NORTHRIDGE, Calif. ---
Former Cal State Northridge women’s basketball player Jasmine Erving is headed back to Europe.
A 6-2 post player from Huntington Beach and the Matadors’ second all-time leading scorer, Erving spent the past year playing in Athens, Greece. All she did there was win the league’s Most Valuable Player, averaging 20.5 points, 11.2 rebounds, 2.0 steals and 1.9 blocks per game for her team, Ikaros Halkidas.
But this is a new year and that means a new location for Erving to take her game to, Poland. Specifically, Szcecin, the country’s seventh-largest city and a major seaport off the Baltic Sea. And while the prospects of heading to a new country with a different language and a different team may frighten some, the outgoing Erving welcomes the opportunity ahead of her.
“I don’t know much about Poland, but I am excited about living in a new country. While it can be a little nerve wracking because I don’t know what to expect, I had an easy transition in Greece and I love meeting new people,” Erving said.
New to the historically imposing landscape of Greece and its culture, Erving wasted little time assimilating herself on the court. She flourished despite some changes in coaching throughout the season and embraced the more physical style of play the European game offers.
“I think personally it was a great experience. Playing in Greece was an ideal situation in my first season playing overseas. Athens has a few other basketball teams and there were many Americans around,” Erving added. “The style of basketball is different as is the philosophy. For post players, you can be more physical on the block than they allow back home and once I adjusted to that, I was able to excel.”
Her abilities and skills led her teammates to rely heavily on her. But for Erving, playing with those high expectations was something she encountered in her two seasons playing for Jason Flowers at CSUN.
“I was the only foreign player on my team and a lot was expected of me,” Erving said. “Fortunately, I was used to playing and competing at a high level because of my work with Coach Jason Flowers.”
Now it’s off to Szczecin to play for King Wilki Morskie Szczecin where the competition and play is expected to ramp up.
“I switched agencies recently and they thought this would be a good fit for me. They felt it would work well and I am all for trying new things, meeting new teammates and living in new countries,” she added.
Moving into Northern Europe may also offer Erving a greater chance to traverse the continent. Part of her contract gives her a car and she’s heard a lot of nice things about Berlin, which is roughly two hours away.
Sightseeing may also include her mom, Kelly, who is considering taking the voyage to see her daughter compete professionally. Social media has helped the two stay in communication despite the sizable distance between them.
“My mom has always been very supportive of me. Whether it’s email, instant messaging or skype, we always manage to stay in touch,” Erving added.
Not that it’s all vacation for Erving. There is work to be done and basketball to be played. And while she’ll get a week off in Christmas, she’s leaving for Poland shortly until some time next spring.
“I am starting out fresh, just like in Greece. But that’s exciting for me. I am looking forward to meeting my new teammates and continuing my basketball career.”