The Croatian youth international Lana Bešlić had always played for KAZL Split, until last season. This year she went to the United States to play basketball in Hudson, Ohio. It will be a new but exciting experience for the 18-year-old international of Croatia. Last summer she made it with the under 18 team of Croatia all the way to win the gold medal. Photo: FIBA Europe
Basketball in the eyes of Lana: facing a lot of challenges
Lana is a very competitive player. Her skills and her passion make beautiful things happen on the court. “My aunt played basketball when I was little,” Lana remembers. “I visited her games a lot of times, and I wanted to be like her. That is where it all started. I have loved the sport since I was a child. I love the team spirit, being happy after the win and you go through a lot. It is about facing a lot of challenges, but getting stronger every time! I never lost the passion for basketball, nor my ambitions I have for the sport.”
Everything can happen on the court when Lana enters. She can be a great playmaker, a great score and a lot more than that. “I like to go for the rebound as well. Though I am a guard, and for that a playmaker by giving some assists, I like to fight for every possibility to get the ball. I played pretty well in Croatia, but here in the US I work on my physical opportunities and getting a lot stronger.”
Having a great time in Split
At the age of 14 Lana played her first senior game with KAZL Split on top level. It was a really close game, which they won with two points differential. “I had a total of 17 points during that game, so that was amazing for the first time. It was something I always wanted to do, and I wasn’t quite scared at all! My team mates and coach believed in me.
Last year we ended on the third place. It was like the best spot of Split. We had a very young team, and there were also two playing of the national team. It was a great season, because we all have grown a lot as well.”
A whole new opportunity: playing basketball in the United States
This season Lana is about to start something new in her career. She left Croatia, and will play basketball in Hudson. “Basketball in America is really different compared with basketball in Europe. I Europe it is all about skills, while in America they look at how strong you are and how your body develops. That will be the difference. I know that this, basketball in America, is a big chance for me, and I really want to prove myself to everyone!”
We are very curious how she will do it. Probably great, because of the talent she has and has shown during her time as an international.
Winning the gold medal
Talking about being an international, Lana plays for the national youth team of Croatia. Last summer was something she will never forget. “Before the first practice our coach came to us and was really sure that we will going to win the gold medal. We played as winners, and I loved it! It was my fifth year that I played for the national team. I can’t imagine playing basketball without playing for the national team of Croatia. It is really great to play with them. With under 18 we really played like a team. Everyone did what they had to do: scoring, creating a nice offense, defense really well. That brought us to the gold medal, and it was a summer I will never forget!”
Photos: FIBA Europe