Marie Malone dreamed of two things growing up: playing basketball and seeing the world.
Both dreams are coming true for the Virginia Beach native and Hofstra graduate, who will start her professional career when she leaves home for Denmark on Aug. 14. Malone has signed with defending Danish champion SISU. SISU finished 21-0 last season.
"I am so excited; I can't even explain it," says the 6-2 forward. "Ever since I started playing basketball, it was always my dream to play overseas. Even the WNBA players play over there. My other dream was to travel the world, so why not get two for one?"
The knee injuries that slowed her college career worried her, so, "I worked as hard as I could to get the chance." And she says with a huge smile. "I'm healthy now. Completely. ACL surgeries are no joke, especially two of them. I'm really in shape now."
Malone has never been overseas, although she's received reassuring advice from her former teammate Jess Fuller, a 2010 Pride graduate, named all-Danish League Defensive Player of the Year last season.
"She'll be close, so I'll have somebody there to hang out with," Malone says. "She's told me where I'm staying is a really nice city (Copenhagen), and everybody speaks English, so it's not that hard to adjust to. The food is a little different. They're really healthy over there!"
Since graduation, Malone has trained with former NBA and Norfolk State star Bobby Dandridge and is playing pickup regularly with the ODU Lady Monarchs.
Malone credits Hofstra coach Krista Kilburn-Steveskey for helping her find an overseas gig. She ultimately used the same agent as Hofstra's Candice Bellocchio.
"It worked out perfect," Malone says. "I'm looking forward to traveling, too, and seeing stuff during my down time."
Sweden and Germany are nearby countries, and Denmark has plenty of attractions of its own, including the Little Mermaid statue in Copenhagen (inspired by Hans Christian Anderson), Kronborg Castle (the setting for "Hamlet" and Lego Land, which includes a mini world made from Lego bricks.
|Little Mermaid statue|
College was already a cultural experience for Malone given how close Hofstra is to Manhattan, a place she would venture frequently.
"I loved SoHo and the fashion area," says Malone, a marketing major. "I loved seeing the fashion shows and going down there during Fashion Week."
Eventually Malone hopes to work in the fashion industry with marketing or merchandising. She also has her eye on design.
"When you're tall like me, you can't just go into a store and find clothes that fit -- especially jeans and pants," she says. "I'd like to design my own clothes."
Her basketball season, which begins in September and runs through April, will include EuroCup. She's going to soak it all in and is hopeful she'll match up against some of the game's best. The player she loves to watch? Candace Parker.
"When I was in high school I remember watching her play at Tennessee; I was a diehard Tennessee fan then," says Malone, a graduate of Virginia Beach's Kellam High. "I remember going to ODU when Tennessee was in the (NCAA) tournament. I got to meet her, too. I was at dinner for my junior prom and the team was there. I went over and told her I was a huge fan. The restaurant I was at had paper on the table, so I ripped off the paper and got her to sign."
LadySwish has no doubt Malone will be signing plenty of autographs in Denmark, too. She promises to keep us posted on her time in Denmark, and we'll keep you posted.