Jolene Anderson was the most decorated athlete in Wisconsin womens basketball history. Her list of accomplishments is endless but she left Madison as the all-time scoring leader in either mens or womens basketball and was the Big Ten Player of the Year as a senior.
Anderson was drafted No. 23 overall by the Connecticut Sun in 2008 but after a short stint in the WNBA, she took her game overseas to play for Villeneuve dAscq in northern France. Villeneuve dAscq is part of the Ligue Feminine de BasketBall and finished third in the 14-team league. You can find out more about the league with this English Web site devoted to womens basketball in Europe. If youre curious to find out Andersons stats and can read French, click id=18001094203"> --> here .
Anderson just finished her first year with the team and she is back in Madison this summer. Read on to see what Anderson has been up to since her days as a Badger.
What brings you back to Madison
Im going to finish my degree in sociology this summer. I just have one class left for three credits. It will be nice to finally be done.
Whats it like being back in town
Its different. There are so many new buildings that have come up and some that are torn down. Its a lot different. I was kind of awe struck when I came back.
What did you miss the most about Madison
Just everything. I really missed my teammates, my coaches and just the whole city of Madison. Everybody was nice and supportive so its nice to come back to that. You realize that nothing has really changed that much. I still have a lot of friends in the area and I tried to keep in contact with most of my friends when I left.
What was it like to play in France
It was amazing and I loved every minute of it. Being 22-years-old and living overseas by yourself, it was kind of a life-changing atmosphere but it took a while to get adjusted to. It was a lot different basketball compared to the Big Ten but it was a dream come true to play professional basketball over in Europe and to get to visit so many different areas of Europe all for free, so you cant really complain!
What was the makeup of the team you played on
Youre only allowed two Americans on a team over there so I had another American teammate for the second half of the season, Lady Comfort from the University of Temple. For the first half of the year, I was the only American and that was different, but they treat you pretty well over there so you cant complain.
Was there a language barrier at all
It was kind of hard to get used to but I had a teammate, luckily, that studied in London for five years so she was kind of my translator and that worked out pretty well.
What were some of the differences between college and international basketball
Its kind of funny to say, but you could be playing against someone as old as your mom overseas. I think the oldest player in France is about 41 years old so just playing against them and realizing that its going to be tougher. Its a different style of basketball over there. Playing in the Big Ten prepared me the best for playing over there though.
What was the competition like
There were 14 teams in the French League that we played but we also played in the Euro League so we traveled to Italy, Hungary, the Czech Republic and Latvia. We were always playing against other Americans and former WNBA players so you go into a game knowing that youre going to get good competition that night and hopefully your team wins in the outcome.
What was your favorite place to travel to
Once you travel for a team, you really dont get to see that much. I love France overall as a whole but other than that Id have to probably go with Italy. Italy is just a beautiful country and a beautiful place to be so hopefully, someday Ill get some more time to go down there.
Are there a lot of American establishments in France, such as McDonalds
They have McDonalds, KFC and Subway, so Im pretty much at homebesides whats on TV, but youre going to get that in any foreign country. CNN is the only channel that comes on in English but you can always watch the news.
Whats your plan once the summer is over
Ill leave Aug. 14th to go back to France for another year with the team until May. Its just basketball, basketball, basketball for me.
If one of your Badger teammates was going to visit you in France and they only had a week, what are some things youd recommend they see in France
They would definitely need to go to Paris because you can see everything. If they came to France, Id probably send them down to Southern France to Nice, around there, its just beautiful. Its great to go there and just be on the water and its always sunny. If some of my teammates came over to France, of course they would have to come see me first and then whatever they do from there Id be more than happy to help them out with!