Sophomore forward Adriana Camber spent the summer in Sweden competing for Sweden’s U20 team. Camber took some time to talk about her summer abroad and her upcoming season at Iowa State.
How did you first get into playing with Sweden basketball?
In Sweden when you’re under 15, you play for your region, so I was region South. Then we play a tournament against the other regions, and from that they pick the 15 best players and you go to your first camp, and that’s how you get involved. The first championship for me was the U16 European Championship, and then I kept playing for the U17, U18, U19, and U20 teams in Sweden.
It was good and we had a young team. That was the first time I played with kids who were born in 1998. I was born in 1997. It was new for me, and it was a completely new coach, but I think we did decent. We had a hard group and some tough games, but we did well. You also play seven games in 10 days, so it’s kind of intense. You can play three games, then rest one day, then play three games, rest one day. I was gone from about the end of May to the middle of July. And you go back and forth. You go back home for two days, then you go to another camp, and then more preparations and stuff like that.
Where did you travel for the U20 tournaments?
We went to Portugal. That was the European Championship. That was my third time playing there. It was the same hotel, the exact same rooms, so that wasn’t that new, but they do a great job of getting everything together. And Portugal is really beautiful. Then this year we went to Berlin, as well, for a tournament, and we had a tournament in Stockholm, Sweden, too.
What was your role on the team this summer?
I was kind of the go-to player. It was me and another girl, a taller girl. And I knew that coming into the summer, and that was a good transition for me to get prepared for this year here at Iowa State, because last year I didn’t play that much. This year I have to step it up. It’s my sophomore year. There are more expectations on me, so I think it was good to go back home, get some more confidence and just be able to do what I do.
Did you do anything else over the summer?
I went to see my family. I’m originally from Croatia, so I went there for like three weeks, and that was real nice to see everybody. Then I went to Spain with my sister over a weekend, just to hang out with her.
What things did you work to improve on this summer and what goals do you have personally for the upcoming season?
Definitely getting my confidence back, and just knowing what type of player I am. I think I kind of stepped away from that last year. Just believe in myself, shoot the ball, be aggressive, and play good defense. I did a lot of work on finishing through contact. I worked on that a lot back home. One of my goals is definitely to play more, and be more of a leader. We are a young team this year with only two seniors, so the rest of us have to take a bigger responsibility. We lost a lot of great players, but I don’t doubt that we can fill those spots up like a good team. But definitely score the ball more, and be aggressive all the time, and I know that I need to shoot the ball.
What has the transition been for you looking back, coming from Sweden to Ames?
I definitely miss Sweden, I’m not going to lie, but I’m getting more used to the culture and everything. Basketball is starting to come together. I understand Coach Fennelly and what he wants from us, and how we work as a team. Just all of our responsibilities, it’s definitely hard being a student-athlete, with a lot of school and not a lot of time to do your homework. I’m also still struggling with the food. I miss the European food, but I’m getting there.
I started talking to coach Billy (Fennelly) in the middle of May I think, coming into my senior year of high school. It kind of went pretty fast, because my coach back home knew Coach Billy. I liked what I heard from them, so my mom and I came here for a visit, and I just fell in love with the place. Hearing everything about the fans, seeing Hilton, walking on campus, meeting my teammates, everything just felt like home, and that was very important for me. Since I’m so far away from home I wanted to find a place where I felt safe, I have people I can talk to and people care about me. That’s definitely something you get here at Iowa State, so that was the biggest factor for me.
What do you see as your role on the team this year?
Definitely to be a scorer. We need someone to score. As I said, there are a lot of minutes that we need to fill up from last year, and I feel like I can be one of those players that’s going to be kind of the joker. I came in and saw some minutes last year, and people didn’t really know who I was, and I feel like it’s going to be like that at the beginning of this year too, so definitely take advantage of that and look to be aggressive and score.