MY EXPERIENCE 2011/2012

Vontisha Woods Malta D1 

 This country has great tourist attractions as far as beaches and views. The prices of food were very reasonable. My housing was great. The food here is different from what I'm used to but I adjusted well. I tried to cook as much as possible. As far as basketball goes I did not like it. The refereeing was horrible. They barely filmed the girls games which makes it hard to obtain film. The conditions in the gym were terrible. I found this country very racist, which surprises me because they're used to having tourists. 

Robin Murphy: my experince in malta D1

 

Club-related

 

President, Wise President, Manager
(e.g. general behaviour / communication / support / shown reliability )

Club Luxol showed reliability and returned emails at a considerable rate. The support from the Club was more helpful  when winning than losing.

 

Admin
(e.g. payment in time? contract fulfilled? bonus?  housing, general support)

My contract was fulfilled to its entirety. I also received my bonus. My housing arrangements met my contract details minus not having a separate room for me and my roommate, as we stayed 5 months together in the same room with no personal privacy. I did receive all of my payments each month however none of which were on time.

Coach
(e.g. practice - / game - / general behaviour / support)

Coaching was much better and attentive then I could have imagined. Coaching exceeded many experiences i have heard from other players playing in Europe.

Team
(e.g. integration of foreigners, culture, interaction)

The team was kosher and cared about the foreigners. Their caring and helping hands really made my first experience in Europe playing basketball In Malta worth the while off the court.

Facilities


The facilities could have been more updated however they were not much of a problem. Practice gym hindered our preparation for games because the court was not regulation size. However, the Game gym was much better and did not affect performance. We always had fans in the stands, which is a big deal for womens basketball world-wide!

Equipment


I was given all of the proper equipment to match the team. Uniforms ect were top branded (Nike) and met my expectations.

Additional remarks / Development recommended:

 

 

Non-club related

 

MBA
(e.g. organisation / short term achievements / motivation / youth development / facilities)


The MBA is a respectable organization. As all other organizations, there is much room for growth. Growth including Senior level development and enhancing facilities. In my opinion,  excellence begins with development of the youth. Developing the youth will  dramatically increase the caliber of the individual  Maltese athlete on later levels.

MBR (referees)
a) general behaviour
b) rules violation
c) fouls
e) communication / game control

Referees behavior overall was tolerable. Yes, there were bad calls just as much as their were good calls. The referees showed character and morality on court and overall kept the games in control. The language barriers between foreigners and officials did not cause a problem.

Press / TV review
(e.g. “3-pointer”)

The exploitation of Malta basketball via television and Internet seamed to be informative and updated regularly.

Malta
(people, culture, leisure, ryan’s pub J )


Malta in is entirety is a beautiful Island. The natives were helpful in aiding foreigners to get around by bus or foot. The culture is very conservative and everyone is “close knitted”, giving a secure feeling. There is also a massive amount of history embedded in Malta, giving many places to site see and expand your knowledge. In Malta there are many views of the island and the sea surrounding it is crisp and simply divine! This island will probably be  one of the most relaxing, natural  places I will go to, to play professional basketball.

Additional remarks / Development recommended:

 

 

I thoroughly enjoyed my time In Malta, and playing basketball. There needs to be major gradual improvements in the competition and caliber of basketball played and players playing. This was a great start for me. I am truly blessed and thankful for this experience, now  I am ready to see what European basketball is all about in my near future.

 

A player about Romania:

