Q&A: Regis Jesuit’s Fran Belibi talks winning gold at FIBA U16 Women’s Americas Championship

Q&A: Regis Jesuit’s Fran Belibi talks winning gold at FIBA U16 Women’s Americas Championship

Denver Post preps editor Kyle Newman caught up with Regis Jesuit star Fran Belibi to discuss her experience of winning the gold medal with the under-16 USA Basketball national team at the FIBA Women’s Americas Championship in Argentina this past weekend.

Belibi, who rose to national prominence after becoming the first girl to dunk in a Colorado high school game this past winter, averaged 4.8 points and 5.8 rebounds in the tournament. The U.S. defeated Canada, 91-46, in Sunday’s title game.

Q: What was your first experience with USA Basketball like?

A: There were a lot of great people on my team, and just a lot of great players in the tournament overall. To be part of this epic team with so many players striving for one goal — and so many star players being so unselfish so we could win gold — was an awesome opportunity.

Q: Did this team open your eyes to where you stand in terms of national talent?

A: Definitely — these are some of the top high school players in the country, and to be on the court with them proved I have a lot of work to do to get to where I ultimately want to be at. Playing with these girls makes me want to push myself even harder.

Q: What are some aspects of your game that this tournament proved you need to work on?

A: My shooting and my ballhandling definitely need more improvement, and I think I need to be a more versatile player. Those are all things I can definitely work on, and playing against elite competition like I did in Argentina will only keep making me better.

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Q: What are your basketball plans for the rest of the summer?

A: The plan is to just keep balling out. I’m going to play in a bunch of tournaments with the Mile High Magic this summer, and I’m just going to try and keep getting better and making sure I stay focused on putting team goals first.

Q: And are you feeling good about Regis Jesuit’s chances at making a push for the Class 5A title next season after a Final Four run last season?

A: Absolutely. We’re already trying to get that team chemistry going on and off the court, so that when the winter comes, we’ll be prepared to win state.

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