Athlete of the Week: Maria Bardeeva

Maria Bardeeva is a freshman on the women’s basketball team majoring in international studies with a minor in Spanish and finance. She is from Moscow, Russia.  As a freshman, Bardeeva appeared in 27 games, averaged 7.8 points per game, and had a career high 30 points against Barry and was also named Sunshine State Conference Freshman of the Year. As a high school senior she helped guide her team at Northwood Temple Academy in Fayetteville, North Carolina to a State Championship. Before she came to the U.S. she was a two-time participant of a national championship team in Russia in 2012-2013 and 2013-2014. Bardeeva also took part in the Under-16 European Championship in 2013.

How did you feel about winning Sunshine State Conference Freshman of the Year?

“It [felt] great. I quite honestly did not expect it at all and since I was an international student I did not know they offered various awards like this.”

How did you get started in basketball?

“My mom used to play and I did not have any choice because she told me I had to join some team. I was very uncoordinated and at first did not like it and quit for a little bit when I was seven. When I was eight I decided to give it another try and I fell in love with it, because we were all learning how to shoot and were learning to play. It was awesome.”

What pro athlete do you like to watch and model?

“I love Rafael Nadal, a tennis player, and I use him as a motivation because of the way he hustles and plays every ball. I also love Lebron James. I love watching highlights of him because he is one of the greatest basketball players of all time.”

Now that it is the off season, are there any workouts or anything you do to get ready for the season?

“We still have practices which involves weight training three times a week [and] basketball workout  twice a week for an hour. I also go to work out on my own and go on the courts around school to work on my shot.”

What was the biggest transition from high school to college?

“I went to high school my junior year in Chattanooga, Tennessee and then transferred to a private high school in Fayetteville, North Carolina, and even though I knew what work was expected I would have to say the work is a little bit harder than high school. But I don’t find time management to be difficult because I love that we get to pick our own class schedules, which was a little different than colleges in Russia where they pick your class schedules for you.”

Credit: D. Hendricks

Caption: Bardeeva won Sunshine State Conference Freshman of the Year for women’s basketball.

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