Penn State Dubois graduate, Russell Gariepy talks to us about his overseas basketball experience.
Following a fantastic collegiate career in the US, Russell arrived in the UK back in the fall of 2021 to continue his playing career and work towards a master’s degree in Innovation Management and Entrepreneurship.
After a successful year on the court with his UK university team, Russell has recently started a full-time job whilst he completes his master’s dissertation.
We caught up with Russell to speak about his experience in England as a student-athlete and what his plans are upon returning home to the States.
How did you find your experience of combining your master’s degree with basketball in the UK?
I found this experience to be one of the most rewarding, unique, and enjoyable times of my life.
Pursuing a master’s degree at a highly accredited University allowed me to not only gain knowledge in my field, but allowed me to develop as a leader, network with high-level members of successful organizations, and develop relationships with diverse individuals that will outlast my time in Bournemouth.
Not to mention, the opportunity to continue pursuing the game I love has been a dream come true. I have had the opportunity to compete against high-level professionals, network with some of the most connected individuals in the U.K. basketball scene, and have gained knowledge and insights regarding the development needed to continue my quest to play basketball professionally.
Compared to your experience of playing college basketball in America, what would you say were some of the main differences from playing in England?
The experience of playing basketball in the U.K. is very different than in the U.S. To start, athletics in general, are not nearly as much of a priority in the U.K. culture. Out here, it is very much up to each individual to continue to strive for success and development. Additionally, the college basketball scene is not nearly as developed here as it is in the states. Most programs supplement college players’ season’s with NBL games, which is a level of professional basketball here in the U.K. It is an awesome opportunity for those who choose a school that is NBL-affiliated, as it gives them a chance to compete against professionals.
Whilst completing classes for your master’s degree, have you been able to travel outside of the UK?
Yes, I was able to visit Cologne, Germany during the week of my birthday this summer. It was an amazing experience to truly step into a new culture and be immersed in a place I had never seen before. It is so exciting for me to find new places to go, and throughout my continued time here in the U.K., I plan on going to France, Greece, Italy, and many other European countries.
I will also say – there are so many places within the United Kingdom that have been incredible and continue to amaze me when I visit them.
What are your plans and ambitions for the future?
I have many goals that I will achieve in this life, both in the short and long term. However, my life ambitions are to live life how I want, with who I want. I plan to achieve this goal by continuing to seek opportunities to network and develop my abilities in my field, and as a leader, communicator, and human being.
The University I chose has given me opportunities that have led to job offers and developmental programs that are putting me in an incredible position to succeed for years to come. However, I firmly believe that there is no real success unless the benefit is felt by many and that my work and gains help to improve the lives of those I come across, and those I don’t!
Finally, what was your experience like when working with Play Overseas?
My experience with Play Overseas was simple, easy, efficient, and effective. A free program that got me immediate results that changed the trajectory of my life forever. I am eternally grateful to Harry & his team who helped me find this path, and I could not be more confident that the decision to trust Play Overseas was the best decision I could have made for my life development.
Russell posted a season-high of 29 points and finished with averages of 15 points, 4 assists, 4 rebounds, and 2 steals per game. Watch his UK university basketball highlights below!
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