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Chasing American college b-ball dreams - PART 2

23 Apr 2024

Zoe Bedford, former Kingston Basketball Academy (KBA) athlete, secured her basketball scholarship in the United States in 2023. In this second part, we delve into her experiences playing in the US, her daily routine, & how she manages to balance basketball & studies.

In PART 1, Zoe discussed her mentors and coaches.

What is it like playing in the US? What are the main differences?

I think the pace of the games and athleticism are the biggest differences. The game is a lot quicker over here, especially in my team we like to push the pace and score in transition as much as possible. Overall, I think the girls are also way more athletic, faster, and stronger.


What is the most important habit or skill you believe young athletes should develop to have a chance of playing college basketball?

I think all young players should develop good shooting foundations and try to get extra shots up as much as possible. If you can become a good shooter, it will open other parts of your game. High-level shooting also improves your team’s overall spacing by stretching out the defence more.


What are some reasons you recommend others to play college basketball?

I think playing college basketball is a great opportunity to grow heaps as a basketball player and as a person too. Most rep teams back home only train twice a week, but in the US, we train as a team almost every day, as well as having team lifts, film sessions, individual workouts etc. It is a competitive training environment, and everyone pushes each other to get better.


There are so many resources available on a college campus too. The basketball court is less than a minute walk away from my apartment, so I can go on the shooting machine and get extra shots up whenever I like.


Off the court, moving away from home takes you outside of your comfort zone. I think you can grow heaps as a person when you are put into a new environment with new people as well. You develop such great bonds with your teammates because you go through so much together, it’s fun getting to live and train with your best friends every day.


What does your daily routine look like?

Most days, I wake up around 5.45am and get to the court at 6am to do an individual workout, which typically involves getting lots of shots up on the shooting machine.


Some mornings we have team lift at 9am, so I will lift and then get breakfast with my teammates. Usually, I will have a couple of classes throughout the day and then I get ready for team practise from 4-6pm.


On game days, we typically have a light team shooting session in the morning and then get be back on the court around 90 minutes before our game to get taped and lace up. Warm-ups start an hour before tip-off.

Do you have preferred pre-game, locker room, and post-game routines?

For our home games, I like to be the first one at the court, so that I have plenty of time to tape my ankles, stretch, and form-shoot before warm-ups start. I always listen to music before games too, one of my favourite pre-game songs is ‘The Climb’ by Miley Cyrus.


I don’t really have any locker room or post-game routines, but I like to watch film of the game the next day to see what I could have done better and make notes of these things.

What do you believe is the greatest challenge most basketball players will face on their journey to college basketball?

I would say one of the most challenging parts about getting to college in the US is balancing school and basketball. It’s important to make sure you are taking care of your academics so that you have more opportunities to play basketball and study in the US.

How do you balance basketball with other life responsibilities, and what advice would you give to young athletes in this regard?

I think the best way to balance basketball with school, work, or other commitments is to make sure you have clear goals of what you want to achieve. Then organise your time in a way that aligns with these goals. Once you have a schedule in place, it’s up to you to stay disciplined.


You should enjoy the process, especially basketball, so that you don’t get too burnt out. Basketball can be a great outlet from the stress of school or other commitments. Among all the hard work, make sure you create good relationships with your teammates and coaches, so you can enjoy your time together every day.

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