Making sure nothing gets lost in translation will become a priority for Mike Bradbury next season.
The University of New Mexico women’s basketball coach added a fourth European player to his team’s roster Tuesday, announcing the signing of 6-foot-1 forward Paula Reus from Spain.
Reus has represented her home country in the European Championships and competed for Barca CBS in the FC Barcelona professional basketball league. She fills a need on UNM’s guard-laden roster and Reus’ game reminds Bradbury of the skills his two returning senior forwards possess.
“She’s kind of a combination of A.T. (Antonia Anderson) and Shai (McGruder),” Bradbury said. “She can face up and make shots, moves well and can put the ball on the floor a little bit. Paula fits with what we were looking for and she can definitely play.”
Reus is the sixth incoming freshman to join the Lobos for the 2021-22 season and brings UNM’s roster to 13 players. It’s an unusual mix that includes five seniors, two sophomores and no juniors.
Even more unusual for UNM, Bradbury’s team will include players from four European nations: Reus from Spain, Rebeka Renczes from Hungary, Zeyno Isil Seren from Turkey and Kath van Bennekom from the Netherlands.
Asked if he’d need to hire a translator for upcoming practice sessions, Bradbury laughed.
“No, everybody speaks English,” he said, “but we will have quite a few different accents, including mine.”
Thanks in part to the COVID-19 pandemic, it has been an unusual recruiting year for UNM and many other schools. Recruiting trips and campus visits were prohibited under public health orders, requiring coaches to do much of their work through phone calls and online video study.Two of the Lobos’ three American signees, Mackenzie Curtis and Aniyah Augmon, commited to UNM despite never having visited the campus. The third, Viané Cumber, lives in Albuquerque and has been around the program for years.
But under the unusual circumstances, recruiting international players this year was not dramatically different than pursuing American high school athletes.
“We keep in contact with one international recruiting service,” Bradbury said. “They let us know about players they think will fit our style and we follow up from there.”
Some of UNM’s newcomers are starting summer classes and workouts this week, but Bradbury does not expect the freshmen from Europe to arrive until August. All three are involved with their respective national team programs, he said.
With two scholarships open, it remains possible UNM will add another player in the coming weeks.