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One on One with Floor Toonders

One on One with Floor Toonders

It was already her fourth season at Orange Lions Academy, and she is still making a lot of progression. She became a youth international two years ago and awaits a very nice future in the United States: Floor Toonders!

Can you introduce yourself?

I am Floor Toonders, 17 years old. Right now I am playing my fourth season at Orange Lions Academy {OLA}. This year I will take the school exams, so next year I will take the next step to the United States. I am very exciting to look forward!

How did start playing basketball?

My father played basketball before, but torn his ACL back then so he was forced to quit playing. My parents found it very important that I would choose a sport to do. So I chose basketball, and so did my brother.

Where did your father and brother play basketball?

My father played in Eindhoven where he also grew up. After that he played in Wageningen at S.B.A. Sphinx, the Student Basketball Association in Wageningen. My brother played at Pluto Wageningen.

Where have you played before you came to the OLA?

I started at Pluto along with my brother, and from there I moved to OLA.

What kind of player are you?

I am pretty tall, so I often get placed as a center. I am not that large for a center, so I also play as a small forward. Especially last season we worked hard to drive more to the basket, because I used to shoot pretty much. So now we work on playing from beneath the basket.

Is there more you want to improve?

Taking the drive to the basket some more and making the shots off the dribble.

In 2016, you started OLA. This is your fourth season. You would you describe the past few seasons at OLA?

During my first year, I didn’t play any game in the first half of the season. I watch and also learned very much from my teammates Julia Jorritsma and Zoë Slagter on the same position. So that season was all about getting used to OLA, the game and living on my own. Next season 2017/2018 we had a lot of new players and we had two teams: the first ladies team and an under 20 team. U20 played not a pretty well season, but we had to form a new team with a lot of new players.

Last season was amazing! We won the Dutch Basketball Cup in the final seconds and became the national champion U20. Just wonderful, especially the Basketball Cup. This season 2019/2020 is a little different. We had strong players like Kiki Fleuren, Lotte Sant and Linda van Schaik. Right now, some other have to fill those spots. That takes quite some time, but they are doing a very good job!”

This shows that you made and passed a lot through with the years. How was it for you to be asked to join OLA?

I have to admit that I was pretty surprised. To be honest, I didn’t know what to expect. I thought I won’t play basketball all the way in Amsterdam on my own. The idea to practice early in the morning, going to school during afternoon and practicing in the evening didn’t sound unreal to me. I visited OLA before I joined, and I felt totally overwhelmed. I immediately said yes!

During every season, you play a lot of tournaments outside of The Netherlands. How is it to travel a lot of times?

It is pretty special. The European competition is a good way to gauge our level. It is a lot more physical and quicker than the Dutch competition. Sometimes it’s pretty difficult, because you also have to study during those days for school.

You officially became a youth international in 2018. How did you experience your first European Championship at U16?

Sometimes it felt quite unreal; just to get a taste of all those teams, the crouwd, the national anthem. Sometimes I am pretty nervous before the game, but after tip off I don’t actually think about that. I just get overwhelmed by seeing your tenue with your last name on it, so lovely!

How do you look back and last year’s U18 tournament?

We began very good. We won the first 4 games against Great Britain, Ukraine, Albania and Luxembourg during the Group Phase. Our last game of the Group Phase was against Sweden. Unfortunately we lost by 10 points, so we had to face Greece during the quarter finals. We got stuck on that game and against Denmark. Pretty too bad, because I really think we could have gone further that tournament. The team was pretty good with a lot of potential!

How have you become a better player since the moment you played for the Dutch team?

I think I am not that nervous anymore. I learned to play with a lot of different players and reading different set plays and systems. For what I can say is that I think I take more shots and being a threat in the offense.

For a young player, you passed a lot through honorable moments and special performances. How do you look back at that?

Last year I enjoyed any moment! Winning the Basketball Cup at the buzzer felt amazing! It is one of my most beautiful moments so far!

Almost every game, you end up with double digits on rebounding. Do you think that those rebounds was an important factor on those performances?

It could be. I want to take a lot of offensive boards so we can get second chance points out of it. I always want to go for the rebounds.

A lot of players from OLA got asked to describe a special moment during their career. A lot of them said your name and the threepointer you made against Dozy Den Helder to force overtime. Is that a special moment during your career too?

Now that you mention it, it definitely is! It was the first game of that season. I just received to ball and I thought let’s do this, and it went in. To be honest, I forgot about that buzzer beater.

Like you said, next season you will go to the United States to play for the Florida Gators. How do you look forward to it?

I feel pretty nervous. I think it is a very different level than here. I am very excited to it, because I know I will learn a lot of new ways of basketball. I visited the organization once.

Was playing in the United States your biggest dream?

Well, to be honest, last year I thought that I would still playing in Europe. I hesitated about playing in the United States or in Europe. After the European Championship U18 of last year, I got overwhelmed by different kinds of offers I received.

Where will you be after 5 years?

I hope to play somewhere in Spain, and playing for the national team.

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