In the small town of Pezinok just outside of Bratislava, Slovakia’s Capital city we have had three days of great games between the Host Nation, Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland. Whilst Slovakia, like Poland have bounced between Division A and B status the Czech Republic and Hungary have been an impressive force at this level.
However as all coaches know at the youth level a good crop of talent can make the difference and Poland demonstrated that they both have depth and a real star in the making to end this tournament as Champion’s.
The hosts were unable to secure a win throughout the tournament, however their leading scorer who averaged 12 pts a game particularly caught the eye, missing a true PG and consistent perimeter threats the diminutive Slovaks struggled against the overall size of the three other contenders.
Whilst Czech Republic lost out to Hungary on the final day to end up 3rd don’t be deceived this team will still be a contender during the summer Championships. Coach Fousek had a game plan and that clearly centered around giving all 12 of his startlets equal court time, and they hardly skipped a beat despite the 5 for 5 rotations. Some typical Czech players, great size, well balanced athletes and savvy scorers.
Hungary just keep producing such versatile players, you wouldn’t be wrong to describe half the team as combo guards but averaging around 6’ they were tough to cope with defensively. In particular the on ball defense and all round toughness of their Captain was delightful to watch. Hungary also have a very exciting youngster coming through the ranks, she has all the raw materials to be a very special player.
Poland were unlucky to not gain promotion from Division B last summer and it’s a real shame because it would be great to see this team battle with the best of Europe. Very good depth at the lead guard spot allowed them to keep the tempo of the games high, quality Bigs that run the floor and post up early kept the scoreboard ticking over and if they were ever in need of a quick score the tournament MVP was on hand to take charge of the games.
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