| ||Jeff Taylor has been covering European basketball since 1997, when he first worked on the television program SLAM. He has been a basketball writer and broadcaster since that time, traveling the continent and covering the game in depth for FIBA Europe since its launch in 2003. |
Alba Torrens is only 22 years of age but has already experienced a career's worth of highs and lows.
One of the best moments of all came on Tuesday when it was announced she'd been voted FIBA Europe Women's Player of the Year.
Torrens has captured European Championship medals with Spain's youth teams and played for her country's senior team at EuroBaskets, World Championships and Olympic Games.
The 1.92m guard's finest hour on the court was at the EuroLeague Women Final Four last year in Ekaterinburg, Russia, when she fired Perfumerias Avenida to the title and was named MVP.
Torrens capped a terrific campaign with Avenida by winning the Spanish Liga Femenina.
As the 2011 FIBA Europe Women's Player of the Year, she is now in select company.
|Alba Torrens with the Final Four MVP trophy after the EuroLeague Women final, her best moment in 2011 |
Russia's Maria Stepanova is a three-time Women's Player of the Year (2005, '06 and '08), while Latvia's Anete Jekabsone-Zogota scooped the award in 2007.
France's Sandrine Gruda (2009) and the Czech Republic's Hana Horáková (2010) have also claimed the award.
Tuesday's announcement has come at a good time for Torrens.
She was in need of a boost because nearly three weeks ago, the shooting guard tore her anterior cruciate ligament in a game at Lotos Gdynia and was lost for the season.
In an interview she just had with Basketball World News, Torrens talked about the injury.
"The feeling wasn't pleasant," she said.
"When I went down, I knew that something was broken.
"I've had other injuries but nothing like this one.
"This is the worst injury I've had."
Torrens returned to Istanbul and had surgery.
She will now have to spend several months out of action.
Her injury came at an awkward time for Galatasaray, who were counting on her 14.7 points per game in the EuroLeague Women to help in the play-offs.
"An injury never comes at the right time," she said.
Torrens now has to be patient and mentally tough.
|Torrens has been a Spain international since she was 15, representing her country -and winning medals- at every age group|
"More than ever, I have to be strong, positive," she said.
"I need to know how to deal with this challenge.
"It's something that can happen and I have very clear in my mind that I have to work very hard.
"The countdown to my return to the court has already started and I am enthusiastic and motivated to get back as soon as possible."
Torrens wants to be with Galatasaray at every game.
"I would love to be playing with the team," she said.
"This is the most difficult thing.
"There are many important games coming up and as a player, you want to be a part of it.
"But I will try to be with the team one way or another.
"I think the team is growing and continues to grow.
"I believe we are better. We have the same aims.
"Our aim at the start of the season was this Final Eight and we are going to continue to battle for it."
Torrens will have to watch, but at least she can be encouraged by Tuesday's announcement.
Her national team coach, Jose Ignacio Hernandez, summed up the feelings of many when he tweeted: "CONGRATULATIONS to Alba Torrens for being named BEST PLAYER OF THE YEAR IN EUROPE. Certainly more than deserved. Not the last time."