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Exclusive Interview: Brittany Starling talks Playing Pro Ball in Germany and more.

USC Upstate graduate Brittany Starling talks playing pro basketball in Germany

March 14, 2018 - 4:37 pm

Author: Brandon Golden

I recently had the chance to speak with USC Upstate graduate Brittany Starling, who now plays pro basketball in the Belgium-Euro Millions league in Germany. Sumter native Starling has been playing in Germany for two years for the Kangoeroes in Belgium Division 1. This season Starling is helping her team stay afloat averaging 14.7 points and 8.9 rebounds; ranking her at No. 3 in the league in rebounds. It is no surprise that Starling is a force to be reckoned with; she also had an outstanding college career.

Starling is the first player in USC Upstate history and 10th player in A-Sun history to collect 1,000 points and rebounds. Starling was also named A-Sun named player of the week three times in her last season at Upstate. She was also the first player to earn First Team All-Conference and All-Academic in the schools program. Sterling finished her college career with 1,120 rebounds (all time leader) and 1,533 points (4th all-time).

 

Can you remember the moment you first fell in love with basketball? 

I can’t tell you exactly when I fell in love with basketball, but it’s been apart of my life since I was about 9. And I honestly didn’t get serious about it until I signed to play in college. 

When did you recognize that you had what it takes to go to the next level? 

I’d say I recognized I had what it takes to be a pro around my junior year of college. The closer I got to making history, the more I realized I could probably do it.

Take us back to the day you found out you would be going overseas to start your professional basketball career in Belgium. What were the next steps in the process leading up to you getting on a plane to go join your team? 

The next steps in the process leading to me playing overseas, other than being in top shape, was putting things in perspective mentally. Understanding what I was about to do, and creating new goals for my future. I was terrified though I’ll admit.

What’s a normal day at practice like playing for the Kangoeroes? 

With my team I have a little more downtime than others might. I’m usually always visiting other cities sometime during the day. Usually I do weights in the mornings, twice a week I have an extra hour of shooting in the afternoon, and then practices in the evenings. 

Do you plan on one day returning to the U.S. to compete in the WNBA? 

Of course I plan on playing in the WNBA, but understanding the business of it I know I need to expand my game a little more. In due time it’ll happen.

How do you feel about college athletes being forced to play at least one year in college before being able to go pro? 

The one and done rule usually applies for male athletes, not necessarily women. But I believe we should get rid of it. I’m all for people getting their degrees and education, but college isn’t for everyone. Typically for the athletes coming out after 1 year, they just did the bare minimum to stay eligible. Then they left after one year anyway. Instead of risking their projections that year, they might as well go play and make money if they’re able.

Based off of your knowledge of how the NBA and WNBA are both ran in general; Can you describe any major differences between the NBA and the European League that you’ve noticed since you’ve been pro? 

The main difference I see between pro basketball in the states and overseas is its much slower over here. You have to put the ball down first before you attack. There’s a lot more screens being set too. But the game is a lot more physical here. You can get away with more fouls (not the Americans). And as Americans we usually don’t get the foul calls for us unless it’s a hard one. That gets tough and frustrating.

Based off my research, you’re averaging 14.7 points, 8.9 rebounds per game; you’re also leading the league in rebounds. How does it feel to be doing so well and performing at a high level?

It feels great competing at a high level early in my career. I know what I’m capable of, but I also have a lot of work I still need to do.

Who were some of you’re early influences who motivated you to play basketball? 

I didn’t have a lot of influencers that motivated me to play. A lot of my motivation just came from me wanting to be better than people. I played with a lot of guys growing up and I always found myself competing against them. My dad used to shoot with me too and I’d compete with him. I didn’t even like the sport that much I just wanted to beat everyone else. But as I got older I started watching clips of players like Michael Jordan and Magic Johnson. And then came Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce & Maya Moore.

What advice would you give to a college athlete who wants to go pro after school? 

For someone wanting to go pro, you can’t just think because you score a lot that it’s going to be easy. Everyone at this level can score, so you have to stand out. Something about your game has to make you stand out a little more. Stay focused and put the work in. You may not be the quickest or the strongest, but you can definitely be the hardest worker.

 

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