Duquesne: Szamosi’s Transition to America

College.  It is a different experience for everyone.  For some, it is their first time being away from home.  A number of kids go to the college right in their area or a couple of hours out of state. And there are some who travel great distances from different continents. Try doing that while being a Division 1 athlete.

That is what it is like for Amadea Szamosi.  Her freshman season with the Duquesne women’s basketball team is near complete. A year prior, she was half a world away.    

The move was not easy at first, but the native of Pecs, Hungary is slowly becoming comfortable with living in the states.

“It wasn‘t an easy transition and I feel as though I am still in the process of adjusting,” Szamosi said. “At the same time, I really enjoy it and it is definitely going to be a lifelong experience.”

On the court for Szamosi, the transition has been a lot harder.  In her first season with the Dukes, Szamosi played in 28 games with no starts at forward, averaging 6 minutes a game while averaging2.3 points and 1.4 rebounds per game.  Head coach Dan Burt says even though she struggled, Szamosi has learned a lot.

“Amadea has had an up and down freshman year, but I believe she has learned a lot with the experience she has gone through,” Burt said. “The game is different and Amadea will need to better adapt to the American-style of play. She has worked very hard individually on skill development and in the weight room.”

You are probably thinking that it would be the norm for a player from Europe coming into her first season of American college basketball to struggle a bit.  The playing and coaching styles as well as the languages are so different.

Despite all what I said,  Szamosi is not your average player from across the pond.  Coming into her first year at Duquesne, Szamosi is considered not only the best player from her age group in Hungary, but in all of Europe.

In the 2012 FIBA Under 18 European Tournament, she led the Hungarian national team in scoring with 13.3 points per game and a tournament best 11 rebounds per contest.  Her performance helped Hungary to a 4th place finish and was named all-tournament.  She was also named all-tournament in the 2011 tournament and the Under 16 tournament in 2010.

Szamosi not only plays for the Hungarian national team, but for multiple club teams in her home country.  She helped Club PVSK  to the 2009 and 2012 U18 National championship.  With her other team, Club Pecs, they finished third  in the 2012 Hungarian Cup.  A season on a club team is a lot more grueling compared to one in college basketball,  mainly due to the length of the season.

“Last year, we started to play games in September and did not finish until May,” Szamosi said. “Here, the season starts in November and we finish in March.”

Even with her new opportunities in America, Szamosi still yearns for her homeland.  Food is what she misses most.  She says her favorite foods from Hungary include sweets and vegetables.   Compared to American vegetables, those grown in Europe taste quite differently according to Szamosi. 

The sweets are very different as well.  Szamosi favorite Hungarian pastry is Palacsinta,  a Hungarian version of a pancake.  She also enjoys a sweet snack similar to a cinnamon roll except it has chocolate.  But beyond that, what Szamosi misses most is the meals made by her grandmother and mother.

“My grandmothers and my mother are the best cooks in the world,” Szamosi said.  “My family and I would usually eat lunch every weekend at their place. I would give anything for one of those meals.”

Szamosi will soon be eating these meals again with the academic year whining down.  After summer classes , she will  return to Hungary for the first time in almost a year.  There, she play for the Hungarian national team and prepare for the youth European championship.  In her free time will be filled catching up with family and friends.   Even far away from the bluff, she will still be thinking about her upcoming season at Duquesne.

“I will focus on getting ready for my sophomore year,” Szamosi said.  “I am very excited.”

Looking ahead, the sky is the limit for Szamosi.  After Duquesne she hopes to continue her basketball career in Europe, but wants to obtain her degree in Supply Chain Management first.  She intends on continuing to play for the Hungary National team.

Going forward, Coach Burt sees a player who can excel at four positions on the floor while having the ability to score and rebound at a high level.  He believes she can be a star, not only at Duquesne, but in the Atlantic 10 conference if she implies herself this upcoming season.

“Amadea must have greater focus within practice to have a meaningful sophomore year,” Burt said. “If she disciplines herself to properly focus on knowing the offense and the scouting report, Amadea could be a standout on our team and within our league.”