When Elodie Godin reaches the twilight of her career she'll look at 2003 as the year she truly started to grow up.
Not only in terms of age, but also as a basketball player. The 18-year-old made a good start
|“||I want to become a leader of the French team but I know I will have to work very hard to achieve it||„|
"It has been an important year for me," the teenager told PA International.
"I have been doing very well this year and I have made some real progress."
There's no chance of Godin resting on her laurels and she's keen to go as far as she can this season with her club in European competition.
She's scoring better than seven points and hauling down more than eight rebounds a contest with Bourges in Europe. They have won seven of their first nine games and are again among the title contenders.
"There is not enough time to sit back and relax and I really hope we can go further in the EuroLeague and of course I am also hoping to get better with the French national team," she said.
|Godin has been pulling down 8 boards per game so far this season in the EuroLeague Women|
Her parents hail from the Gironde region near Bordeaux and that was where Godin took the first tentative steps towards what would eventually be a professional career.
"I started at the age of 10 with a little club called Sainte Eulalie," she explained.
"My brother had decided to do basketball so I just followed him there and that's when I got caught up with it all."
Godin played for three years with Sainte Eulalie before moving on to another local club called Tresses in the picturesque village of that name.
She spent two more years at Tresses but it became clear that her talent was such that it could be developed in one of France's nationwide sporting academies.
It was, therefore, at the age of 15 that Godin left Bordeaux for the Centre at Toulouse where she would combine basketball with her academic studies.
She says that it was tough to leave her family.
"Of course to become a boarder at the age of 15 did have its problems," admitted Godin.
"I missed my family a lot because that is an age when you really need your family.
"It took some time to adapt but eventually I got to grips with the situation and settled in and started to progress."
She began mixing with players of true international calibre and it was at this point that Godin realised she could make it as a professional basketball player.
"From 2000 I started to realise that I could do well and that it was not just a pastime," she said.
"I started to focus even more on my basketball and work at my game."
The next step was the famous INSEP academy in Paris where many of France's outstanding young sportsmen train while not neglecting their academic obligations.
From 2001-3 Godin was based in the capital and during that time she got well established in the national team of the younger age groups.
The highlight of her career as a junior was the 2002 World Championships for the under-20 age group in Croatia where Les Bleues came third.
"That was special," admitted the youngster.
This year has seen her swap the charms of the City of Light for the small central town of Bourges which has become synonymous with basketball.
The city is bathed in orange on game days, so intense is the love affair with the team.
"I have settled in very well at Bourges and the people are very friendly," she said.
"It is really a basketball town and people in Bourges are obsessed with basketball - it is the main thing to do on Wednesday and Saturday."
Things have moved so quickly that Godin admits she has had no time to reflect on the progress she has made this year.
Her call-up to the senior national team was something of a shock as well. Sh
|The 2003 European Championship was Godin's first experience of senior international basketball|
"At the beginning I was very surprised but then I thought to myself 'let's just see how it goes,'" Godin said.
"It has all happened so quickly and I have not really had too much time to think about it."
Godin played in eight games and averaged more than six points and four rebounds per contest.
"It was a great experience, but it would have been better if more people had come to the games," Godin said.
In stark contrast to her games with Bourges, attendances were lower for the European Championships.
Age hasn't been a barrier for Godin, who is mixing with players who are considerably older.
"Girls are a lot more mature than boys at this age and I adapted very well," she said.
"The elder players integrated us younger ones into the team very well and there are no barriers."
Far from being fazed by her sudden rise to prominence Godin is a believer in the Latin proverb "carpe diem" (seize the day) and hopes to reach the heights.
"I want to become a leader of the French team but I know I will have to work very hard to achieve it," said Godin.
"That means a lot of hard work and my other aim is to go as far as I can with Bourges."
Godin admits her obsession with basketball has sometimes been at the expense of her academic studies.
"I have been working on my baccalaureat and I am interested in studying marketing and sponsoring," she said.
"But I have found it difficult to concentrate on my studies because I am so focused on achieving what I want to achieve in basketball.
"With two games a week and all the training I can find very little time for outside interests," she said.
Godin admits her work ethic means she has little time for pursuits away from the basketball court.
"There are not very many interestes but I do occasionally get the chance to go to the cinema," she said.