And thank you for allowing me to share my experience with you. I am going to warn you ahead of time because it is pretty lengthy but I am straight forward with everything. To be honest I always thought that playing professional basketball would be an extreme enjoyment for me and an opportunity to display my hard work but being here made it very difficult to do any of those things. When I received the contract to join the team,  I knew that it was small money but I did not care because I loved the fact that I was getting an opportunity to play and live out my dream. When I arrived here it was truly a cultural shock for me because everything was different from what I was use to but I soon adapted and learned how to work with the negatives and stay focus with the job at hand. The club as a whole is not well organized; I have yet to meet the owner, president or anyone else besides the head coach and the assistant coach. The assistant coach only comes when he wants so I would only see him at games and maybe 2 practices a week. The head coach paid us our salary so I never met a manager and whenever I was hurt or sick he would tell the girls to help me or just send me to the pharmacy to people who hardly spoke English. Also because the coach never introduced us to a manager or owner I could not report things that were not upheld in my contract for instance the transportation situation, no cooking appliances, no phone, times when there was not internet or water, not having towels to take showers with, all of these things that I had to end up paying for and I was not suppose to do. The transportation itself was about 100 U.S. dollars a month and purchasing my own phone and towels added up to extra expenses that came from my salary, not to mention the times he was late for more then 2 weeks on payment in January and February. The practice facilities were substandard, we would run on a track that had rocks and trash all on it, the gym had no heat or air conditioning, so in the summer it was extremely hot and in the winter we practiced with 3 shirts a jacket/hoodie, gloves, and long pants, it was to cold! The bathroom and shower areas did not work and was very unsanitary. Inside the gym there were several birds living and flying around and defecating all on the court and their nests would fall on us during practice. I could go on and on but I will stop there talking about the gym. Practices were really easy and most of the time coach did not pay attention because he was on the phone so the girls basically ran the practice. The team itself was not really motivated. The number osuggest no one ever play here. This environment is not professional at all. I am not saying do not come to this country but NEVER play for this team because if you are not tough you will not be able to survive here and would f local players was larger then the foreign players and it was always a division between us. It was bad because whenever the coach got mad he would not speak in English only in their language so we had to depend on them to tell us what he was saying and how could we know if they were telling the truth or not. This happened on several occasions the one that stands out the most is when he told the girls to let the other team score because he bet on the game. We later found out that he bet on several games. But the coach had such control over the girls that it was horrible to see them interacting daily. He would intentionally try to make them cry and call them names and threaten not to pay their salary, which he also did to us. He was very verbally abusive, don’t get me wrong I have played under many coaches that yelled or were what you would call a firm disciplinary but never under anyone who took pleasure out of making fun of you and not helping you to get better. Like I mentioned earlier in practice he was there physically but mentally he was not. It seemed like his only purposefor being there was to try to hurt someone by saying mean things, never did he explain what we could improve on or motivate us to be better players, it was just do as I say or you won’t play. The housing situation was not the best. And I say this because I have seen some of the other girl’s apartments that play in this country and they are really nice. The other American on our team lived with three people including the male assistant coach which seemed really odd to us knowing that he had a previous affair with a player from last year’s team who is now his girlfriend. In my apartment I lived with only two other people. As you know we went many times without the internet, a time for 2 weeks and another time for 3 and a half weeks. We also did not have hot water and sometimes no water. Just this past week we did not have hot water for 15 days. The apartment is very small with no stove or oven to cook with and we only recieved a microwave after 2 months of begging the coach, which he did not buy but took from the other American’s apartment. There are 2 bathrooms with one shower and very small rooms, for example in my room all I had space for was barely a twin bed and a desk. Everything in the apartment the young lady who had been on the team for 5 years had bought so she was always saying everything was hers. We had a tiny refrigerator that was hers, tvs in only 2 rooms  that belonged to her, the rugs, basically everything and she held it over our heads. Anything that went wrong in the apartment we would tell coach and he would just brush us off and say to us to talk with the local girls instead of trying to fix. We lived on the outside of the city and it is about a 10 minute drive to the gym which translates into a nearly 40 minute walk. The city itself is not very good. The people are not friendly and because I was of a different race they would always stare, touch me, or talk about me but I was able to deal with that. There is absolutely nothing to do here. No movie theatre, mall, small shopping centers, bowling, nothing and that also made the days long and hard. The transportation to games was really bad. We had a bus that can hold 16 people so as a team of 10 in addition to 3 junior players, 2 coaches and sometimes his friend, it was very crowded and uncomfortable. People would always get sick because the driver was CRAZY and the roads here are really bad. The bus broke down at least 4 times this year and it also did not have heat or air conditioning so everyone was constantly getting sick especially in the winter when it was freezing. But that is just a broad view of how I was living these last 8 months, the league itself is decent. There is a big separation between the good teams and the bad teams. When I speak with girls who have played else where they say that it is an easy league but with this being my first year I have nothing to compare it to. As a player here I would NEVER come back here and would think that every team is like this when of course it is not.  I would still love to play somewhere else I will not allow this one bad experience to ruin my dream of being one of the best players in women’s basketball.

 

Mara Hjelle, USA  2011-12  Finland, Team HyPo, moved up with her team

 

When I first started my overseas experience I was weary about how I would be able to adjust and cope with the new lifestyle.  However, it only took the first week for me to feel welcomed and comfortable in my new setting.  Even though I did not know anyone here, or how to go about every day tasks, I made instant friends with my teammates and coaches.  I am very satisfied with my decision to play overseas as I was not only able to continue to play competitive basketball, but I made new friends and had some great memories along the way.  I don't regret my decision to play overseas as the experience was a once in a lifetime opportunity.  I am very thankful to my agent Iska Waterloh for helping me along the way and my coach here in Finland.
Thanks again, seriously for everything!!!

