At the age of eight Gracie Roberts, born in New Zealand, started playing basketball. Both her parents played when they were younger, and her older sister played basketball as well, but quit a couple of years ago. It was something she wanted to get into. Gracie always loved to see her sister playing at young age. Right now the 27-year-old shooting guard can tell how it is to play basketball in different countries, especially in The Netherlands where she showed her amazing effort on the court!
Started playing basketball in her hometown
In New Zealand Gracie started to play basketball at school in her hometown Nelson. Her mom was coaching when she started playing basketball, and her best friend was playing in the team. “I have great memories about that, playing every Friday night in the little league,” Gracie remembers. “Later on, Nelson didn’t have a team, so I ended up playing in another region in New Zealand.”
Playing basketball in the United States
After playing basketball in New Zealand Gracie thought about starting a new adventure. That adventure started in the United States. “Once I graduated high school I went to the United States to North Idaho during my freshman year. It was completely new for me. You live far away from home, playing in a new environment and culture, so that is pretty intense. I am really glad that I continued on that journey, which wasn’t easy all the time. The training and schedule was a lot more intense than everything I did before. Then I went to the University of Detroit Mercy for two years and from there I finished my senior year at the University of Charleston in West Virginia. All of those years was like a big experience. You learn so much, and put myself in tough decisions. We helped each other a lot, and there were definitely amazing moments as well. It was a different level; times I won’t forget about anymore.”
A new adventure in The Netherlands
Lekdetec Bemmel won the basketball championship twice in The Netherlands. Gracie her new team in 2019, Lekdetec, wasn’t just a basketball team. Not only because of their earlier championship performances, but also about the group of players and staff Gracie met back then. “Those players and staff have a special place in my heart! It was an awesome group of players to play with, and such an amazing opportunity. The Netherlands in general is a great country, and I am so happy to spent four years over there! When covid-19 appears in 2020 I stayed there and continued playing in Bemmel. We had a pretty good team, so everything could be possible about how that season would end if there wasn’t covid. Those three years were great, it really was my home. It was really meant to be. I created deep friendships, and it felt amazing to come back on the court when we were allowed to play again!”
After three years playing in Bemmel, Gracie went to the other side of the country to play in Haarlem. There she would play for Triple ThreaT. “I thought that a little change was needed,” Gracie explains. “So the best opportunity for me was to go to Triple ThreaT in Haarlem, with Laki Lakner as our coach. I enjoyed it, because we had a pretty young team. We practiced in the morning, and three days in the evening as well. We did pretty well, and we definitely climbed the letter by reaching the semi-finals in the play-offs. The best-of-three play-off series against Lions was really exciting. The last game was an amazing home game.”
Back in New Zealand again
After four years playing in The Netherlands and four years in the United States, Gracie is back in her home country. Until last September she played for Southern Hoiho in her hometown Nelson. “This league didn’t exist eight years ago when I went to the US. It is a really good level, and we are raising the talented players who wants to grow further. It is so nice to be back in my home country and to be on the basketball court with players I played against when I was really young!”
What else could Gracie accomplish? She could be a great factor wherever she wants to play!