July 12, 2023
Top prospects to watch at 2023 FIBA U19 World Cup
A tournament for the stars of tomorrow begins Saturday
Across five FIBA U19 World Cup events from 2011 to 2019, 41 players would go on to become first-round draft picks in the WNBA – an average of 8.8 first-round picks coming from each tournament field.
This year, the next edition of the FIBA U19 World Cup will take place in Madrid, Spain with action beginning on Saturday, July 15.
The 2023 field will spotlight future WNBA All-Stars and eventual cornerstone pieces for respective national teams at the highest stage of international competition in the Olympics.
Let’s run through some of the top teams to qualify for the event, and notable prospects to know.
For the WNBA’s 27th season, save 27% on your subscription!
The WNBA playoffs are here, and our staff of writers is working hard to bring you everything you need to know about every team still in contention. Get started with a paid subscription, which helps support all of our writers, editors and photographers who work tirelessly to bring you this coverage, and save 27%!
Team USA has taken home a gold medal in nine of 14 events since the tournament’s inauguration in 1985 and has won each of the last two events – 2019 and 2021.
Team USA’s roster is headlined by 6-foot Ohio State sophomore wing Cotie McMahon, an explosive two-way force with superb size, strength, downhill creation, and defensive tools at 19 years old.
The 2023 Big 10 Freshman of the Year is the No. 6 prospect remaining in college basketball and the top 2026 draft-eligible prospect, according to The Next’s draft team.
Similarly to McMahon, there’s a lot to like about incoming Duke freshman Jadyn Donovan. The Washington, D.C. native is a consensus five-star recruit and ESPN’s HoopGurlz’ No. 3 prospect in the 2023 high school class.
Donovan is a long, athletic wing who can handle creation load in the open court, provide value as an opportunistic cutter, and has defensive versatility on par with Seattle Storm rookie Jordan Horston.
UCLA sophomore guard Kiki Rice, The Next’s No. 19 prospect in college basketball, will head Team USA at the point guard position. The 5’11 ball screen maestra understands how to use angles, set up drives and manipulate defenders to drive efficient offense.
For Rice, a few key areas of improvement to watch heading into her second collegiate season will be her progression as a 3-point shooter (21.7% as a freshman) and improved processing as a finisher (55.1%).
Other prospects to know: Hannah Hidalgo (Notre Dame, freshman, 5’6), Madison Booker (Texas, freshman, 6’1), Joyce Edwards (Uncommitted, top high school senior, 6’2), Grace VanSlooten (Oregon, sophomore, 6’3)
Add Locked on Women’s Basketball to your daily routine
Here at The Next, in addition to the 24/7/365 written content our staff provides, we also host the daily Locked on Women’s Basketball podcast. Join us Monday through Saturday each week as we discuss all things WNBA, collegiate basketball, basketball history and much more. Listen wherever you find podcasts or watch on YouTube.
Australia joins the USA as the only country to qualify for all 15 FIBA U19 events, though it has yet to win a gold medal since 1993.
The Aussies have a clear two-player tandem in the Adeline Lightnings’ Isobel Borlase, a 2024 draft-eligible sharpshooting wing, and emerging Southside Flyers rookie Nyadiew Puoch, a 6’3 forward and potential first-round pick in the 2024 draft.
The elevator pitch for Pouch, similar to Atlanta Dream rookie forward Laeticia Amihere, is a bet on unique athletic tools and defensive versatility.
Puoch was a major standout at Nike Hoop Summit in April, recording 16 points and four blocks on 83.3% shooting from the field against key members from Team USA’s U19 squad.
Other prospects to know: Saffron Shiels (Townsville, 2026 draft, 6’2)
As evidenced by the WNBA’s soldout preseason game in Toronto, women’s basketball is growing in Canada.
The Canadian U19 squad hasn’t reached the Gold Medal game in its 12 previous appearances in the tournament, but this is arguably their best roster to date.
In past events, notably the 2022 U17 World Cup, the Canadian team was led by Notre Dame freshman Cassandre Prosper who earned an All-Star Five spot from the tournament.
Prosper, still 18 years old, reclassified up to the 2022 recruiting class for the spring semester to join the Fighting Irish. The 6’2 forward is a fluid mover with tantalizing upside as a 2026 draft prospect.
The most talented player on Canada’s roster is without a doubt five-star Duke commit Toby Fournier, the No. 10 recruit in the 2024 class, according to ESPN.
Fournier is one of the most explosive athletes in the country with incredible coordination and vertical bounce as a finisher. She measured in at 6’1 with an impressive 6’5 wingspan at Nike Hoop Summit.
The IX’s Alyssa Thompson 21% Off Sale
At The IX, we deliver a newsletter to your inbox six days a week across six sports, with original reporting, analysis, interviews with newsmakers and links to work being done across the women’s sports media landscape. With so much going on in the world of soccer — between the World Cup and the ongoing NWSL regular season — subscribe now and save 21% for your first year. That’s 21% as in rising star and No. 21 for Angel City FC, Alyssa Thompson.
The host country, Spain sets sights on its first Gold Medal game appearance since 2011 and the team has the depth and undeniable talent to do so.
Spain is anchored by Awa Fam, a 6’4 post who is arguably the best frontcourt player in the field. She is an elite rim protector with skilled footwork on post-ups and the fluidity to execute sets as a pick-and-roll hub.
Fam was the youngest player to debut in a professional Spanish league (a record for men and women) at age 15 and is one of the best international prospects of this generation.
Rest of the Field
- France – Leila Lacan (Angers, 2024 draft eligible, 5’9)
- Italy – Matilde Villa* (Venezia, 2024 draft eligible, 5’8)
- status is TBD