FIBA EUROPE AWARDS
|Emma Meesseman with the U18 European Championship Women MVP trophy|
Emma Meesseman of Belgium is the FIBA Europe Young Women's Player of the Year for 2011.
The 19-year-old center was the winner of the experts' vote with 194 points* to edge Queralt Casas of Spain, who won the fans' vote, in a very close contest.
The 2010 winner, Nika Baric of Slovenia, came in third.
The charismatic Meesseman had a dream summer with the national team. She 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 had already made her mark on the international scene with the senior national team, averaging 7.7 points and 4.5 rebounds per contest in 10 EuroBasket Women Division A games.
Playing -and excelling- against senior players was nothing new to her at this point, since as an 18-year-old she had an excellent season at club level with the Lotto Young Cats in EuroCup Women 2010-2011, with 15.8 points and 8.4 rebounds per game.
"Emma Meesseman was the natural leader of this summer's surprise package, the very talented, hugely enthusiastic Belgian team that earned the gold medal at the U18 European Championship Women," commented FIBA Europe President Olafur Rafnsson.
"It is this gift of leadership, the ability to step up and take over when your team needs you the most, that I personally admire and perhaps makes her stand out in a generation of extremely talented players in Belgian basketball," Mr Rafnsson added.
"In sport, few things come by chance. Meesseman's success today is the outcome of years of hard work on her part and some fantastic work in development in Belgium," said FIBA Europe Secretary General Nar Zanolin upon hearing the news.
"I am convinced that if she keeps working in the same way, this award will prove just the beginning of a long and highly successful career," Mr Zanolin concluded.
FIBA Europe will announce the Women's Player of the Year for 2011 on Tuesday 7 February and the winners in the Men's and Young Men's categories next week.
FIBA EUROPE 2011 YOUNG WOMEN'S PLAYER OF THE YEAR VOTING RESULTS
*Six points awarded to the first-choice player in every ballot, three points to the second choice and two points to the third.