Marisa Vespa ’08 was the subject of a news report on WWTI, Newswatch 50, in Watertown, N.Y. as she prepared to leave for Copenhagan, Denmark to tryout in a European basketball league. Vespa set records with the Herons basketball team while a student.
According to the report, the coach of the team found Vespa’s highlight reel on YouTube and decided to get in touch with her.
“That led to an invitation to try out with the team for an unspecified period of time. Neilson told Vespa to get a round trip ticket good through May and to pack accordingly,” the report states.
It goes on to explain some of the differences Vespa will have to get used to in Denmark, such as the increased importance of her position (point guard) due to an eight second backcourt rule, and $10 a gallon gasoline.
According to WWTI, Vespa isn’t sure if she wants a prolonged career in Europe.
“I’ve spoken to some people that have played overseas and they’ve said you’ll know once you get there if it’s something you want to do for a year or pursue for more than that,” she said in the interview.
The full transcript follows.
WWTI – Newswatch 50
Vespa European-bound for b-ball
October 30, 2008
Former I.H.C. basketball star Marisa Vespa will be playing her next hoops in Copenhagen.
No, not that Copenhagen. Copenhagen, Denmark.
Vespa, who wrapped up a record-setting college career at William Smith College earlier this year, leaves Friday for a tryout in a European league.
The Denmark-based league has nine teams and plays regular season games and tournaments all the way into mid-May.
Ole John Neilson, coach of the Falcons, turned to the internet when he found himself lacking a point guard. He found the highlight reel Vespa had put on YouTube and began emailing her.
That led to an invitation to try out with the team for an unspecified period of time. Neilson told Vespa to get a round trip ticket good through May and to pack accordingly.
And, the coach won’t waste any time getting Vespa on the court. She’ll arrive in Copenhagen about 7:15 a.m. Saturday and is scheduled to practice with the team at 11 a.m.
The point guard position is a little more important in the Denmark league. There’s an eight second backcourt rule, meaning opportunity to create turnovers via backcourt defensive pressure.
Other adjustments Vespa must make include daily life in Denmark, where gas is about $10 a gallon. That means she’ll be doing her commuting on bicycle.
League rules allow two foreigners on each team – the only paid members of each club.
In her high school career, the 5′ 4″ Watertown native led I.H.C. to two state championships.
She followed that up with four years at William Smith College, setting the school’s single-season assist record earlier this year while leading the team in scoring. She also holds the school’s record for single-season three-point field goal percentage.
Among her honors are being named to the State Farm All-America team and being named the 2008 player of the year by the New York State Women’s Collegiate Athletic Association.
Vespa said she isn’t sure if she wants a prolonged career in Europe.
“I’ve spoken to some people that have played overseas and they’ve said you’ll know once you get there if it’s something you want to do for a year or pursue for more than that,” she said.
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