Six players to watch at #FIBAU20Europe in Prishtina
PRISHTINA (Kosovo) - The talent is ready to shine at the FIBA U20 Women's European Championship 2019 in Prishtina and we have picked out just some of those to get onto your watch-list.
Here are six of the best performers that we expect to light it up for their respective teams in the Kosovo capital:
Awak Kuier (Finland)
As if Kuier was not already exciting enough due to her previous exploits which have involved viral dunks, playing for the senior team so young and making an array of All-Star Fives in previous years at youth events, she has already been killing it this summer. The powerhouse claimed yet another individual accolade recently when she was crowned MVP of the FIBA U18 Women's European Championship Division B. Only this time, as well as the personal recognition, she had the extra thrill of taking her country to the title and into Division A. She will be looking to use her amazing athleticism, power and skills to do the same in Prishtina - knowing that if she does, then she will be eligible to play in the top tier in 2020.
Holly Winterburn (Great Britain)
Seen as the brightest young talent coming through for Great Britain, the measure of Winterburn's skills and potential can be emphasized by the fact she has been recruited by the prestigious University of Oregon. Once done in Prishtina, she will be heading Stateside to suit up for the Ducks. She is a guard who has also won back to back Women's British Basketball League Young Player of the Year Awards for her work with Leicester Riders. Able to score and create, she contributes in all areas and led her country in scoring, rebounding, steals and efficiency at the FIBA U18 Women's European Championship last summer.
Ilayda Guner - Turkey
It looks like Guner may land in Kosovo with a point to prove since she was a surprise omission from the Turkey senior team for the FIBA Women's EuroBasket 2019 last month. Having made her major tournament debut at the FIBA Women's Basketball World Cup in Tenerife last year, it seemed that she would be a permanent fixture, but not so. Despite that setback, Guner is a massive talent and the forward will be the centerpiece of the team. She averaged double-digits in the Turkish League with Istanbul Universitesi last season and was sensational at this event in 2018 when she was a leader for her country in points, rebounds, efficiency and blocks. Guner was also the leading scorer of the tournament with a super 23 points per game.
Elena Tsineke - Greece
A standout prospect for Greece, Tsineke is a dynamic player who is always entertaining to watch and can now boast EuroCup Women minutes on her resume. The guard played with Niki Lefkadas and averaged double-figures in points which was highly impressive and that scoring punch is also reflected strongly in her recent outings at youth level. She has now racked up three consecutive summers as a leading scorer for her country, while she has also successfully completed a transition to the senior Greece team after some fleeting appearances in the FIBA Women's EuroBasket 2019 Qualifiers.
Claire Melia - Ireland
Back after a serious injury which curtailed her participation in 2018 at youth events for Ireland, Melia will be looking to re-capture the magical spirit of two years ago when she made the All-Star Five at the FIBA U18 Women's European Championship Division B. She received the loudest applause from the home crowd in Dublin after guiding the host country to historic heights with a silver medal and a first-ever promotion to Division A at any level. On her return, she will be hoping she can bring the power in the paint and use her skills to put up big numbers for her nation on the glass and in terms of what will be much-needed scoring production.
Andjela Katavic - Croatia
There was disappointment in 2018 as Croatia suffered relegation from the top flight in Sopron and their campaign to return to Division A is likely to be spearheaded by Katavic. She was one of the best performers during last year's failure to escape the dreaded drop and will want to make amends this time around. She has continued developing her skills at the Tresnjevka club in Zagreb, which is gaining an excellent reputation for it's work in the youth game. Katavic will be looking to at least match her own numbers from Sopron when she was in the top three for her team in points, rebounds,assists and efficiency.