May 9, 2012
Minnesota women's basketball head coach Pam Borton announced Wednesday that Amanda Zahui B., a 6-foot-5 center from Stockholm, Sweden, signed a National Letter of Intent to play for the Gophers next season.
"Amanda will bring a tremendous amount to our program," Borton said. "She is a very skilled, versatile and athletic player. She is a great rebounder and scorer around the rim and that is something that we need in our program. She is a presence in the paint and we are looking for Amanda to be a dominate force and make an immediate impact. There isn't a more important position to complement one of the best point guards in the country, like Rachel Banham, than a very talented center."
Zahui B. will bring size, strength, versatility, athleticism and experience to the Gophers' roster in 2012-13, as she has proven to be one of the best players in Sweden. She has been an integral member of Sweden's national team for the past six years and also plays in the Swedish League with her club team, Telge Basket, made up of the best talent in the country.
"I am really excited to join the team at Minnesota," Zahui B. said. "I really liked how everyone, from the coaching staff to the players, took care of me while I was there. It was really important to me to feel like I was going to be a part of a family and I feel really good about becoming a Gopher. Playing collegiate basketball in the United States is going to be something completely different for me, but I am looking forward to it."
Zahui B. becomes the fourth member of Minnesota's 2012 recruiting class, joining a trio of local standouts in Mikayla Bailey (Maple Grove, Minn.), Jackie Johnson (Eden Prairie, Minn.) and Shayne Mullaney (Eden Prairie, Minn.), who signed with the Gophers in November.
"The signing of Amanda elevates our 2012 recruiting class from a good one to a great one. Obviously, for us to sign a blue-chip player like Amanda really puts an exclamation point on this year's class," Borton said. "Not only is she a great player, but she is also a great person, and she comes from an unbelievable family where she has immense support from her mother, Annso, her father, Alex, and her brother, Aaron. We have gotten to know her family extremely well during the recruiting process and we feel like they are all a part of the Gopher family."
Zahui B. Family - Aaron, Alex, Annso and Amanda
Her parents are just as excited for their daughter to join the Minnesota women's basketball family.
"It feels so great to have Amanda become a Golden Gopher," her mother Annso said. "If you would have asked me as a mother, when she chose to go to the states and chose to go to college there, I recommended from the beginning to do it with Pam Borton and Minnesota. There was no doubt about that. We are so happy now."
"I have no problem with Amanda being so far from home," her father Alex stated. "Pam Borton opened her heart to Amanda and our family. So, for me, it is a really nice choice for her because I know she will be taken care of."
Set to graduate from Igelstavikens Gymnasium this spring, Zahui B. was honored as her team's Center of the Year for the second-consecutive season in 2012, after having been named the squad's Rookie of the Year in 2009.
Zahui B. burst onto the international scene in 2007 when she averaged a double-double (12.4 points and 12.1 rebounds) at the U16 European Championship as a 13-year-old. She played in the U16 Euros two more summers, before advancing to the U18 level in 2010 as a 16-year-old.
In her first season at the 18U Euros, she averaged 15.8 points, 9.7 rebounds, 1.6 assists and 1.7 blocks per game, before going on to post averages of 15.2 points and 8.1 rebounds per game to lead Sweden to the semifinals in 2011.
While playing for the national team, Zahui B. was selected to play in nine all-star games, including six different times during the Young Swedish Championships, where she was a two-time MVP, and three times during the Nordic Championship, where she earned MVP honors in 2011.
Most recently, Zahui B. led Telge Basket to its second-straight Swedish League Championship with an undefeated playoff record. The center averaged 16.7 points, 14.0 rebounds, 2.7 steals and 1.3 blocks per game against Northland in the three-game championship series, after having posted averages of 15.3 points and 9.3 rebounds in the semifinal sweep versus Sallen.
On the season, Zahui B. averaged 15.4 points, 11.3 rebounds and 1.3 blocks per game over 22 contests, while shooting a team-best .597 from the field.
She also competed with Telge Basket at the FIBA Eurocup Women in late 2011. In six games played, Zahui B. posted four double-doubles, which included a career-best 31-point, 18-rebound performance vs. the Lotto Young Cats, while averaging 18.7 points and 12.2 rebounds per game during the event.
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