Hi, I am Katie Snodgrass: 
 as far as Iceland goes, it had its plus and minuses. I really enjoyed my time there and the people were great. I felt like I could trust everyone in our club which isn't always the case. If I ever needed anything I never felt bad about asking or worried what they would say because they were also as helpful as they could be. Even though we lost in the first round so i went home March 22nd they went ahead and paid me for the full month, which was really nice and they didn't have to do that. They also paid and set up a reservation for me to stay in a hotel on my trip home because I had to stay overnight in boston, which was also really nice and I didn't expect it. As far as the level of play, I would say that it was between the 1st and 2nd div in Germany. The competition throughout the season was really good. Every team was very close to each other. I think we lost at least 7 games by less than 5 points and went into overtime 3 times. So every game was difficult and I had to bring my best game every game for us to have a chance to win which was much more fun than the 2nd div in Germany last year where we won most games by 20 or more points. Every team can only have 1 american and the quality of americans was really good. I might have been the only one who didn't play Div. 1 college basketball. The think that I was suprised about though was their rate of getting rid of foreign players and getting new players in. I've never seen a country, men's and women's teams that sent home so many players. Even though the level is not as high as the top league in germany they expect alot from their foreign players. They expect the player to come in and not only be a leader but also to score alot of points and get alot of rebounds. They were not satisfied with players who came in and only scored in the low teen numbers. So, as nice as everyone was they were a little bit cut throat when it came to the level they expect the foreign players to play. I enjoyed that responsiblity though and I think that I played one of my best seasons. I was really consistent and I was able to play at a high level every game.,
 
So overall I really liked Iceland. The bad part about there was that I was the only foreigner on my team and all of my teammates where either in school or had a job so I spent ALOT of time by myself. So in that sense I liked Germany better because I always had someone to hang out with during the day, someone to go to the gym with and workout with. And also you feel so isolated in iceland because you really can't go anywhere when you have an off weekend. It's so small and far away from everyone. But it was neat because I got to know all the other foreigners that where playing in Iceland and we hung out when our schedules allowed us to.
 
I would recommend Iceland but you would have to send players that are ok with being a little bit isolated and are mature enough to handle the responsibility of carrying the team in almost all areas of the game. You can't be a role player. Hope this helps and let me know if you need anything else from me. Thanks

My name is Morgan Robertson. I am from the United States and graduated from LaSalle University (Philadelphia, PA) in May 2010. Upon the conclusion of my last season of basketball at LaSalle, I was undecided on whether or not I wanted to pursue basketball professionally. It was not until the end of July 2010 that I decided I wanted to play basketball, I then began contacting any and every agency I could find information on. Slammers Agency was recommended to me from a fellow LaSalle Explorer who had played professionally with the help of Iska. Even with it being late in the summer, Iska was quick to help and offer her agency to represent me. Signing with Slammers Agency was the best decision I have made for my basketball career.  Iska had me signing a contract to play within a month of me contacting her. I would definitely recommend Slammers Agency to any player that is looking to extend their basketball career professionally. Iska is a hard worker and is always quick to respond to my questions/concerns. Iska and the Slammers Agency have a personal relationship with their players; whether it be following your season or answering your questions that may come up, Iska and her agency will continue to stay in contact with you throughout the season.

My name is Katarina Lackner, I am from the United States, and graduated from the University of Pennsylvania (NCAA Div I) in May 2009. I started my first season in Spain, Division II. The league is a good level of play, and we had one or two practices each day of the week. Everything is handled fairly professionally, except that we did not get paid on time. Many of the girls on my team left for this reason. We also did not have a full time trainer on staff.

I moved to Germany in November of my first season, to a Division I team. The league here is a very good level of play, and we have two practices a day during the week. Here things are handled very professionally. Payment is always on time, we have good healthcare coverage, and a full time trainer. Most of the team is made up of full- time professional players, which is not always the case elsewhere. 

Iska was incredibly helpful during my transition from Spain to Germany. She explained everything about the team in Germany, and handled the paperwork very efficiently. I think the best part about the Slammers agency is the prompt and complete responses you get to any questions you might have. Iska works very hard for her players to make sure they get the best placement. Not just a contract, but also a good situation and a good fit for you. 

Amanda Davidson about Germany 2006-2007 and 2007-2008   I am in my second season in Germany.  It is great.  It does take a lot of dedication and hard work, but it is all worth it.  You get to see the world and get to play basketball at the same time.  The league is very intense and there is a lot of good talent.  My first season overseas was hard, just being away from my family and friends.  After a few months though you get use to the routine and it is great.  I have never had any problems since being overseas.  The team, the coaches, the fans, and the basketball has been great.  Usually you get a lot of support around the club you play for and at the same time if you love to play you will have no problem with being overseas.  It is a great experience and if you have the opportunity it is worth it.  The biggest thing is to just keep fighting and never give less then 100% while you are on the court cause you are brought to make an impact.


Mireille Karangwa about Portugal 2006-07
well where I played, it´s  a smal city were everybody is nice. There is a nice mixt of young and old peopel. It close to one of the bigess city in portugal 1hrs by metro (Porto). Regarding the organisation they are verry nice, every payement was on time, they took care of me very well. But the healt care here is difrente then what I´m use to in Canada! Like physio. treatement?? Most of the girls in the team can speak english and the coach too!!! But learning the language made my life very much easier!!

Abby Schrader about Australia:
Im really enjoying myself here. Ball is great and there is such a great community involvement here that it made it easy to adjust. Plus it is alot more competitive which is really nice.