Following last year’s really successful end-of-season event we closed this historic season with a memorable night, too, in the festive environment of Novomatic Aréna, during which our team’s 2022/2023 roster was also announced!
Our remarkable collection of trophies was put on display this time as well, but the ones from the current season were the centerpieces of the stage in front of a huge LED wall, where the participants of each section were also seated.
The first people to appear in this event were Dalma Czukor and Alíz Varga, with whom the host of the evening, Mihály Major talked lightly about the path which began from them entering the first team’s locker room a couple of years ago, and today, they are crucial members of the team.
Our head coach Dávid Gáspár substituted our young titans on the stage, who gave our fans insight into the exciting world of professional video analysis on the stage, which for this part became a makeshift locker room. Through the material put together by Miklós Laczka we were able to experience the stations of the period from the Hungarian Cup Final to the Euroleague Women triumph, which involved a lot of work, troubles and sometimes the need to reaction or answeres to certain situations that came up.
After the break our two icons, Zsófia Fegyverneky and Jelena Brooks received a huge round of applause in the Diamond and Gold section. Gábor Lantos, the head of the sports column at Origo, who accompanied them during their international campaign chatted with them sometimes in a serious voice, while also adding delightful approaches. In Hungarian all the way through, of course, since Jeca thinks of our beloved town as her second home.
In the closing part our managing director Zoltán Török grabbed the microphone to share his personal feelings and thoughts about the constant development of over two decades, persistent and consistent work, the power of Sopron’s community, and the respect of traditions. As a part of the latter, honoring the memory of the mother club SVSE and our first championship title we will play the Hungarian league games in purple and white colors in the upcoming season.
Our club’s rich history also came to life on the LED wall. Our managing director also made a request standing in front of the mosaic of our 27 gold medal winning teams. We would like to place the poster of our Euroleague Women champion team in as many public places as possible. We await applications from restaurants, shops, ventures and ask for the cooperation and activity of our fans, too!
The jersey of Betti Határ also got a huge round of applause, which was held high by Zoltán Török.
In the end of the evening we arrived to the announcement of next season’s roster, before which our managing director thanked those leaving the club – Briann January, Gabby Williams, Nevena Jovanovic, Stefanie Dolson, Sára Varga – for everything that they had done for our club.
As for where we are headed now, Zoli said quoting archaeologist and publicist Balázs Nagy-Lackó: “those who say you have to stop when you reach the top must never have climbed a mountain.”
That sentence may as well be the key motto for the night, because the upcoming roster announcement was about everything but being satisfied with our success so far.
Let’s see the names.
The strategic signing of Courtney Vandersloot has already been announced. The point guard, who represented the colors of the Hungarian national team back in 2017 can guide our team towards our next goals together with our team captain Zsófi Fegyverneky.
The shooting guard position will be taken by an excellent defensive player. The 28-year-old Brittney Sykes is at the top of the list in terms of defensive efficiency in the WNBA with the Los Angeles Sparks, she was selected in the All-Defensive Team of the Year, and she finished second behind Sylvia Fowles in the vote for Defensive Player of the Year. After the American accolades she was voted the Defensive Player of the Year in the Australian league (WNBL) in 2021/2022.
Sticking to the traditions of the club Vivien Böröndy returns to her hometown. We can count on our former youth player in the shooting guard and point guard positions.
The small forward position will be taken by Alice Kunek, who also has an irish passport, and an alumn of the prestigious Australian sports school. The 31-year-old shooting guard gave us a hard time this season as the leader of Polish team Gdynia.
We can welcome a returner in the center position as well. The 195 centimeters tall Dragana Stankovic, who went all the way to the FINAL4 with ZVVZ USK Praha came to us back when she was only 18 years old, and thanks to her early years in Hungary, she will have domestic status.
The last arriving player is a center, who is only 22 years old, and despite her young age she has already been part of a lot of success, she is seen as the new Lauren Jackson in her home. The New Zealand born Eziyoda “Ezi” Magbegor, who has ancestors in Nigeria earned the MVP (Most Valuable Player) Award of the 2016 U17 World Championship. She celebrated a championship title in 2020 in the WNBA with the Seattle Storm, while in 2021 she made her debut in the Australian national team at the Tokyo Olympics with 20 points and 8 rebounds.
The evening ended with the traditional Q&A at the buffet with Zoltán Török and the most persistent fans.
The 2022-2023 roster of Sopron Basket
Courtney Vandersloot (HUN/USA) 1
Zsófia Fegyverneky 1-2
Vivien Böröndy 2-1
Brittney Sykes (USA) 2
Patrícia Kókai 2 (U20)
Alice Kunek (IRL/AUS) 3
Dalma Czukor 3
Zsuzsanna Sitku 4-3 (U20)
Alíz Varga 4
Jelena Brooks (domestic status/SRB) 4
Bernadett Határ 5
Ezi Magbegor (AUS) 5
Dragana Stankovic (domestic status/SRB) 5
Head coach: Dávid Gáspár
Assistant coach: Miklós Laczka
Mentor: Stevan Karadzic