Tuesday, July 17, 2012

VCU's Hurt bound for Israel

Courtney Hurt is back in the game.

VCU's all-time leading scorer and Division I's leading rebounder the last two years has signed with Elizur Netanya in Israel. Richmond's Abby Oliver will be one of her teammates. Former ODU guard Okeisha Howard was also on the roster last season.

Hurt will leave for Netanya, which is about 18 miles north of Tel Aviv, in late September. In addition to being a seaside city, Netanya is the home of paragliding in Israel. Hurt's season will begin on Oct. 15.

"I have never been overseas before, so I am very excited and blessed to have this opportunity," Hurt said. "I don't know much about Israel, but I know that Netanya is located on the Mediterranean Sea, so I will definitely be hanging out on the beach and exploring as much as I can. I've heard there is much to do in Israel, and it's an easy transition for an American, so that's a plus."

Currently Hurt is playing for the Ben Hill Women's Summer League in Atlanta and the Piney Grove Church League, which allows her to compete alongside Ebony Brown (Norfolk State), Kerri Gardin (Virginia Tech) and Quanneisha Perry (Hampton).

"If I'm not playing ball, I'm at LA Fitness, lifting weights or spending time with my family before I leave," Hurt said.

As for her brief time in the WNBA, it only made Hurt hungry. She was drafted in the third round by the Indiana Fever and cut on her fourth day of training camp. Jobs are scarce in the WNBA and almost unheard of in a league that cuts its first-round picks, but the quick release was jarring.

Hurt admits, "Playing in the WNBA was never a dream of mine growing up. I'm just being honest. After being drafted by the WNBA and being invited to the Indiana Fever training camp, it is now. Competing against Tamika Catchings and two experienced overseas players in Erlana Larkins and Jenna Smith for a power forward spot was no easy task. I knew making the team was a long shot, but I still came in with high hopes. When I was cut, I was upset, not entirely because I didn't make the team, but because I felt like I was getting better, and I didn't want to stop. How can you not get better going against the WNBA's MVP?! All in all, it was one of the best experiences in my life, and I hope to get another shot at the league in the future."

LadySwish is hopeful, too. For now, we're excited for Hurt and will keep you posted on her first overseas experience.

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