DURHAM, N.C.— Haley Peters, a 2014 Duke women’s basketball graduate, came back to Durham recently to visit and train as she prepares to head back overseas to continue her professional career. Peters took some time to visit with GoDuke.com.
GoDuke.com: Update on the past season overseas:
Haley Peters: “I was playing in Lyon, France. It’s Tony Parker’s team so it was a really good season. They had a new coach that I really liked playing for and I learned a lot so it was a good year. After that I spent some time in Italy, I actually met up with Tricia Liston, she was visiting Italy so we spent some time there. Then I was in Germany for a week or two at a camp working with a guy named Holger Geschwindner, who was Dirk Nowitzki’s coach from when he was young. After that I was out in Long Island working out and hoping to get a WNBA call but working too for the next season in France. In July I was in New York City taking some classes and working out too. And then in August I’ve been able to travel a little bit. I went to Chicago and saw Tricia and the (Liston) family there. And I went up to Canada for a week, which was really cool. And now I’m just getting ready to go back. I leave September 8 to go to Charleville-Mezieres. The new team will be in the Euroleague so I’m excited for that.”
GD: Was this the first time you had played in France?
HP: “So my first three seasons I was in Spain on three different teams and all over the country. I really loved Spain but I felt like it was time to go in a different direction. The Spanish league is a good league but the French league is considered to be a stronger league. I think from top to bottom it’s a stronger league and it was a really good experience. It was different adjusting to a new country and trying to learn the language and things like that. But, it was a really good experience. “
GD: How involved is Tony Parker with the team?
HP: “He’s pretty involved. He called me a year and a half ago about going to play there so he’s involved in the recruiting of all the players that they’ve brought in. He was playing in San Antonio during most of the season but when his season ended he came back almost right away to watch us in the playoffs and watch the men’s team there. Actually, Demarcus Nelson (Duke alum) plays on the men’s team there so I get to go watch their games pretty frequently. But, he’s really involved and I think when he’s done he’s building a new academy there so he has a whole lot going on in that city.”
GD: How did you like the food and everything else in France compared to Spain?
HP: “They’re different. I mean there’s a lot that I like about France; they have good wine, good champagne, good chocolate, good cheese all stuff that I really like, croissants. I really love Spanish food, like the Mediterranean food. I eat a lot of fish and they like long drawn out meals. The French do too -- we had a couple really good team meals in France. They’re different, I’d say I probably like Spanish food more. They eat a lot of meat in France with a lot of creamy sauces and stuff that I don’t love but some of the pastries and desserts in France are pretty good.”
GD: Were you able to sight-see and go around the country a little bit as well?
HP: “A little bit. So, this year we weren’t playing EuroCup or Euroleague so we only had one game a week. We had a little bit more free time. Lyon is the second biggest city in France and we had an international airport so I got to travel within France. I got to go to Amsterdam. We were an hour and a half from Geneva. So, yeah, I got to see a bunch of stuff this year which was cool.”
GD: Did you have any other Americans on the team with you?
HP: “I was the only American. Our other non-European was an Australian girl who plays in New York on the Liberty, Rebecca Allen, we got along really well.”
GD: How has it been being back on campus and meeting the team?
HP: “It’s been really good. It feels like after a few days it feels like you never left. I didn’t know a lot of the girls so it was good to get to know them. I played with them one morning. It was good to see them and get to know them so I can follow them this year and see how they do. And then obviously being around the facility here is unbelievable and seeing all the new construction on campus. This is just like a different place, it’s unbelievable.”
GD: Is your family able to keep up with Duke and see how they do?
HP: “Yeah, sure, they’re all in New Jersey and New York. My brothers are in New York and my parents are in New Jersey now so they’re all close which is nice. They keep up. My brother, he goes to the Duke games whenever they play up there and my dad of course follows everything so they’ve been keeping up.”
GD: Any former teammates you try to keep up with?
HP: “Yeah I mean we all stay pretty close. I talk to Chelsea Gray every now and then. She’s always playing, but especially when we’re overseas she’s over there so it’s good to have someone over there that you know. I’ve been talking to her throughout the season. She’s just doing really well it’s really great to see. I’m still close with Becca (Rebecca Greenwell). Every now and then we’ll talk, we’ll have a group with Richa Jackson or Shay Selby. I’ve talked with Kathleen Scheer a few times, she’s been in Australia a lot but she came over and played in Poland last year for a little while. And then EJAK (Elizabeth Williams, Amber Henson, Jenna Frush and Ka’lia Johnson) every now and then we’ll have a little group with everybody so we stay in touch, it’s good.”
GD: Do you enjoy the experience of being able to go see different countries and living the life as a professional basketball player?
HP: “Yeah, I think that’s probably one of the reasons that I’m still doing it because I’ve been in two amazing countries and I’ve learned how to speak Spanish and can understand French and I’m still learning how to speak it. But, one of my favorite parts is I have some really good friends now in Spain and in Portugal and I’ve really learned a different culture. So, I think that’s part of the reason why I’m still playing over there.”