Sika Kone of Mali is the only player in African basketball who has a greater grasp of the two equations.
The 1.93m power forward/center is a combination of enthusiasm, focus, tenacity, and strength and she’s still a teen!.
The 19-year-old has developed into one of the finest, most significant players in the tournament after thriving at Spar Gran Canaria in Spain’s first division. At the Sydney FIBA Women’s Basketball World Cup in 2022, all of us will recognize this. Kone is among the players who have proved themselves extraordinary in the tournament.
Let’s look at how they did in youth events and how their physique and skill sets have changed over time. An interesting trip down memory lane that leaves you with high hopes for the future.
Kone among the Top-scorers for Mali
Mali thumped every opponent by an average of 41 points per game as Kone scored 13 points per game, grabbed 8.7 rebounds, and made 3.3 steals a game. Kone made headlines at the FIBA U19 Women’s World Cup in Hungary last year when she defeated Japan with 24 points and 19 rebounds in her debut game. She continued to record double-doubles throughout every match.
Kone typically wreaked problems in the paint and around the hoop. However, she was also skilled at making long jumps from mid-range and shots that were just inside the arc. Therefore, any team that thought that keeping Kone away from the hoop was the key still had to deal with a perimeter-scoring threat.
When a player like Kone switches from being a shooter to a playmaker, she becomes really dangerous on offense. In Debrecen, Kone found open teammates outside the paint and threw the ball to them.
Moving into the senior team
Kone’s performance against Tunisia in the opening game of the FIBA Women’s AfroBasket 2021 provided an answer to anyone who had any doubts about her ability to be as dominant for Mali. She finished with 14 points and 11 rebounds.
Kone collected passes, pivoted, and finished almost effortlessly in the low blocks, as opponent after opponent struggled to restrain her. Kone wasn’t a one-trick pony; in addition to scoring in transition and with put-backs after free throws.
Kone’s defensive strategy might best be characterized as ruthless. She was quick to recover deflected balls from teammates, intercepted passes, and used good footwork to cause errors and block shots when playing defense.
Kone dominated in the World Cup Qualifying Tournament
Kone averaged 16.7 points per game which also includes 10.3 rebounds and 2.3 steals. Kone’s dominance ranked second overall in the tournament. She was extremely impactful on defense in Belgrade.
Because Kone managed to be cooperative on offence, attempting to move the ball even shots were not available to make, and as a result, accumulating assists, it is obvious that she has gotten solid coaching. She earned two victories over Nigeria and China.