Basketballer to play pro in Madrid

Barry Wright

Sarnia’s Kendel Ross is about to embark on the next leg of her basketball journey.

After recently being released from Team Canada, the 26-year-old Northern Vikings grad will wing her way to Spain this month to play professional basketball.

She signed a one-year contract with a Madrid team for a season that runs from October to May, excluding playoffs.

Although disappointed she was let go from the national team, ending her dream of wearing the Maple Leaf at the Rio Olympics in 2016, Ross says she has no regrets.

“I had a really good camp,” she said.  “But they told me they wanted to go in a different direction at guard.”

Ross says her mom helped put things in perspective when she said her daughter didn’t owe anything to Canada Basketball, and vice-versa.

“I’ve been in the national system at some level since I was 16-years-old and I’ve had the opportunity to play basketball internationally all over the world,” said Ross.

After graduating in May with a Masters degree from the University of Dayton, where she starred on a basketball scholarship following her high school career in Sarnia, Ross’s agent presented her with options to play pro ball in Spain, Germany (where former St. Christopher star Melissa Rondanelli will play this season) and Italy.

“After the winter we had last year, I decided on Spain because of the weather,” she said with a grin.

She expects her experience playing professionally in Portugal in 2010-11, where she averaged 22 points and nearly 12 rebounds per game, will help with her transition to Spain, where she will be expected to be a leader on the team.

“They (European teams) bring in imports to get them over the top,” said Ross, fully expecting to be in the starting line-up for most if not all games this season.

As for the future, she says coaching high school basketball is in the cards, mainly because of her recent experience coaching with John Thrasher at Northern Collegiate.

“My parents have always been my rock, but Coach Thrasher was the one to instil in me a “you can do that” attitude.”

“I’m going to miss coaching with him this season.”

But, for now, it’s time to say adios to Sarnia and si to Spain.