Danielle DeGagne is going to get a taste of international basketball this summer, and she thinks it might feel a little weird.
The 22-year-old Brandonite, who just finished her third season with the NCAA’s North Dakota State University Bison, has been selected to join the U.S.A. Athletes International basketball team that is leaving on Sunday to play five games in five different European cities. While the 5-foot-10 guard is excited for the trip, she thinks it will be strange wearing stars and stripes on her jersey instead of a maple leaf.
"It will be really weird, but it will fun," she said. "I think our jerseys will say ‘USA’ on them, but it will be fun either way. … I’d rather it be Canada, but it will be a good experience."
The trip will last 10 days, wrapping up on June 5, and the American team will play in London, Paris, Ostend, Belgium, and Nijmegen and Utrecht in the Netherlands.
DeGagne was recommended to the team by NDSU head coach Carolyn DeHoff, along with fellow Bisons Abby Plucker, Katie Birkel and Janae Burich. DeGagne jumped at the chance to play on the American squad and feels honoured to be selected.
"It was pretty nice," said DeGagne, who led the Bison with 10.2 points per game this past season. "It will be a good experience. … I think they have players from Division 1, 2 and 3. Pretty much anybody can get picked, but I’m very honoured and it will be a good experience."
This will be DeGagne’s first trip overseas. She’s excited to do some sightseeing and play some basketball.
She’s aware European basketball has different rules than what she’s spent the last three years playing in the NCAA, but DeGagne doesn’t think it will be too hard to adjust. After all, she’s familiar with that kind of game having played by those rules when she was in high school and a member of the Crocus Plainsmen.
"I’m interested to see how the basketball will be down there because it’s the same rules I played in high school," she said. "It’s different than the college basketball I play in the States. It will be fun to play back how I was in high school and see the competition and obviously some sightseeing with the Eiffel Tower and just the sightseeing will be really cool when we’re up there.
"It should be a really good experience. The basketball part will be really fun, but seeing a bunch of other countries and everything in Europe will be a lot of fun."