Sika Koné among Six Wingers and Pivots to watch at FIBA U19 Women’s World Cup

Sika Koné

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DEBRECEN (Hungary) – There will be some fantastic frontcourt talents at the FIBA U19 Women’s Basketball World Cup in Debrecen as they get ready to go to work in the paint.

Here are some of the names to add to your watch-list, following on from the six backcourt and wings to follow that was previously published.

All players are subject to the following players being available and selected by their respective Federations.

Sika Kone – Mali

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An absolute beast for Mali when playing younger at the previous edition of the FIBA U19 Women’s Basketball World Cup in Bangkok, Kone will be back again to dominate in the paint in Debrecen. She has excelled at the FIBA U17 global level, too. Her power and poise make her a real handful, and she could be on for a place in the All-Star Five if Mali play well enough to make a deep tournament run. Two years ago in Thailand, she averaged a superb 15.1 points and 13.9 rebounds. Imagine what she can do now she is actually playing as a 19-year-old!

Anastasiia Kosu – Russia

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An incredible talent, Kosu is the type of player people sit up and take notice of her talent. She was named the MVP of the FIBA U16 Women’s European Championship 2019 when just 14-years-old, after all. Kosu then went on to become one of the youngest players in EuroLeague Women history to step out in the competition when she debuted with Dynamo Kursk last season. Now she will play against older players again in Debrecen, but she will punch above her weight and be the force behind Russia’s campaign as they rely her strength, quickness and superb athleticism.

Yara Hussein – Egypt

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The MVP of the FIBA U18 African Women’s Championship last year, the center earned the accolade after propelling Egypt to the title. Hussein amassed a near-tournament double-double of 9.4 points and 11.2 boards per game on home soil. She will now be excited to test herself against some of the world’s best. Hussein will need to prove herself as an anchor at both ends of the floor if Egypt want to be competitive in a very difficult group.

Lauren Betts – USA

The imposing physical frame of Betts, combined with her array of moves around the basket will be on show. To further highlight her talent, she will be one of the youngest on the USA roster as she is 2003 born. Still learning and with tremendous amount of exciting growth potential in her post play, she has already turned heads as a member of the FIBA U16 Women’s Americas Championship All-Star Five. A super young player, the signs are positive Betts can go all the way to the top if she keeps working hard.

Martina Spinelli – Italy


The degree to which Spinelli has developed over the last couple of years is cemented in the fact that she was in contention for the senior Italian roster for this summer’s FIBA Women’s EuroBasket in Valencia. While she just missed out, she is a lock to soon make the transition from the youth ranks – where she won gold with her country in 2019 at the FIBA U18 Women’s European Championship. This next club season should be a great challenge after she signed with a leading Italian side Passalacqua Ragusa – a club where she will be able to show her talent.

Aika Hirashita – Japan

The emergence of Hirashita has a great significance to Japan, who always welcome frontcourt players if they’re good enough at the senior level where they don’t have a particularly deep pool of options. She looks like she could have what it takes to be considered in future years and played globally at the FIBA U17 Women’s Basketball World Cup 2018 when Hirashita was the only 2002-born player on the roster. Even then, she still contributed nicely and landed more minutes than anyone else except one of her teammates. While undersized, Hirashita is strong, quick and smart. Plus, she  exudes the typical team-mentality ethos that is engrained into Japanese basketball.


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