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August 2019
32 Tima Bintou Pouye (FRA), FRA vs ESP
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12 players to watch at #FIBAU20Europe in Klatovy

KLATOVY (Czech Republic) - The FIBA U20 Women's European Championship 2019 in Klatovy will be another showcase for an array of rising stars.

With so many players to choose from, here is just a selection of some of those expected to shine brightly.

Iris Mbulito - Spain

The reigning MVP is back on board, since the classy Spanish forward was one of the youngest members of the side who took gold last year in Sopron. Mbulito will help her country to defend their crown and they will be looking for her to bring the noise in terms of her scoring and rebounding ability, plus her ability to stay calm under pressure and execute in the clutch.

Veronika Vorackova - Czech Republic

Having appeared for Czech Republic for a second time at the FIBA Women's EuroBasket recently, Vorackova will be intent on racking up big minutes in this tournament and for several reasons. Firstly it is on home soil and she will carry the hopes of her nation, plus she was MVP of the FIBA U18 Women's Championship Division B last summer when she inspired the promotion. Now it is about finishing the job with a strong showing in the top tier. She will look to dominate in just about every category for her team. She really can do it all and will be the centerpiece offensively.

Tima Pouye - France

It was a tough tournament for France at the last edition as they were knocked out in the Quarter-Finals during a real nail-biter with derby rivals Spain. Pouye was the class act in the team and having played last season in EuroCup Women with Tarbes again and averaged almost 30 minutes per outing, as well as in the highly competitive French League, she will look to pull the strings in the backcourt. She will be locked on to score, get plenty of rebounds for her position and pass the rock, but maybe the extra dimension will be whether she can get consistency from long-range.

Dalia Donskichyte - Lithuania

Having played a central role in Lithuania gaining promotion and winning gold at the FIBA U18 Women's Championship Division B, the playmaker is now likely to emerge as a backcourt leader at this event as she prepares to step up. Her performances in Austria last summer were incredible and as a point guard, to top both the assists and the steals chart will have been a real thrill. During this past club season, she has been developing her game with Kibirkstis. 

Valeria Trucco - Italy

The progress of Trucco continues and she was in the mix for the Italian senior team for the FIBA Women's EuroBasket 2019. While she didn't manage to make the final cut, she is surely a lock to be a future star at that level and she already has a rich pedigree at youth events. She was a key member of the Italy side that made history by making the Final of the FIBA U17 Women's Basketball World Cup three years ago.  She is a a powerful and hard working forward who does lots without the ball, as well as when she has it. Her smarts have been helped by having a mum who played for Italy with distinction for many years.

Ilse Kuijt - Netherlands

There was a magical moment at the 2018 edition of this event last year in Sopron for Kuijt and her teammates. They equalled their nation's best-ever finish by taking bronze and matching the 3rd place they achieved in Lanzarote during 2015. The do-it-all Kuijt played a major role in that success at both ends of the floor - harvesting almost 30 minutes per game. And, with some of her colleagues having since moved on from the youth ranks, it will fall on her to ensure the Dutch continue to fire this time around. Her double-digit scoring return last season in her domestic league with hometown club Grasshoppers Katwijk further underlines her ability to underpin Netherlands' 2019 campaign.

Ivana Katanic - Serbia 

Serbia enjoyed themselves last summer at this event as they rode a roller-coaster ride all the way to the title game. That success was very much down to the leadership and skills of the highly-rated Katanic, who deservedly made the All-Star Five of the competition. Even when she was shooting below par in the Quarter-Finals, she still came up with the only triple-double of the tournament. Her leadership is so crucial because if she is not in rhythm, she will find a teammate who is, as well as doing the dirty work off the ball. That All-Star Five place followed on from being handed individual honors the previous year at U18 too. She will be back to pull the strings and will be a driving force for Serbia.

Beatriz Jordao - Portugal

Hugely talented and a much loved personality within Portuguese basketball, the imposing Jordao will look to sign off her youth career in style in Klatovy. She has just completed her Freshman season at the University of South Florida which will have only added to her experiences and capacity to be a force as always in a Portugal national team vest. The center is a great leader for her team, was the second best shot-blocker at the event and in addition to her defensive power, she is likely to threaten a tournament double-double in points and rebounds. 

Aryna Masko - Belarus  

Fresh from her experiences in Zrenjanin at the FIBA Women's EuroBasket 2019, Masko will be keen to demonstrate her value to Belarus at senior level moving forward. While she didn't get any minutes at Final Round, she remains a tower of strength at youth level, having catapulted Belarus to not just one, but two promotions. She was outstanding as top scorer for her team at the FIBA U20 Women's European Championship Division B and then also starred when taking Belarus into the top level via the FIBA U18 Women's Championship Division B. A capable guard/forward, she will be the name at the top of her opponents' scouting reports.

Leonie Fiebich - Germany

Assuming that Fiebich has enough in the tank after leading Germany on their FIBA U19 Women's Basketball World Cup debut in Bangkok, she will arrive in Klatovy as the main player for her team. Her versatility, scoring touch and physical presence will all be important in keeping Germany in the top tier - at least as a starting point. Or, perhaps she can inspire them to a deep run in the tournament. An eye-catching season in the DBBL with TSV 1880 Wasserburg has further illustrated her abilities and of course she was a main pillar of Germany's historic U18 title success last year in Udine when she made the All-Star Five. 

Luize Septe - Latvia

It was a proud moment for Septe when she lined up on home soil for the senior Latvia team at the FIBA Women's EuroBasket 2019 and it was rich reward for her hard-working approach. While she has struggled a little in the calendar year in terms of scoring in the NCAA at the University of South Florida and is in a slight shooting slump, cream always rises to the top. Notably and importantly, because she does so much more on the court in every facet of the game, her minutes with the Bulls didn't dip. She will be the glue for Latvia that holds it all together, having played at every youth event available, including the U17 and U19 Women's Basketball World Cups. Meanwhile last year she was in the top three for her team in efficiency, scoring and rebounding.

Petra Pusztai - Hungary

With Hungary unable to rely on the services of some key players and leaders such as Livia Gereben, Dorka Juhasz and Reka Lelik, the onus will be on Pusztai to step up and show her qualities. It is probably the case that she has not received as much of the spotlight as many of Hungary's other rising stars, so the time to shine is now. Especially since she was given the thrill of a first senior tournament recently, when joining Lelik in propelling Hungary to the Quarter-Finals at the FIBA Women's EuroBasket 2019.  She didn't play at U20 last year and will be looking to show everyone her talents, having excelled at ZTE in the Hungarian League last season which has since seen her earn a move to  EuroLeague Women hopefuls, Miskolc.

*All players are subject to being both available and duly selected by their respective nations.