On Friday, ADM Econy BSR ACE Gran Canaria announced that Paralympic gold medallist Rose Hollermann will join the Spanish side for the 2019/20 season. She has just graduated from the University of Texas-Arlington with a degree in Elementary Education after a five-year stint on the UTA team. Rollt.’s English-speaking Content Producer, Dylan Cummings spoke with her in an exclusive interview.
Why did you choose to move to Gran Canaria?
“My main focus for the next year is preparing for Tokyo 2020 and I felt that Gran Canaria was the right team for me. I wanted to find a team where I would get significant playing time and play in a team that contains motivated players. I love the fact that there are numerous players there that are also preparing for Tokyo 2020.”
How do you intend to fit into the team?
“I think I’ll be able to provide the team with an outside shooting presence. I’m intending for this to be my job on the offensive side. Defensively I hope to give them a strong communicator that’s looking to learn and develop. I think Jorge Sanchez’ style of basketball will compliment how I like to play by creating outside looks for me.”
Why did you choose to play abroad in Spain?
“I really wanted to go play overseas. It’s been a dream of mine ever since I was little. I was excited when I realised that it was a dream that could become reality and I think Spain is the best fit for this. I think it’s the best way for me to improve my game.”
What will challenge you in the Division de Honour?
“Challenge is definitely the word that comes to mind when I think about heading overseas. Firstly, I haven’t played against men at that level before. I’ve spent hours scrimmaging at that high level against men, but never playing official games. Secondly, I believe the transition from living in the US to living abroad will be challenging. There are numerous other components to this that will be challenging and I’m really looking forward to all of them. The challenges for this opportunity are what makes me so excited for it.”
How do you think the styles of play will differ between UTA and Gran Canaria?
“When I play with females I play as a big more than a shooting guard. However, when I scrimmage against men I’m typically playing as a shooting guard/point guard. I’ve become use to playing both roles but, they are definitely different. I think developing my guard abilities will strengthen the impact I can have on the women’s game going into Tokyo 2020.”
What do you think are the similarities and differences between the Division de Honour and the NWBA intercollegiate league?
“European basketball is a lot more aggressive and physical than basketball in the US. Within the NWBA there’s a lot more swinging the ball and shooting from outside. However, you are beginning to see both styles collide together and those are becoming the best teams in the world.”
What are your goals for next season?
“To become stronger and faster whilst playing with and against the men. I hope to improve my vision on the court and increase my shooting percentage. In terms of the team I’m not really sure what to expect but I’m always hopeful to be competing in the biggest games.”
How has the USA team been preparing for the Para Pan Am Games?
“We have been preparing through a decentralised program. This program contains a lot of shooting, individualised lifts and basic conditioning. We are also traveling to Australia along with training camps leading up to the games.”
How much do you think Spanish culture will differ from American culture?
“The culture will definitely be different. I think the people on the island will be fun and welcoming. I’m expecting to be moving to a colourful and passionate culture, especially since I will be on an island.”
What will you miss the most about the USA when you are abroad?
“My family is always the thing I miss most when I’m traveling. It’s hard to make a decision to move away from them but, it’s something I have to experience in my life. I will also miss the basketball family that UTA has in Dallas.”
How would you describe your style of play?
“I’m really looking to become as well-rounded as I possibly can be. I think I’m on a good path towards this as my junior coaches taught me sound fundamentals. I pride myself most on this and being as consistent as I possibly can be.”
Has anyone specifically influenced you to play the way you do?
“Ben Kenyon is the guy that got me into this sport. He taught me how to shoot a basketball and he taught me how to love the game. And Jason Nelms is the coach that has taught me the most throughout my career. He taught me how to read the court and mostly how to get the most out of my teammates.”
What piece of advice has stuck with you throughout your career?
“The absolute best advice a coach has given me is this: ‘You should love the game first and last.’ At the end of the day every athlete is playing this game because they fell in love with it at some point. Regardless of where I’m playing or at what level I always try to remember why I love this sport so much.”
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?
“First one is easy… Mariska Beijer because she’s the best female player in the world right now. Second is Phil Pratt from GB because he’s a young player that I’ve gotten to see grow up and develop. I think he’s constantly getting better, so what he’s doing has to be working. Lastly, Steve Serio from the US because he’s the most fundamentally sound player I’ve ever seen. He’s great at reading the court and producing the best looks for his team whilst focusing on the worst from his opponent.”
Rose Hollermann Profile:
Date of Birth: 25/12/1995 (aged 23)
Hometown: Elysian, Minnesota
Started playing: 2004
USA senior debut: 2011 Para Pan Am Games
Disability: T11/T12 incomplete spinal cord injury
Future Club: ADM Econy BSR ACE Gran Canaria, ESP (starting September 2019)
_Rolling Gophers/Rowdies, USA (2004-2007)
_Junior Rolling TimberWolves, USA (2007-2014)
_University of Texas-Arlington Lady Movin’ Mavs, USA (2014-2019)
_Helping create the UTA Lady Movin’ Mavs team
_Winning a gold medal at the 2016 Rio Paralympic Games
Rollt. would like to thank Rose Hollermann for this interview.
Interview: Dylan Cummings | Foto: Steffie Wunderl