Returning Minnesota junior Palma Kaposi spent part of her summer competing in one of the world’s largest sporting events. She played for her home country of Hungary at the World University Games, or Universiade, in Taipei in August.
Kaposi averaged 17.8 points and 12.3 rebounds per game over the course of six contests. She tallied 23 points, 22 rebounds, four assists, three steals and one block without a turnover in Hungary’s win against Korea. She also had 23 points against Chinese Taipei, and 21 points and 11 rebounds in a win against Argentina.
Kaposi will begin school with her teammates next week. First, she took some time to reflect on her experience.
GopherSports: What does it mean to you to represent Hungary in international competition?
Palma Kaposi: It was a great feeling that I could represent my country, Hungary, at the World University Championships. I have been representing Hungary since I was 16 years old and it is a huge honor for me to play in my country’s colors.
GS: You had impressive stats during the Universiade. What was going well for you on the court? Is there anything you improved during summer practice (or last season) in Minnesota that helped you have a good Universiade?
PK: Thank you! I really enjoyed playing at the Universiade, it was a great experience and challenge for me. I think I did well being a good and supportive teammate to win games as a team. Personally I was focusing on rebounding, footwork and reading the game better. I think I was able to improve my game in these areas because individually I finished third in total rebounds, total points, points per game and fouls drawn in a game in the tournament.
I believe that I also improved mentally on how to read the game better. I was able to do well on both ends on the court in scoring and rebounding the ball to help my team. I believe that conditioning and individual practices during the summer helped me a lot to come out strong in these games. I learned how to play in a faster rhythm in the Big Ten Conference, I learned to use my strength under the basket and I improved my 3-point shooting as well. Last year and the summer practices definitely made a huge positive impact on my game.
GS: What was your favorite thing you got to do or see in Taipei outside of basketball?
PK: After the tournament ended we had a couple days to go and explore Taipei, Taiwan. We went to see one of the tallest buildings in the world, the Taipei 101. We went to the top of Taipei 101 and we saw the whole city. It only took us 37 seconds to get on the top. Taipei 101 had the fastest elevator from 2004 until 2015. The view reminded me of New York when I was on top of the One World Trade Center.
We took a trip to the National Palace Museum and to the Taipei Zoo where we saw pandas and koalas. However, my favorite part of the trip was when we went to the Pacific Ocean on the last day. The beach and the ocean were so fantastic. We were swimming and enjoying the 2-to-3-meter tall waves. It was a memory that I will never forget.
GS: Was Taipei like anywhere you have been before? How was Taipei different from anywhere you have been before?
PK: This was my first time in Asia and it was really different from Europe and from the United States as well. The weather, their culture, habits and gastronomy are differ from what I am use to. The weather was really hot and humid. Their culture is also really special such as their Buddhist temples and their beautifully decorated buildings. Their language sounds so difficult and their written letters seem so complicated. Their food was really special such as bawan, danzai noodle soup and octopus chips. Overall Taipei was a really nice city with full of great people. They were so helpful and nice to us and they always asked to take pictures with us because they really like basketball and tall people.
GS: What did you take away from the experience of the Universiade that you will remember most? How do you think your experience at the Universiade will help you with the upcoming school year and basketball season?
PK: There were 11,000 people from 141 countries from all around the world which makes Universiade the second biggest sporting event after the Olympics. It was definitely one of the greatest sports events I have been part of. I got to meet with a lot of people from different countries and learned from their game and culture.
I think the biggest think I took away from the Universiade is being confident in myself and being consistent. I believe that the Universiade was a great opportunity for me to improve my game and to focus on the things I have to work on such as footwork and rebounding. I believe that this tournament will help me a lot to come out strong and better in the upcoming season. All the things I saw and learned from the different teams will be very helpful for me to be better and better and work even harder every day. I’m really excited about the upcoming school year and I can’t wait to start the season in maroon and gold again!
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