June 18, 2010
Only a little over three in 100 girls who play high school basketball will have the opportunity to compete at the college level. Less than one in 100 collegiate female basketball players will get drafted by a WNBA team. Though it may seem as if these chances are slim to none, the UNM Women's Basketball team has produced several players who have gone on to play at the next level.
2009 graduate Angela Hartill spent the last year playing professionally for the German team, New Basket Oberhausen (NBO). Angela was the second leading scorer for her team with 12.7 points per season. NBO, located in the small town of Oberhausen, plays strictly within the country against other German teams.
"It was different but it was also fun. It's a fast, physical game so I definitely enjoyed it," says Angela. Adjusting to a new culture, language, and learning to drive a stick shift were all difficult obstacles to cope with, but the German chocolate helped sugar-coat Angela's experience. "I thought everything was pretty unique and I love the chocolate!"
Playing professionally has always been a dream of Angela's ever since she was little. When the opportunity presented itself, she had no other answer but yes. Her favorite thing about playing overseas is that she gets to keep playing.
"A lot of people after college, they're done and they jump into the real world. And playing pro, that is your job. I mean you get paid to play, to travel, you just get to do so many different things. It's kind of a crazy deal. It doesn't exactly feel real to me yet."
Even though Germany was where Angela began her professional basketball career, is it not where she will be returning next year. A promising offer from a team in Sweden seems like the place to find Angela for the upcoming season beginning in August. But as for years to come, that is all up in the air for now.
"If I just play one more year, I'll be happy. I just want to experience something else. I'm still young, I'm still healthy, and I feel like I don't want to over push my body too much because I still want to be somewhat healthy when I'm older. One more year, but we'll see what happens," says Angela.
Other former Lobos who have played professionally are Jordan Adams, Dionne Marsh, and Chelsea Grear. Jordan was a 2nd round, 18th overall WNBA draft pick for the Minnesota Lynx, and plays for the Canadian National Team. Dionne Marsh played in the WNBA for the Sacramento Monarchs through a free agent contract and also spent a year playing in Greece. Chelsea Grear has spent her last few years of professional basketball with the Meteors Basketball Club in Ireland and played for the Perik Jumpers of the Netherlands during the 2003-2004 season. The latest Lobo to travel to the other side of the Atlantic Ocean to play is Val Kast. She starts practicing with the Estonian National Team this coming weekend and is in the stages of sorting out her contract with a professional team. Check back on GoLobos.com later this summer for a link to follow Val's pro career.