Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Ex-JMU star Lauren Jimenez heads to Poland

A big shoutout to former James Madison standout Lauren Jimenez, the All-Colonial Athletic Association center who will be leaving in a few days to begin her professional basketball career with Artego Bydgoszcz in Poland.

"I'm so nervous, but so excited," Jimenez said in a Facebook message. "I've only been to Cancun with JMU's team. I'm working out every day, but I have no idea what it will be like."

We wanted to send Lauren a parting gift, but with our LadySwish budget, the only thing we could afford was advice. And since we don't know jack about Poland, we consulted an expert - Mel Thomas, former UConn star and author of "Heart of a Husky" who is currently the director of basketball operations for one of the best-kept secrets in Division I - Florida Gulf Coast (the 3-point shot-loving Eagles went 28-4 in 2010-11). Thomas' resume also includes a stint with Artego Bydgoszcz in 2009-10, and she was kind enough to offer five things Lauren should keep in mind as she prepares for her new gig:

1. It's COLD!! Make sure to bring a coat, hat, gloves and boots!

2. The style of basketball is much different. It's typically faster-paced and more physical. A "rip through" is often considered a travel, so beware! You'll probably pick up a "Euro step" in your time overseas as well.

3. I couldn't read the menu, so knowing the word "kurczak" (chicken) helped me not to starve my first couple of weeks.

4. Some useful phrases to know: Dzien dobry (good morning), Czesc (hi), Jak sie masz (How are you?), Przepraszam (Excuse me), Prosze (Please), Dziekuje (Thank you), nie (no) and tak (yes). Also, although I'm sure it was already apparent, Nie mowi po lolsku (I don't speak English) and Nie rozumiem (I don't understand) came out of my mouth quite frequently. These phrases won't help you accomplish much, but I said them at least five times a day! And just in case you find a Polish love, you should be able to express it - Kocham cie (smiley face).

5. The overseas life can be lonely, so try to make friends and get out as much as possible. Keep yourself busy and make the best of your experience!

Thanks, Mel. And good luck, Lauren!

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