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Daniel Bordignon Barbieri (BRA) - 2013 FIBA U19 World Championship

PRAGUE (FIBA U19 World Championship) - Looking at the path Daniel Bordignon Barbieri is taking, chances are good that the young Brazilian will have a strong professional career - and most likely in Spain or the United States.

After all, Brazil's second-leading scorer and top rebounder at the 2013 FIBA U19 World Championship is following in the footsteps of many of his compatriots - moving from Brazil to Spain very early in their development.

The 2.03m power forward Barbieri left Toledo in southern Brazil near the Paraguay border in 2011 and joined Spanish EBA league club UPV Alava, which has a connection with Liga Endesa side Vitoria.

"Spain today is one of the best places to go if you are young," said the 17-year-old Barbieri, who averaged 9.7 points and 6.0 rebounds in the Preliminary Round in Prague.

The list of Brazilians to make the direct jump from the Americas to Iberia before Barbieri includes some big names in international basketball.

Senior Brazilian national team star center Tiago Splitter was just 15-years-old in 2000 when he left his homeland for the start of his career with Vitoria, which eventually brought him to the NBA's San Antonio Spurs.

That same year, Guilherme Giovannoni went to Fuenlabrada and Cleveland Cavaliers center Anderson Varejao would then arrive in Barcelona in 2001. He was followed by Marcelinho Huertas in 2004 at Joventut, Rafael Hettsheimer in Girona in 2005 and Rafael Freire at Unicaja 2007.

The next two big names to take on the adventure were Lucas Nogueira to Estudiantes in 2010 and Raul Neto to Lagun Guipuzcoa in 2011.

Barbieri was thrilled the first night of the U19 competition in Prague as both Nogueria and Neto were selected in the 2013 NBA Draft - Nogueira by the Boston Celtics at number 16 overall and traded to the Atlanta Hawks, who then chose Neto with their 47th pick in the second round.

The future Hawks teammates Nogueira and Neto both played for Brazil at the 2011 FIBA U19 World Championship and finished as their team's leading rebounder and scorer respectively.

"We looked at the draft and said we hope we can be there in a few years," said Barbieri.

"They both were here and did a good job in this championship a couple years ago. We want to have our own history and have a good championship."

Barbieri has already excelled in Spain just like his compatriots. He was named MVP of the Spanish U18 championship this past season.

Much of the credit goes to Inaki Iriarte, Vitoria's historical coach who works with big men, including Splitter.

"You can learn the game and that has helped me read the game better and get better technically. And my coach is great," said Barbieri.

The parallels between Splitter and one of Brazil’s top youngsters are growing - as is Barbieri's career path.


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