AMES – Iowa State women’s basketball has gone worldwide.
On Wednesday, two of the top women’s basketball players in Europe signed their National Letters of Intent to play for Bill Fennelly’s program.
Adriana Camber, a 5-foot-9-inch forward from Lund, Sweden and Aliyah Konate, a 6-foot-4-inch forward from Berlin, Germany, give the Cyclones three international players on the roster, joining freshman Bridget Carleton, who’s from Ontario, Canada.
“At Iowa State you have to be a little creative,” Fennelly said. “We’re not just going to go out there and sign players the normal way. Sometimes you have to be different and think outside the box. For us that’s to sign two international players, something we’ve never done before. That’s just the way the cycle went for us.”
Camber, rated as a five-star prospect by Blue Star Europe, is one of the top prospects in Sweden despite sitting out her junior season with an ACL injury. She was named an all-star when she played on the Nordic Championships national team in 2013 and 2014.
During her sophomore season she averaged 18.3 points, 8.1 rebounds and 3.6 assists per game and led her team to a fourth-place finish in the Swedish Championships.
“Adriana is very skilled on the perimeter, she’s long, she’s athletic, she can guard people,” Fennelly said.
Fennelly says a manager from Sweden during ISU assistant Billy Fennelly’s time at Maryland, and now a coach back in his home country, was the first one to tell them about the talented forward.
“We kind of did some follow up there,” Fennelly said. “Billy worked on Adriana really hard and I just think they felt comfortable.”
Konate will add even more depth to the Cyclones’ talented, and young, frontcourt. Iowa State’s 2016-17 roster will feature four players taller than 6-foot-2-inches, joining current freshmen Meredith Burkhall and Claire Ricketts, and sophomore Bryanna Fernstrom, with at least two years of eligibility remaining.
Konate was a member of Germany’s 3-on-3 national team in the Youth Olympic Games in 2014, and comes into college with a frame ready for college basketball
“She’d walk in here and you’d be like, ‘Oh, that looks like a Big 12 post player,” Fennelly said.
There may have been some luck involved in order to bring Konate in the fold for Iowa State. She was on a foreign exchange to Minnesota when she met current-ISU freshman guard, and Brooklyn Park, Minn. native, TeeTee Starks.
“Timing is everything in recruiting,” Fennelly said. “I think for both of those kids the timing was good for us and good them. We’re very, very fortunate that they’re coming.”
While the Iowa State women’s basketball program continues to reach outside of U.S. borders, Fennelly doesn’t expect it to become a trend.
“This is not what we do, this is not how we want to do it,” Fennelly said. “Our program will always be based in good Midwestern kids that get it, that understand Iowa State, that our fans can relate to.”
That doesn’t mean Fennelly doesn’t expect both members of the 2015 signing class to play huge roles for the Cyclones during their careers.
“They’re really, really good kids and I think they’ll add a lot,” Fennelly said. “I think our fans will enjoy meeting them and I think they’ll add a lot to what this program has always stood for.”