August 19, 2013

Oosdyke signs contract to play professionally in Iceland



GREELEY – In the process of moving some belongings from Colorado back to her family's home in Southern California, former Northern Colorado women's basketball player Lauren Oosdyke misplaced her passport. She'll be needing that soon as she has recently signed a contract to play professionally in Iceland.

Oosdyke has spent the summer attending basketball combines and listening to agents, and it all culminated when she was offered a seven-month contract to play for a team based in Grindavik, a fishing town on the southwestern coast of Iceland.

"I'm very, very excited and very blessed to travel abroad and meet new people and experience a new culture," Oosdyke said. "It's something I've always wanted to do. I knew it was an opportunity I didn't want to pass up."

Oosdyke is planning a trip back to Colorado in the coming weeks to say goodbye to friends and former teammates before traveling to Iceland Sept. 3. Every indication Oosdyke has had so far points to a pretty easy transition to living in Iceland.

"I spoke to the coach on the phone a few days ago and he seems very nice, and he spoke English really well, which was something I was afraid of if there was any miscommunication in practice. I won't have to buy Rosetta Stone or anything," Oosdyke said with a laugh. "He also said they'll have me play inside and outside just like I did in college, so I can go be a post player and also go out and take a 3. So I was really excited to hear that."

This will not be Oosdyke's first foray in international basketball as she was also part of a 15-day, nine-game trip to China with the NetScouts Basketball USA All-Star Team in May. Some of her teammates from that tour will play for teams on Europe's mainland this winter, Oosdyke said.

UNC forward Amber Van Deudekom has put Oosdyke in contact with a friend she has playing soccer in Iceland, and Oosdyke said she has been very helpful in gathering information about her new home.

"She's said she's loved it and that it's pretty Americanized," Oosdyke explained. "There's a very high literacy rate, very little crime, and it's just beautiful. They also eat a lot of fish and lamb there, which will be very different from what I experienced in China. Grindavik is also close to the capital (Reykjavik), which has a lot of nightlife, shopping and restaurants."

For years, Oosdyke's father Bob could be seen sitting courtside at Butler-Hancock Sports Pavilion — and even at some road games — and Oosdyke said it will "definitely be weird to not have him there every game, but the way I see it, it's only a seven-hour flight from Denver, so it's not that bad. Hopefully my parents can come see a game and maybe my brother too depending on his basketball schedule."

The Grindavik team went 9-19 last season and finished in sixth place in the Dominos League, which has, by Oosdyke's estimation, about two Americans per team, some coming from colleges such as Iowa, Clemson and St. Bonaventure. The league will start play in October and have playoffs in April.

"My (UNC) teammates are all really excited for me, and I've talked to Coach (Jaime) White, Coach (Ryan) Johnson, Coach (Anna) Bateman and Coach (Dina) Piterniece and they're all proud of me and told me to represent UNC well," Oosdyke said.

Being that Oosdyke finished in the top five in school history in points (1,548), rebounds (763) and steals (183), representing the Bears well should come easily.