Alumni Update: Liz Sherwood

Former Vanderbilt star Liz Sherwood will begin her professional basketball career this fall in Sweden. Before leaving Nashville, she talked with Whitney D. about her upcoming plans.

Former Vanderbilt star Liz Sherwood spent the summer in Nashville, working for the Conference Center on campus and rehabbing her knee following surgery to repair the injury she incurred during the 2007-08 basketball season.

Now that summer's over, she's looking forward to the next stage of her basketball life when she begins her professional basketball career in Europe next month. Before leaving Nashville, she talked with VandyMania's Whitney D. about the first stage of her professional career.

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VM: Liz, could you talk about the transition from being a college player to becoming a professional? What are the steps along the way?

Liz: Well, I found an agent after the season ended. I was talking to [former assistant coach] Stephanie Norman, and she recommended Eric Weisel. He's the same one as Jenni [Benningfield] and Ashley [Earley] had. He represents Carla, too.

Stephanie said, "Just talk to him, he'll answer your questions. There's no pressure to sign with him; he'll just really help you out." So I talked to him for a while. He was answering my questions, and I was like, "I don't know what more I would want, you seem like a nice guy, and I feel like you come highly recommended, so if you want to be my agent . . . " So that's how I got Eric.

Then the next thing that happened is that he tried to find a team for me to play on overseas. He talked to a lot of different people, then presented me with the options. He'd tell me "This is a good option," but when the Swedish team came around, he was like, "I really recommend this one." He had told me about it before and said, "I'm going to try to get you this contract, and if I get you this, then I would really recommend you taking it."

VM: What are the things that he saw as being favorable about it?

Liz: He recommends that the first time that you go overseas, you go somewere where you'll enjoy it because if you don't enjoy it, you'll never want to go back overseas again. It's a good team, and it'll be competitive and allow you to show people that you can play well professionally, and that will really help you for the future, as well as they're great people to work with. So he had nothing but great things to say about them. He's had other people that have gone to play on that team before. I didn't see any reason not to listen to advice; he knows a lot more than I do!

VM: What's the name of your team? Do you know anything about the city where you'll be playing?

Liz: It's Lulea Basket. The city is Lulea. I wikipediaed it. (Laughs). It's got 45,000 people. It's about 90 miles south of the Arctic Circle, so I'm going to have pretty much all dark. It's gonna to be pretty much dark all day the whole time I'm there.

VM: Anything special in your contract?

Liz: I'm kind of excited because it's really cold so I get a "winter outfit." That's what Eric keeps calling it. I guess that consists of a furry hat, a long parka, some snow pants and some "Ugg-like boots" as he says. I don't know how cold it will be when I first get there, but I think that sounds like the coolest thing, getting a "winter outfit." I love the snow.

VM: :When does training camp start?

Liz: Actually, they're starting right about now, but I can only be over there for six months. I don't know, taxes or visas, but there's some government reason why I can only be in Sweden for six months. They want me at the end of the season, so I'm not going over until late September so I can be there until the end. They called me for my "playing suit" size and my shoe size. I'm like, "Oh, my 'playing suit' - that's exciting." (Laughs)

VM: What about the language?

Liz: They speak English pretty well, so that's good. But I want to learn Swedish. My dad bought me a couple of books and CDs. Swedish is a Germanic language, and I took German and obviously English, which are both Germanic, so hopefully a lot of words are the same. It's more similar to German than it is English obviously, but I was looking at some of the words and a lot of it's similar. A lot of it's very different, though.

VM: You've known a number of people who have played professionally overseas. What have you learned from them?

Liz: I think I've learned that it's different from college. They talk more about that, not their own personal experiences. It's business-y and your teammates are there to work, It's not like they're here to go to school. It's more of a job-like atmosphere, so it's different. It IS a job. It's just different with people of all different ages and backgrounds. But most people I've talked to love it and say it's something that they think was a great experience. Even if they just did it once, they say, "I learned a lot about myself, and other countries and other people." It's just an experience you can't pass up.

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