Mission native Taylor Claggett (left) and Chilliwack's Deanna Tuchscherer are both heading to Europe to play professional basketball later this year. (UFV Athletics photo)

Chilliwack’s Deanna Tuchscherer to play basketball in Europe

Not certain about whether her UFV Cascades will be able to play, the G.W. Graham grad goes to plan B

University of the Fraser Valley women’s basketball stars Taylor Claggett and Deanna Tuchscherer have signed with European professional clubs for the 2020-21 season.

Chilliwack’s Tuchscherer, a G.W. Graham grad and the reigning Canada West rookie of the year, is taking a one-year hiatus from the Cascades to join ZTE NKK in Zalaegerszeg, Hungary. She will play in that nation’s top league, the NB I/A.

Mission’s Claggett, who wrapped up a record-breaking five-year run with the Cascades in the spring, will suit up for Maree Basketball Club in Galway, Ireland. Maree is part of the Women’s Super League, the top tier of women’s basketball in Ireland.

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Claggett and Tuchscherer join Kayli Sartori (Lebanon, Cyprus, France) and Sara Simovic (Croatia) as Cascades women’s basketball products who have gone on to play professionally overseas.

“It’s amazing that these girls from our program have the opportunity to go to Europe and continue their development as basketball players,” UFV head coach Al Tuchscherer said. “Taylor has had an outstanding five-year career here at UFV, and I’m confident she will excel in the professional ranks.

“Deanna has a unique opportunity this year to grow and challenge herself in a pro environment, and our program stands to benefit from those experiences in the longer term.”

Tuchscherer earned a series of conference and national accolades during a sparkling rookie campaign. In addition to her Canada West rookie of the year nod, she was a conference third team all-star, and a U SPORTS all-rookie selection. The six-foot-one forward finished second on the team to Claggett in scoring (15.4 points per game, 10th in CW) and rebounds (6.2), and set a Cascades team record for points in a CW game with 35 vs. Trinity Western on Jan. 16. She also led all rookies nation-wide in total points (308) and field goals (123).

The Canada West basketball season has been postponed until at least January, with a decision on a possible second-semester schedule to be made by Oct. 8. Given that uncertainty, Tuchscherer felt that taking the opportunity to develop in a pro basketball setting was a wise move. Her four remaining seasons of eligibility will be intact when she returns to UFV in the fall of 2021.

“It’s definitely scary, but it’s also an adventure,” said Tuchscherer, who plans to take UFV online courses towards her kinesiology degree while she’s in Hungary. “I think I can grow a lot on and off the court, taking this leap.

“For me, the big thing is, it’s the best opportunity for me to make the most out of this year and develop as a player. I’ll get to continue to play competitively, and it’s not a guarantee that we’ll get to do that to the level we want this year (in Canada).

“I’ll get to play against older, stronger, more experienced women, and I’ll gain experience. It’ll be a different style of basketball – all across the world, there are different flairs to the game. It’s the same game at the heart of it, but I’ll get to learn different things that they do there that we wouldn’t maybe think to do here.”


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