UDINE/CIVIDALE DEL FRIULI - Russian sensation Maria Vadeeva has already missed the deadline to dunk agreed as part of a bet with her brother several years ago. That's not to say she won't be looking to impress her sibling or add to her burgeoning reputation by trying something at the FIBA U19 Women's Basketball World Cup 2017.
"When I was just 12-years-old, I had a bet with him that before I turned 18, I would make a dunk in a game," explained the center. "It meant that he would have to buy me a car if I did it and if I didn’t do it, then I would have to buy him one."
Vadeeva celebrated her 19th birthday last week and, with her brother still waiting for his gift, they entered into a new pact.
"We have decided we will build a house for my grandmother together instead," revealed Vadeeva, with the long-standing bet now flushed away.
While her brother technically won by not seeing his sister dunk, he can be proud of her accomplishments. She has earned a money-spinning contract with Dynamo Kursk, where she was crowned a EuroLeague Women champion last season. She has also quickly morphed into the best young player anywhere in the women's game - or that is the belief of many observers.
Now I not only have a second U19 tournament to call upon - but also two FIBA EuroBasket Women Final Round appearances as well. All of these things give me the experience to be able to do well in this competition.
Certainly Vadeeva's performances so far at the FIBA U19 Women's Basketball World Cup 2017 have gone a long way to proving that notion. She amassed 13 points and 15 rebounds in a crushing 77-58 win against Spain on Sunday as Russia chase down another podium place after reaching the Final two years ago.
Of course Vadeeva is already used to the Spanish basketball mentality by way of her club coach, Lucas Mondelo, one of the most respected and successful coaches in the game.
"We knew it was going to be a tough game and we had in our minds how important it was that we did our best to perform," she said after her team defeated the Spaniards. "We are very familiar with Spanish teams from past games and tournaments - they always have tough defense and they know what is required to win.
"I really like Mondelo as a coach and especially the way that he trusts me - even though I am still a young player. Of course here in Udine we are facing a different Spanish coach with some different ideas."
Compared to two years ago when Vadeeva was already the star of the Russia U19 team, she now finds herself having elevated her profile skywards outside of her homeland.
"When I played in 2015, it was the first time for me and a very new experience to play at the World level - it gave me new test as a player," she mused. "Now I not only have a second U19 tournament to call upon - but also two FIBA EuroBasket Women Final Round appearances as well. All of these things give me the experience to be able to do well in this competition.
"At the moment I am feeling like a leader and for sure in the past, I have played with older players, but on this team I am one of the most experienced so it is a change of role. I have to use these advantages to make the most of the situation. I have to try and make sure we all stay concentrated."
"The most important games are still waiting for us," she stressed. "In 2015 we had second place, but it is obvious that every player wants to go for gold and we will do our best to make this happen.
"Of course two years ago, we had great support from the fans and our families and this time we don't have this. It is normally easier to play at home and so this time, we must work even harder if we want to show our best," added Vadeeva.
Russia conclude the first phase of the competition with a match-up against Puerto Rico on Tuesday and will be expected to finish top of their group with a 3-0 record.