Nettin' with Nneka: Hello from Poland!
I feel as though it has been forever since I last wrote to you all! Things have been moving fast for me since I “graduated” as a rookie this WNBA season. Many of you who are aware of the life of a professional female ball player know that though the WNBA season draws to a close, that doesn’t mean that we’re done for the year. Next up: overseas competition. For me, this is a very new experience and lifestyle. I must say, though, that I’m truly enjoying it.
I signed with CCC Polkowice in Poland. We play in both the Polish and the Euroleague. My schedule is usually two-a-days with 2 games a week from each league. My teammates, coaches, and the program couldn’t have been more welcoming. The competition is great, traveling is exciting, and I learned how to drive stick shift (scary!). Slowly but surely I am learning a little bit of Polish, but no promises when the conversation goes into full swing! Haha! Needless to say, my rookie year as an international athlete has been a blessing and I look forward to more experiences to come. J
While playing overseas, you really have a lot of time to yourself. I’ve started reading more novels, watching different TV shows, and keeping up with everything back home. One things is for sure, I love keeping up with college basketball! There are several great teams and talents scattered around the country this year and I look forward to seeing how everybody does.
- Brittney Griner, Odyssey Sims, and the Baylor Bears (defending national champions) will be great to follow this year seeing that they’ve almost returned their entire squad.
- My girl Sky Digg is leading the Irish this year with help from solid players like Natalie Achonwa and Kayla McBride.
- One can never leave out the Huskies! With great players like Bria Hartley, Stefanie Dolson, Kelly Faris, and Kaleena Lewis, they will be a tough contender yet again.
- As much as it pains me to admit (haha jk), the Cal Bears are definitely a team to look out for! Led by Brittany Boyd, an amazing young PG, I expect Cal to go far.
- The Duke Blue Devils are continuing with what should be another successful year with PC Chelsea Gray and sophomore Elizabeth Williams.
- Also representing the Pac-12, UCLA is returning a squad that should not be taken for granted. Jasmine Dixon, Markel Walker, and Alyssia Brewer, amongst others, have nothing to fear with the team they’re bringing this year.
- The Terps of Maryland also have nothing to prove with Alyssa Thomas and Lauren Mincy leading in the ACC this year.
- And last, but most certainly not least, my Stanford Cardinal are looking forward to another successful year. Chiney Ogwumike (not sure who she is lol) is ready to continue to lead this program with help from talents like Joslyn Tinkle and Amber Orrange.
I love keeping up with young women in college hoops not only because of their talent or teams, but also because I love tracking improvement. If you keep up with your favorite player, you study them and see things, or improvements, in their game that change. Great players don’t just do, they KEEP doing, which is what makes the game so beautiful because there is always more to learn. I remember when I was first being recruited I was in 8th grade and my first letter came from Kansas, the Jayhawks. At that point I worried about being able to compete collegiately, especially watching games on TV and feeling as if everybody was bigger, faster, and more talented. But, I made it a personal goal to work hard so I would be ready for the next level, and the next, and the next.
With this state of mind, things come easier being you’re more open-minded about learning more about yourself as a player, a teammate, a person. To this day, I know that for the next WNBA season, I have to work on my versatility a as a forward. I have to perfect my ball-handling skills and outside shooting. But that shouldn’t keep me from doing other things I do well. It is important to keep working on everything and adding more weapons to your game. I hope me words find you all well and that you all keep working hard, and most importantly, having fun. Always progress, never regress. Be your motivation.
Want to see what Nneka is up to? Make sure to FOLLOW her on Twitter at @Nnemkadi30.
For more information about AAU Girls Basketball, visit www.aaugirlsbasketball.org