France Celebrate Gruda The Great

12 February 2010

France are reliving one of the great moments in their basketball history following Friday's announcement that Sandrine Gruda has been voted as the FIBA Europe Women's Player of the Year.

Gruda, 22, who was the FIBA Europe Young Women's Player of the Year in 2006, led the French to the gold medal at last year's EuroBasket Women in Latvia.

"I am very happy for her," France coach Pierre Vincent said.

"Sandrine deserves this distinction. Last summer she was a major part of the France team that became the European champions in Riga.

"While it is always difficult to talk about individuals when discussing the success of a team, a team is nothing without its individuals.

"Sandrine Gruda wins at her club, and with the national team. She is no stranger to good results.

"It is therefore logical that she is now rewarded."

Gruda averaged more than 15 points and seven rebounds per game in Latvia.

She helped France avoid a near upset by Greece in the Quarter-Finals and led them to wins over Belarus in the Semi-Finals and defending champions Russia in the gold medal game.

At UMMC Ekaterinburg last season, Gruda celebrated a Russia Cup triumph and Superleague Women title.

She will lead the French later this year at the FIBA World Championship for Women in the Czech Republic.

Jean-Pierre De Vincenzi, the director of the national teams at the French Basketball Federation, said: "In leading the team of France as European champions last June in Riga, Sandrine Gruda showed on the court that she was one of the best players in Europe.

"Today, this distinction is well deserved and fair recognition of her great talent.

"It is also a very proud moment for the federation as a reward for the entire training and development sector and particularly the work of the center of Espoirs de Martinique (Martinique Hopes) led by Saint-Ange Vébobe."

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