YOUNG PLAYER OF THE YEAR
|Emma Meesseman receives her 2011 FIBA Europe Young Women's Player of the Year award from FIBA Europe President Olafur Rafnsson.|
It was a bittersweet evening for Emma Meesseman on Wednesday.
The 19 year-old stood out with her individual performance, but could not prevent her team's defeat in their EuroBasket Women Qualification Round opener against Slovenia.
Hosts Belgium lost in the narrow encounter, 59-63.
Meesseman showcased her talent with a double-double of 14 points and 10 rebounds.
Before the tip-off she was presented with her FIBA Young Women's Player of the Year award by FIBA Europe President Olafur Rafnsson.
She was the winner of the 2011 experts' vote with 194 points, edging Queralt Casas of Spain.
"I am very glad to present this award to Emma," Mr. Rafnsson said.
"I have watched the Belgian U18 team last summer during the European Championship in Romania when they won the gold medal. I was already impressed by Emma and the whole team at that moment."
The 1.92 m center led Belgium to the top of the podium at the U18 European Championship Women against all odds and walked away with the MVP trophy, averaging a double-double in points and rebounds.
She is continuing with her good performances with the senior national team and her club.
In the past EuroCup Women season, Meesseman has averaged 14.8 points and 8.6 rebounds for the Lotto Young Cats.
Her future looks more than promising.
"Emma has all the qualities to become a top European player and I am sure we will hear a lot of her in the future," Mr. Rafnsson concluded.
Meesseman has recently signed a four-year deal with Sparta&K M.R. Vidnoje.
The contract will allow her to continue her studies for the first two years and play for another team close to home.
She has decided to compete for ESB Villeneuve d'Ascq-Lille Metropole in France for the next two seasons.