Arkhipova Makes Return To U16s After 20 Years

03 August 2009

by Paul Nilsen

There is something of an anniversary happening in Naples for Russia coach Anna Arkhipova Von Kalmanovich who has a very good reason to think back with real affection to a certain U16 European Championships from the distant past.

Two decades ago, the Russia play-caller was donning her sneakers on court and representing her country - a fact not lost on her when she caught up with FIBA Europe to tell us a little about that experience.

"When I was playing for Russia exactly 20 years ago we won the U16 European Championship and I can remember it very clearly. I definitely have many happy memories of the tournament when I was young."

"It was a time when I made far too many mistakes but it was just one big basketball school for me and a valuable learning experience."

Playing and winning at this stage of her development helped her to eek out a career in the womens game, something she is very thankful for - even if she can't pass on too much of what she learnt as a young player to the current crop of stars.

"Without this experience of the European Championships as a 16 year old I am not sure I could have played in the future and so it was very important for my career."

"I can not really pass on too much about the experience to my players because basketball has changed so much in the past twenty years."

"Basketball is always changing and so are the players."

"The girls know more about the game an have more experience at 16 years old than I knew when I was maybe twenty years old."

"This is a very big difference as is the talent that some of them have."

So which of her current players can make it through the ranks and end up representing their country at senior level? It is a question that surprises the coach but one tht because of her desire to build a team without too many individual players leaves it difficult for her to answer.

"When it comes to the EuroBasket tournaments of the future for the Womens Russia team I really don't know how many of the girls will be there."

"I really can't say but I hope that all 12 can one day make that step."

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