On Monday, Aulani Sinclair signed a contract with Pinkk Pesci424, a professional women’s basketball team in Hungary.
“It’s always been a dream of mine to continue playing basketball at a professional level and now is a dream come true,” Sinclair said.
A starter on this past season’s Hoosiers women’s basketball team, Sinclair played
overseas this summer.
“It was right after graduation, I played for the USA College All-Stars this summer in China,” she said. “We played against China, Hungary, Australia and a four nations challenge.”
Sinclair said following her trip to China, her agent began researching countries and teams.
“My agent researched teams and pretty much found the best fit for me, and that was Hungary,” she said.
Sinclair had been in talks with Hungary and the coach there for a little over a week before she was offered a contract via Skype.
“After that we just kind of did all of the negotiations, and then I signed and now I’m officially here,” she said
Sinclair said the process has been swift, and she is traveling to Hungary this weekend.
“I was very excited, but then they told me I’d have to leave this Sunday,” she said. “Then the excitement switched over to ‘Oh my gosh, I have so much stuff to do this week.’”
Sinclair said though she didn’t know where she would wind up following her collegiate career, her basketball expereinces in China will help her in Hungary.
“Just going up against all other European teams, they just have a different style of play,” she said. “I feel like going on the China trip, not only did it help me learn the European style, but then also getting out of the U.S. for the first time and just
experiencing another country by myself kind of gave me a test run of what I was going to experience.”
Sinclair said she is looking forward to playing a brand of basketball that she finds similar to her own style. And after talking with her coach, she fully expects to play the three-spot, or small forward, as she did at Indiana.
“He said he would play me in the three-spot, just like I did at school,” Sinclair said. “It’s a very strong league. We play in the Euro Cup and in the Hungarian league. So I’ll be playing against a lot of great competition, and I’m just excited because I feel like there’s my style of play there.”
Among other things she encountered while in China, she will also have to overcome a language barrier while in Hungary, something that she’s not too overwhelmed about.
“I’m hoping it won’t be that big of a deal,” Sinclair said. “Most of the players understand and speak a little English.”
Sinclair said some of her soon-to-be teammates played at schools here in the States and understand English very well, and she hopes that outside of practice she has
someone to assist her in daily tasks.
“My coach said the only difficulty I might have is if I go to a grocery store by myself,” Sinclair said. “There will always be someone to help me out, too.”
Sinclair, who is an Indiana native, said she is anxious to begin her professional career and to see the world.
“Indiana will always be my home,” she said. “Just to have this experience to travel the world. Like I said, going to China really opened my eyes to how cool it is to travel the world and see other parts. I’ve seen a lot of cornfields over the last couple of years of my life. So I’m excited to go out and travel while I’m still young and just experience everything while I can and just to do that and be able to play basketball on top of it is a blessing.”
Sinclair said she’ll miss her family and friends while overseas but is excited to continue with her basketball career.
“Basketball doesn’t feel like a job for me, it’s something I really enjoy,” she said. “I’m just going to go out there and continue playing the way I have been while representing Indiana and Hoosier nation and my family as well.”