Former Shark goes pro in Germany

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By Nafeesa Connolly
Staff Writer

Of the 400,000 NCAA student-athletes in Division I, II, and III, the NCAA.org reports less than 18 percent of them have the opportunity to play professional sports post-college, including a less than one percent opportunity for women’s basketball players.
Elizabeth “Liz” O’Connor, ‘13, was fortunate to fall in that .9 percent.
O’Connor, a Marketing major and Communications and Business Management minor, finished with the Sharks fourth on the college’s All-Time Career Points list with 1,043, averaging 9.6 points per game. After the season, O’Connor knew there was more to her basketball career post Simmons.
“I Googled agencies and emailed about twenty different ones,” she said. O’Connor’s current agent, Iska Waterloh, emailed her back immediately. After sending Waterloh game footage, O’Connor signed with Waterloh’s agency for a shot at the pros.
She spent her summer training with the New England Thunder, a semi-pro team out of Brockton, Mass., playing pick-up with men twice a week, and working out at Visionary Basketball Group in Medford, Mass.
“I am so blessed to have this opportunity to continue my basketball career,” said O’Connor, who said goodbye to her friends and family last week to begin her journey with the BG Bonn Meckenheim in Meckenheim, Germany.
The team had their season opener on Saturday, which O’Connor played all but two minutes and finished with 15 points. Despite her coach speaking in German, O’Connor said her teammates translate in English for her.
“I like [the] team a lot so far,” she said, “This is a league I can definitely succeed and play well in.” She hopes to eventually move up to a higher division.
In the meantime, she is looking forward to experiencing the German life and culture, and meeting new people.
O’Connor is also coaching a youth 10- to 11-year-old boys’ team and a 12- to 13-year-old girls’ team during her time overseas.
With the season ending in March, O’Connor isn’t quite sure how long she will play in Germany.
“I plan to take it one step at a time,” she said. “I definitely want to work in the sports industry whether it is for a team or a company.”