MUNICH (Germany) – It’s not a secret by now: the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2023 European Qualifiers provide the perfect platform for players to announce themselves on the international stage.
We’ve picked out five intriguing players who could really elevate their status for their respective nations for the upcoming window either by making their first big splash or raising their games to the next level.
Birth date: January 3, 1997 (24 years old)
Height: 191cm / 6’3″
Club: ASVEL (France)
Okobo has already made a handful of appearances for the French senior national team and is back in the lineup for the upcoming window. The former Phoenix Suns guard returned home with ASVEL for the 2021-22 season and led the team in scoring in France’s top-flight and had a breakout season in EuroLeague. Still only 24, Okobo is an exciting talent with his best to come in a national team jersey with games against Hungary and Montenegro offering a chance to shine. He played three games in the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019 Qualifiers, averaging 3.7 points per game, but you can expect Okobo to take a much larger role this time around for Les Bleus.
Birth date: April 4, 2000 (22 years old)
Height: 200cm / 6’7″
Club: Joventut (ESP)
Parra has averaged 5.3 points in 17.4 minutes per game in the current campaign for Spain with minutes spread around the roster during their unbeaten start. The 2000-born forward has a chance to really establish himself in the squad in the run-up to EuroBasket later this summer having impressed domestically after being voted as the Best Young Player in Spain’s top flight with Joventut. With the Spanish powerhouse clubs keeping close tabs on the 22-year-old after a great season, Parra will also have the opportunity to push his national team status into a higher gear as well.
Birth date: June 19, 1998 (23 years old)
Height: 213cm / 7’0″
Club: Miami Heat (USA)
Yurtseven represented Turkey at senior level for the first time last summer after suiting up in the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament 2020 in Victoria, Canada. The 23-year-old averaged 5.3 points and 4.0 rebounds in 12.8 minutes per game and the center recently finished a rookie year with Miami Heat in the NBA. Yurtseven is joined by Cedi Osman and Furkan Korkmaz in the latest Turkey squad and offers a big presence in the frontcourt. After a tough start to the European Qualifiers campaign, Turkey need to rack up as many as wins as possible to put themselves in a better position ahead of the Second Round. The presence of Yurtseven inside the paint will surely help.
Birth date: January 8, 1999 (23 years old)
Height: 198cm / 6’6″
Club: Orlando Magic (USA)
Brazdeikis is in line for a debut with Lithuania after being included in their 15-man squad for the final window of the First Round. The 23-year-old previously represented Canada at international level, but had his Lithuanian citizenship restored to open the door for an introduction with the senior team. Brazdeikis made 42 appearances for Orlando Magic this past season in his third year in the NBA and makes for a potentially exciting addition. Adding another perimeter player to the mix will be particularly exciting for coach Kazys Maksvytis, who will use the June-July window as a testing ground ahead of EuroBasket in September.
Luka GARZA – Bosnia and Herzegovina
Birth date: December 23, 1998 (23 years old)
Height: 208cm / 6’10”
Club: Detroit Pistons (USA)
Garza showed glimpses of his potential during a rookie year with Detroit Pistons in the NBA and is now set for an international debut with Bosnia and Herzegovina after obtaining dual citizenship. The 23-year-old would add another imposing presence to Bosnia’s inside threat with an anticipated partnership with Jusuf Nurkic in the long-term. With qualification still to be decided, Garza could certainly make a difference in the upcoming window. In some ways, Bosnia and Herzegovina will have to prove themselves anew after parting ways with coach Vedran Bosnic, who enjoyed success at the helm of the national team, but perhaps Garza will be the one to offer some answers.