tournament Statistics: 20.3 EFF; 23.0 PPG; 7.7 RPG; 4.1 APG; 2.0 SPG
After an arguably mixed start, Aarnisalo caught fire in a big way and was absolutely sensational. She poured in a stunning 23.0 points per game and that was more than any other baller in the competition. That reminded everyone why she featured and contributed to Finland's FIBA Women's EuroBasket 2023 Qualifiers. Strong and just as happy creating for those around her, the do-it-all abilities of the guard are highlighted by her harvest of almost 8 boards per game.
Clara Silva - Portugal
Birth Date: May 31, 2006 (17 years old)
Tournament Statistics: 22.7 EFF; 18.1 PPG; 11.6 RPG; 2.3 BPG
It felt like the ultimate bitter-sweet competition for fans of Portugal who watched their team start 3-0 and win the group, only to then implode and finish in the bottom three. And yet the massive silver lining and one consistent factor was the form of their powerful center. Silva was outstanding and Portugal may have just found themselves someone to lead their senior frontcourt for the next 15 years or so if she keeps developing. The leading shot blocker, second best rebounder and third best scorer, it was a superb effort.
Annika Soltau - Germany
Birth Date: March 25, 2005 (18 years old)
Tournament Statistics: 20.5 EFF; 17.8 PPG; 11.8 RPG; 2.0 BPG
Another player who managed to amass a tournament double-double, there's lots to get excited about with Soltau. Not least she looks like a young talent with even more capacity to grow and grow. That will be a nightmare if it is taken literally as already her wingspan and shot blocking ability causes big issues for her opponents. Nobody crashed the glass better in Konya than the German star and there was a lot to love about her performances - especially for senior coach Lisa Thomaidis who will be watching the pipeline closely.
Faith Ehi Etute - Luxembourg
Birth Date: October 24, 2005 (17 years old)
Tournament Statistics: 43.8 EFF; 31.5 PPG; 23.3 RPG; 4.3 APG; 6.2 SPG
Meanwhile, at the FIBA U18 Women's European Championship Division B in Sofia, Faith Ehi Etute inspired Luxembourg to a maiden medal and first ever Final. She was the runaway MVP and led the All-Star Five after a jaw-dropping average performance valuation of 43.8 per game which was founded on a phenomenal tournament double-double.