Ballin’ overseas: Junior plays basketball in Germany

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Despite COVID-19 shutdowns, junior and varsity basketball player Matt Malarkey still found a way to play his favorite sport thousands of miles away from home in Germany.

By George Zhang, Staff Reporter

Despite COVID-19 shutdowns, junior and varsity basketball player Matt Malarkey still found a way to play his favorite sport thousands of miles away from home in Germany. 

Malarkey decided to play for and attend a German boarding school because he was uncertain if he would have the opportunity to play basketball back here in ’Stoga. Malarkey’s parents decided to contact the school since Malarkey is fluent in German and has dual citizenship there.

“My parents did some research and they found a boarding school. It actually was the same school that my mom’s sister went to. So I went over (to Germany), we contacted the basketball coach and they said they could have a spot for me. And, I just went because there was no concrete evidence that we would have a season here or school and they were having complete in-person (school) and a full season,” Malarkey said.

Malarkey arrived in Germany in the middle of August and stayed there for two months. In the first few weeks of practice, he faced  a temporary set-back after he sprained his ankle. However, Malarkey believes this experience helped him improve as a player.

“When I first got over there, I was playing pretty poorly because I was just nervous about the entire situation; it was a big change in my life and that was kind of affecting me mentally,” Malarkey said. “And then I sprained (my ankle) and after that I think I was settling in a little more and I was playing fine. I think the experience as a whole made me a better player.”

Another big change in Germany was the level of competition. Malarkey believes that the competition there is different than back here in the US because in Germany, he played against 17 to 19 year-olds while back in the U.S, he went against 16 to 18 year-olds. Malarkey also played for a league in Germany rather than a high school team. The best part of playing basketball in Germany for Malarkey was making new friends on his team. 

“(My favorite part about playing basketball in Germany was) probably meeting and hanging out with some of the kids on the team. There were a lot of really good kids that I made friends with and I keep in touch with some of them still, which is nice just to have that connection,” Malarkey said.

Although Malarkey enjoyed playing basketball in Germany, he still prefers to play back here.

“(I definitely preferred playing) here. It was a little bit of a different style there. They’re a lot more, I wouldn’t say fundamental, but they just put a lot more strategy into it. I also didn’t necessarily like the coach over there,” Malarkey said.

He hopes to take his game to the next level in college and to go back to Germany to play if he gets the chance.

“If possible, I would love to be able to play at a Division III college, or a high academic level college but also to play basketball, but we’ll see how that goes. I just got to work hard,” Malarkey said. “(I would like to go back to Germany and play) probably as a gap year between high school and college because I think it’s a great experience and opportunity to grow as a person.”

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