Courtney Vandersloot is in fastbreak mode, and she wouldn’t have it any other way.
The most-decorated basketball player in Gonzaga history just led her Turkish professional team to a national title. Now she’s back in American, but not for long.
After spending the next two weeks with the Chicago Sky of the WNBA, Vandersloot is off to Prague to play for the Hungarian national team in the European championships.
“It is pretty crazy,” Vandersloot said. “There are times when I question why I’m away from my family for so long.”
Half a second later, Vandersloot answers her own question: She loves the game too much to slow down.
“This is what I worked really hard for when I was younger,” said the 28-year-old Vandersloot, who’s played the game nonstop since her dad set up a hoop in the driveway back in Renton, Washington.
“Even though I’m busy, I don’t take anything for granted, and I’ve gotten to see the world and compete at the highest level,” said Vandersloot, a 5-foot-8 point guard who has overachieved at every stop.
Vandersloot made four all-West Coast Conference teams at GU from 2008-11 while leading the Zags to an Elite Eight appearance and becoming an All-American. She still follows the Zags, but admits, “it’s hard to watch them on TV when it’s 3 in the morning in Europe.”
In the spring of 2011, the Sky made her the third overall pick in the WNBA draft, but Vandersloot chose to play year round by signing later that year with the Besiktas team in Istanbul.
Last year, she signed with Turkish rival Near East University. Barely a week ago, she had 17 points and 14 assists in an MVP performance in the Turkish Cup title game.
“To win that league, that’s what I’m happiest about right now,” Vandersloot said.
Her biggest regret is not being able to make an early impact for Chicago, which is off to a 1-6 start under new coach Amber Stocks.
“When I get back, I’ll have a better feel for things,” Vandersloot said.
Meanwhile, Vandersloot is chasing another dream with the Hungarian national team. She recently obtained dual citizenship for the chance to play for coach Stefan Svitek.
“They were looking for a foreigner, and they thought I could help them,” Vandersloot said.