Sports

McNeill continues pro hoop career in Germany

Heidi McNeill, shown here scoring for Lakeside in Australia this summer, has continued her pro career in Germany this winter. - Photo courtesy of Lakeside Lightning
Heidi McNeill, shown here scoring for Lakeside in Australia this summer, has continued her pro career in Germany this winter.
— image credit: Photo courtesy of Lakeside Lightning

Heidi McNeill, a 2005 graduate of Oak Harbor High School, is playing professional basketball in Germany this winter.

She previously played in Austria and Australia before returning to Europe to compete for Viernheim, which is about 45 miles south of Frankfurt.

TSA Amicitia Viernheim is currently in second place with a 10-1 record in the southern division.

McNeill, a 6-3 forward who played for the University of Washington, is third on her team in scoring (11.6 points per game) and second in rebounding (7).

She said, “I would call us the basketball equivalent of the New York Yankees. It seems as though everyone loves to hate us. It is in the second league but I don’t think there is much difference in the leagues other than the teams in the first leagues have more money and a better following. They also play nationally all over Germany whereas we only play in the South.”

“I find this league much more physical and faster than the league that I played for in Australia,” she said. “There is not as much athletic talent as there is in the states but the players have a better range in skills.”

The German game is played at a faster pace with a shorter shot clock and an eight-second backcourt rule, she said.

Her team doesn’t practice everyday, which makes it “more laid back than the states,” McNeill said. This allows more time for traveling and sightseeing.

Last summer she averaged 17 points and nine rebounds a game for the Lakeside Lightning in Australia and was named the team’s Most Valuable Player, as voted on by opposing coaches and referees.

She said, “I loved being in Australia, but had my ‘Aussie' fill.”

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