May 2, 2012
This feature was published in the Wednesday edition of the K-State Sports Extra.
By Mark Janssen
Jalana Childs said she knew she would play more basketball, but just not this soon.
“I knew that there was a high probability that I would end up playing overseas in the next few years, but I didn’t think it would be this soon, and I sure didn’t think it would be in China,” said the Kansas State senior. “This sort of came out of the blue.”
Childs is presently playing for the U.S. All Stars, which is a team sponsored by the United States Basketball Academy. Headed by Atlas Sports, Inc., the team is playing a series of nine games in three cities in China.
“Coach (Shalee) Lehning called me early in April and said, ‘I’m going to drop a bomb on you. You have the opportunity to go to China’,” related Childs. “She brought up the decision I needed to make between the WNBA Draft or the trip to China. I already knew I didn’t want to do the draft thing, so why not China?”
Why not the draft and an opportunity of professional basketball?
“The timing just wasn’t right,” said Childs, who ended her K-State career with 1,237 points (18th in school history) and 503 rebounds (28th in school history) in 131 games (second-most in school history). “I want to graduate first, and the draft would have taken me out of school. I didn’t want that.”
Childs and her USA teammates left San Francisco on April 24 and started playing games two days after they landed in Qijiang. The team is currently in Zhongzhou, and will conclude their trio of three-game stops in Xiangyang City on May 5-7.
The games will be played in front of the coaches and administrators from the Women’s China Basketball Association, plus professional scouts from the professional leagues in Australia.
“With nine games, I’m sure I’ll get my fill of basketball, but I’m also excited about the experience of seeing the culture,” said Childs. “Everything will be so different. I’m used to getting assists from Brittany (Chambers) and Mariah (White), and now I’ll be playing with girls I’ve never met before. That’s going to be new, but exciting.”
And of the culture, Childs said, “I know very little. I think ‘ni-hao’ means hello, but that’s about it. All the girls were also told that the food is not Americanized at all. The coach e-mailed all of us to say to make sure to pack plenty of sacks. I have eight boxes of Granola Bars, Peanut Butter crackers and things like that. My suitcase is half snacks and half clothes.”
Upon returning home, Childs will enter a summer internship at a Manhattan hotel, plus taking a couple classes. She then hopes for a final internship next spring/summer at either Las Vegas’ Caesar’s Palace or a resort in Arizona.
USA ROSTER: Katelan Redmon, Gonzaga; Katie Bussey, Montana State; Casey Garrison, Missouri State; ReZina TecleMariam, Portland; Talisa Rhea, Seattle; Rebekah Gardner, UCLA; Jasmin Holliday, Oregon; Natalie Day, Portland; Rachael Hackbarth, Drake; Kali Bennett, Arizona State. Coach: Chris Denker, Santa Clara