BERKELEY – Former California guard Afure Jemerigbe signed a professional contract with Spanish League newcomer CB Al-Qazeres, the team announced earlier this month.
CB Al-Qazares will play in the Liga Femenina de Baloncesto, the top women’s basketball league in Spain, for the first time in team history for the 2014-15 season after earning promotion from the second tier of the Spanish women’s basketball pyramid last season.
During her senior campaign, Jemerigbe led the Golden Bears to a 22-10 record and averaged 12.1 points and 4.2 rebounds per game. She started in all 32 games to earn a spot on the 2014 Honorable Mention All-Defensive Team alongside an Honorable Mention Pac-12 nod. The Stockton, California, native totaled nearly 3,000 minutes during her tenure at Cal, and made an appearance in 135 games.
Jemerigbe will make her professional debut on October 15 when C.B. Al-Qazares takes on Gran Canaria. CalBears.com sat down with Jemerigbe as she prepares to fly to Spain this weekend to join her new team.
CalBears.com: So, the time has come. Are you excited about going to Spain?
Afure Jemerigbe: Yes! I’m definitely excited for just meeting new people and seeing the historical architecture of Spain. Just being involved in a completely new culture and learning more about things outside of the United States.
CB: Have you ever been to Spain?
AJ: No, I’ve never been. I’ve heard a lot of good things about it. Every time I mention Spain, people tell me that I’m going to love it and I won’t want to come back. They say it’s the best place to go, especially for your first year being overseas.
CB: Do you know much about the team or the league you’re joining?
AJ: What I do know is that this is a really good league. It’s a top league in Europe. You see a lot of WNBA players playing in this division. My teammates – I talked to one of them. Her name is Callan Taylor. She’s also an American player. She’s coming back for her second year. She told me a little about the team and the coach, what he wants, how strict he is, what two-a-days are like and more. It should be new and interesting. She told me everyone is very welcoming and that it’s a family feel with good people.
CB: It’s the end of your four years in Berkeley. What will you remember about your time at Cal?
AJ: The record-breaking year, 2012-13. The memories. The friendships I made here. Just the huge support from the Triple Threat club, the alumni, the coaches, the teammates and the love you get here. Hopefully I can get some of that when I go to Spain. It’s different because I’ll be in my first year there as opposed to being a senior at Cal. I’ll definitely miss the memories and friendships.
CB: What is one of the first things you will do when you get to Spain?
AJ: The first thing is just walk around and take a look at everything in the city that I will be in, Cáceres, and get a feel for the people there. I’m going to definitely find a beach. I have to find some kind of beach. I like to go read and relax a lot by beaches where I can just sit in the sun and relax.
CB: Do you know any Spanish?
AJ: Two years of high school! Haha, nothing that’s very relevant now, so I would probably say that no I don’t. But I’ve been learning. I downloaded some apps and want to start to get to know the language. I’m going to be forced to, so I might as well get to know it now.
CB: Do you know anything about the food and cuisine of Spain?
AJ: Not at all, actually! I’ve heard that it’s really good food out there. As long as it’s nothing close to the food in China, I’ll be good! (Laughs) But I heard it was pretty good food with a nice variation of different types of food.
CB: That brings up a good point … obviously last year we went to China with the Cal women’s basketball team, but have you ever been anywhere else outside of the United States?
AJ: When I was young I went to Nigeria, but I was like three years old. I don’t remember it. I haven’t been anywhere else. Mexico only. Of course there’s a bit of nervousness too, because you’ll be the “minority” in a way because you don’t know the language, you’re not familiar with the location, but hopefully I’ll have some teammates that can guide me.
CB: So you’ll be like the Hind of our team last year?
AJ: Yeah, basically! (Laughs). Hind learned and picked up English quickly. I think I should be OK. I should actually see Hind too. She’s playing in my league. She’s going to play for Cadi la Seu, a team near Barcelona. We talked on the phone about it.
CB: One last question for you, what are your thoughts on what Cal can do next season?
AJ: Cal is going to be really great! We have a really good incoming class with Gabby, Mikayla and Penina. We’re building very well through recruiting. Then you have Brittany Boyd and Reshanda Gray, two dominant figures outside the perimeter and inside. I think Cal will do really well. They’re going to go far this year.