EUGENE, Ore. - Former Oregon guard Kaela Chapdelaine officially began her professional career, it was announced today, after signing with Nantes-Reze 44 of the French league.
Chapdelaine will head across the Atlantic on Aug. 20, with the season scheduled to start near the end of September.
“ This is a dream come true since I started play basketball,” Chapdelaine said. “I played in college, and the next step any player hopes for is to begin a professional career. I have a contract, an agent – I have to perform to earn a paycheck. I think it’s neat that I play basketball for a job. The French league, along with the Italian and Spanish leagues, is one of the strongest leagues in Europe. There are a lot of older and experienced women who have been playing there for years.”
Since graduating with a degree in Human Physiology after the winter term, Chapdelaine has been training just outside Vancouver, B.C.
“I’ve been training with my national team coaches, and we get together twice a week with other players from the area,” Chapdelaine said. “On the other days, I play with the local college men’s team. I am going through my own spring training.”
Chapdelaine departed Oregon after spending five years with the women’s basketball program. Following the 2007-08 season, the Okotoks, Alberta, native was named the team’s Best Defensive Player for the second consecutive year.
“Through her five years at Oregon, Kaela always carried herself as a consummate professional,” Oregon head coach Bev Smith said. “In the classroom, around the community, and certainly on the basketball floor, she has left her mark on our program and now takes her name and game to the next level. Her work ethic, desire, and tremendous versatility at both ends of the floor will serve her well in the professional world of women’s basketball. We wish her the best.”
Recruited as a point guard, Chapdelaine played nearly every position on the floor for the Ducks during her career.
As a senior, Chapdelaine was second on the team averaging 7.5 points per game, while leading the team in rebounds (170) and assists (127).
Chapdelaine set a new Oregon single-game record when she was a perfect 6-for-6 from three-point range during the Ducks’ 66-55 victory over UCLA on Feb. 23. In that game, Chapdelaine set a new career high scoring 25 points, while adding a game-high six assists and six rebounds.
Her career at Oregon ended with 362 assists (seventh all-time), 111 three-pointers (seventh all-time) and 122 games played (third all-time). She started the final 91 games dating back to her sophomore season opener.
“I was really lucky to have coaches that are experienced at both coaching and playing professionally,” Chapdelaine said. “Bev coached and played in the Italian league, and Phil (Brown) has worked with a lot of professional Australian players. Willette (White), Selena (Ho) and Velaida (Harris) also know the hard work that it takes to play at the next level. The coaching staff not only prepared us as a team everyday, but they prepared me individually as well.
“I also would really like to thank Justin Mart, who made my highlight tape that I was able to send overseas. Without it, I wouldn’t have been able to show professional teams what I am capable of.”
Oregon finished the 2007-08 season with a 14-17 record. The Ducks recently finished offseason workouts as the team prepares to break for the summer. Continue to check back to www.GoDucks.com for updates on the team and offseason news.
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