Abby Bauleke has started studying at the University of Alabama. The 19-year-old won gold with Team USA at the U25 World Championships in Suphan Buri, Thailand last year. Rollt.’s Dylan Cummings spoke with her to find out how she’s been settling into Alabama.
Why did you choose study and play at Alabama?
“I chose Alabama because I have always loved the school and the basketball program since I started coming to the summer camps when I was 14.”
What made you choose Alabama over the other university programs in the States?
“All the schools are great and have so much to offer, but with Alabama I had a feeling it was my home right from the beginning. For both basketball and academics, they had everything I was looking for, and I felt part of a family before I even got here.”
How do you intend to fit into the team?
“I want to do whatever is necessary to help the team be the best it can be by being successful both on and off the court.”
What does it mean to you to be able to play for Alabama next season?
“It means so much because it’s been something, I’ve been dreaming of for so many years and now it’s finally happening.”
What will challenge you in the intercollegiate league?
“In juniors, I knew most of the people on each team we played so I knew what I was expecting. For college, it will take a while to get used to playing alongside and against different players from different countries and finding out what their strengths are on court.”
How different do you think the intercollegiate league will be compared to the junior league?
“I’m used to playing with and against mostly boys so that will be for sure very different in college. I also think the classification system is more balanced throughout teams in college because of the rule of 14 points, which is different than juniors.”
How do you think the styles of play will differ between the Timber Wolves and Alabama?
“The game itself has a higher pace in college so learning how to adjust to that speed will be different.”
What goals do you want to achieve at Alabama?
“I want to develop great relationships with my teammates on and off the court and learn from all their skills. I also want to use those skills and relationships to win a National Championship together.”
How do you think the culture in Alabama differ from the culture in Minnesota?
“The culture is mostly the same. Minnesota Nice and Southern Hospitality is a real thing. Everyone’s been so nice, and it makes me feel at home.”
What do you miss the most about Minnesota when you’re in Alabama?
“Definitely my family.”
How would you describe your style of play?
“I’m a class 1.5 so I love setting picks, seals and getting other people open, I also love playing defence.”
Has anyone specifically influenced you to play the way you do?
“I’ve grown up watching many different low-point women play, my main influence being USA’s Darlene Hunter. I’ve put many of their different skills together to create my own style of play today.”
What piece of advice has stuck with you throughout your career?
“Fundamentals are the key to basketball, the Timber Wolves always taught us that if you can master the fundamentals then you can extremely successful. I also learned that mistakes happen no matter what and it’s better to learn from them than dwell on them.”
If you could do a training session with three other players from anywhere in the world male or female to improve your skills, which players would you choose and why?
“Patrick Anderson from Canada as well as Becca Murray and Rose Hollermann from the USA. They are the best players in the world, and I’ve learned so much from just watching them already let alone doing a training session with them.”
Thanks for your time Abby!
Rollt. would like to thank Abby Bauleke for the interview!
Abby Bauleke Profile
Date of Birth: 31/07/2001 (aged 19)
Hometown: Savage, Minnesota
Started playing: 2012
Disability: Diagnosed with leukaemia and then was paralysed from chemotherapy complications when she was five years old.
Current Club: University of Alabama, USA (2020-Present)
Former Clubs: Junior Rolling Timber Wolves, USA (2012-20)
_2019 U25 World Championships – Suphan Buri, Thailand – Gold (USA)
Interview: Dylan Cummings | Photo: Steffie Wunderl