By Paul Nilsen
|Kourtney Treffers recorded a near double-double for the Netherlands last summer at the U16 European Championship Women|
It's already been a landmark summer for exciting Netherlands prospect Kourtney Treffers.
After tearing it up for the last couple of years at the U16 European Championship, she won't only compete at U18 level this year but has also been given the green light to jump up even higher and step out at the U20 European Championship in Novi Sad.
While that in itself would be reason to celebrate, it pales into insignificance compared to the moment when EuroLeague Women side Rivas Ecopolis recognised her potential and recently decided to offer the youngster a deal to play in Madrid next season.
Not surprisingly Treffers was thrilled and could barely believe it when the transaction was confirmed.
"To be asked at this age is amazing to me. It's like a dream come true."
"I am sure about Rivas are going to help make me a better basketball player by playing regularly with all those great basketball players and I hardly the words to describe how excited I am."
Ever since pulling on a Netherlands vest it has been nothing but an upward curve for Treffers. She already has great memories of her last couple of tournaments with the U16 team and can't wait to get to Serbia to test herself.
"There are not many girls of my age that get selected for the under-20 National Team. I expect to get a lot of experience during this summer and even if I don't play much in Novi Sad, it's still a wonderful moment and I know I will learn a lot from the other girls."
"Last year was a wonderful summer for me since I was one of the girls with the most experience. So I think that I carried the team and we did a really good job."
"We finished really high and I think this really surprised a lot of people. It was really nice to play against Spain and to win - that's something me and my team were really proud of."
Picking up a basketball was perhaps inevitable for Treffers taking into account the love of the sport she encountered at home.
"I chose to play basketball because my whole family played basketball. I was only five years old when I had my first real practice and that was the moment I fell in love with basketball.
"My first years were at the club nearest my home, JBC. When I got older it was time for me to look for a more serious club, that's when I went to Den Helder."
"Quincy, my brother was for me like a role model when I was young, at this point he still is. At this point, the people in my life include many players."
When it comes to developing into a player with such obvious potential, Treffers puts much of this down to the basketball education she has received at club level - something which can only improve when she heads for Spain.
Part of that education has involved working with senior National Team players and she is quick to recognise just how important that has been for her development so far.
"While Lebron James is an inspiration as a beast of the NBA, I look up to Leonie and Laura Kooij. They have been a great help in my career because they've been through so much and have a lot of experience in basketball. I want to have such a career as them."
For now though, Treffers is just trying to maintain her focus and continue her basketball education since there is plenty of work still to be done.
"I always think in a really competitive way and I always want to win - I do whatever it takes. Before each game, I play the offences and defence over and over in my head."
"My biggest strength is my athletic body. It's an advantage that I can move that fast in the game. Also my power to jump is important since I am not exactly the tallest in my position on the floor."
"However I really want to improve my right hand and this is something I will work on along with my transition from offence to defence which I know I need to do a whole lot better."