NORTHRIDGE, Calif. ---
Forgive Violet Alama if she is in hurry. Having signed a professional basketball contract to play in Israel, she has to make sure she has everything in order before making the 6,000-mile hoops pilgrimage. That includes finishing up her degree, brushing up on her Jewish heritage and maybe having a moment to reflect on the accomplishment of a life-long journey.
A 6-1 forward from Honolulu, Alama will be playing basketball shortly for Elitzur Holon in the Israeli Female Basketball Premier League. Holon is a suburb of Israel's largest city, Tel Aviv.
While at CSUN, Alama was one of the most consistent forwards in school history. She appeared in a school record 121 games and averaged over seven points and five rebounds per game for her career.
She pulled down 692 rebounds over her four seasons, the fifth-most in school history. She also had 239 career free throws and 85 blocks. Following her junior season, Alama earned All-Big West Honorable mention honors and was named the league's Co-Sixth Woman of the Year.
The daughter of Barbara and Yale, Alama took a circuitous route to the professional circuit: her Jewish heritage. Born and raised in Washington DC, Barbara found love and paradise in the tropics with a 26-year Hawaii Army National Guard first sergeant.
With some of her mom's family residing in California, Alama has had increased exposure to Jewish customs and traditions since starting at CSUN. And when she finally arrives in Israel, she will be embarking on not only a personal achievement, but a family-wide celebration.
"My dad is extremely excited. This has always been a dream of his for me," Alama added. "My mom is really proud that I can be finally doing something that I love. She is finally excited that she could contribute to my athletic side in some part."
Alama becomes the second Matador in two years under head coach Jason Flowers to sign a professional contract following the expiration of their NCAA eligibility. Jasmine Erving, the school's second all-time leading scorer, just completed her first professional season in Greece.
Coach Flowers, who worked with Alama for the past three seasons, was happy to see her take the next step in her basketball career.
"I am extremely happy to see Violet get the opportunity to live out her dream of playing professional basketball," Flowers said. "I am particularly proud of her making the completion of her degree the priority before starting her career."
Having spent three seasons with Coach Flowers, Alama credits the Matador staff with her continued personal and professional development.
"I definitely attribute a lot of my success to the coaching staff, strength and conditioning coach Jeff Crelling and athletic trainer Sarah Lyons. I was somewhat difficult to get through to at first, but I am glad that they saw my potential and kept pushing me to work harder."
Still, all that basketball will take a backseat to education as Alama looks to complete her degree in kinesiology in the upcoming fall semester.
"Getting my degree is very important to me. The extra time also gives me time to create good habits in the lead-up to Israel, so that when I get there I can keep it up," said Alama.
Having never been outside of North America, Alama is understandably a little nervous about what professional basketball in a foreign country has to offer. Still, she is excited about the opportunity to further learn about her heritage and culture.
"I didn't really get to participate in my Jewish heritage growing up. When I got to California it expanded, but now to be heading to the holy land of my culture is thrilling," Alama concluded. "To experience it and get to learn it first hand is why I am excited to soak it all up."