Thinking about the top talent in Europe, both in Women's and Men's Basketball, there are so many great players that have come out of European countries and reserved themselves a place in the history books of basketball that it can take you a very long time to recall all of them.
With the annual awards for the Players of the Year in four categories, some more chapters have been added to those books.
Especially the Young Player of the Year awards are always very fascinating to me, since they allow us to look into the future and see who will be the players to watch in years to come.
Just think of Rudy Fernandez or Sandrine Gruda, who carried home the Young Player of the Year trophies in the past and are now among the best players you can find on the planet.
|Nika Baric had plenty to cheer about last summer. Slovenia reached the U18 European Championship Women semi-finals and she was named the tournament MVP|
I can only wish Nika Baric and Jan Vesely the same.
Jan Vesely is already a star with Partizan Belgrade and with his talent and rapid improvement over the last years, the Czech Republic can be very happy to have such a great prospect. He has the potential to promote basketball in his home country and lead his team to glory in future years.
As for Nika Baric, I have seldom seen a player with a bigger heart than hers. While she might not be the tallest player, she is a fearless competitor with both natural talent and a great work ethic. I strongly believe that she can lead her national side into a bright future in women's basketball.
A team that has seen many bright moments is the Czech Republic Women's national team.
With the Women's Player of the Year, Hana Horakova, as their natural leader, they made the best of the opportunity of playing at home at the World Championship and captured the silver medal.
Now Hana Horakova is not a young player anymore and you would think that she might sit back and relax after everything she has achieved in her outstanding career.
|Milos Teodosic has already proven many times in his still young career that he's a born leader|
But she is doing the exact contrary. After coming home with an MVP trophy from the World Championship she left Brno, where she had played for ten years, winning a EuroLeague Women trophy, to chase another title with her new team Fenerbahce.
This is what I call a dedicated winner.
The same can be said about the Men's Player of the Year, Milos Teodosic.
A player that never seems to lose his cool, he seems to love those moments when a game is on the line.
We all know that Serbia has produced an immense amount of outstanding players such as Vlade Divac or Dejan Bodiroga, to name but two.
With Milos Teodosic this era continues and I am sure that this still young player will bring a lot of joy to fans from his country.
We have already seen an exciting Serbia team in the last EuroBasket and I am sure that they will be one of the contenders when the 24 best European teams gather in Lithuania for EuroBasket 2011.
Milos Teodosic is actually the best example of how well the development from young to top talent works in Europe.
With the introduction of the current youth competition system eight years ago, there is an equal chance for all young players to compete on the highest level every year and develop their skills in the best possible way.
If you look at how many players in their early twenties are already capable of leading a team both in club and national team competitions, it is the best proof that European Basketball is on a very good way.