United States basketballer Courtney Williams has arrived in Ballarat with a driving ambition.
Like fellow Ballarat Skoda Rush import, former college teammate and friend Courtney Walker, she remains fixed on catching the attention of WNBA scouts.
Wiliams tried out with Minnesota Lynx and San Antonio Stars after her college days and would like nothing more than to get another chance.
Williams says playing around the world is the only way female basketballers outside the WNBA can keep their name to forefront post college careers.
She said with no female equivalent to the NBA Summer League in the US – something she says is well overdue – it was essential to play to make the most of opportunities in Europe and the likes of Australia.
Williams, 23, has played in the Netherlands and Spain, and is already looking to return to the Netherlands at the end of her first season with Ballarat in the South East Australian Basketball League.
Having not played since she was in the Netherlands in August, Williams has spent her break from the game freshening up mentally and working out to ensure she is in shape physically.
Williams believes divine intervention was behind her reuniting on the court with Walker.
“I believe it’s God. It was God’s will.”
She said it was great to back playing with a friend whom she trusted after having gone through many experiences with her.
While success on the court with Rush is her primary objective, she also has a bucket list of things she wants to do in Australia after extensive online research.
Williams said getting to the beach as often as possible was high on the list, as well as visiting the Great Barrier Reef, where she would like do some snorkling and deep sea diving.
And there is a desire to see as many native animals such as koalas, kangaroos and wombats up close – but not spiders!
Williams’ arrival means the full Rush squad will have more than a month together to prepare under new coach Eric Hayes before the start of the season.
Ballarat Rush and Miners begin their seasons in a double-header against Dandenong at the Minerdome on Friday, April 6.
Like Rush, the GMHBA Ballarat Miners also have all their three imports in town, but will have to wait until after Melbourne United completes its NBL finals campaign before Peter Hooley and Sam Short are available to join pre-season training.
Melbourne begins its semi-finals series against NZ Breakers on Saturday.