Former Kentucky WBB guard Sabrina Haines ready for second stint of overseas basketball

Zack Geogheganabout 2 months


Aritcle written by:Zack GeogheganZack Geoghegan


<small>(Britney Howard | UK Athletics)<small>
[caption id="attachment_276195" align="aligncenter" width="758"] (Britney Howard | UK Athletics)[/caption] Sabrina Haines was robbed of the full overseas experience, but she's earned herself a second chance. The former Kentucky Women's Basketball guard spent only a few months in Serbia after graduating from UK following the conclusion of the 2019-20 season. The COVID-19 pandemic forced her to move back home before she could even get settled in. For those unfamiliar with the always-smiling and energetic Haines, she played just one season for the 'Cats after three years at Arizona State and swiftly became a staple of the backcourt for UK. Haines averaged 9.7 points and 3.9 rebounds as a redshirt senior at Kentucky while shooting an elite clip of 40 percent from beyond the arc. The 5-foot-10 guard was a necessary component to what made Matthew Mitchell's final Kentucky team such a dangerous outside scoring squad. Haines was also an incredibly underrated defender on a team known for stellar on-ball defense. Her final college season was ultimately cut short due to COVID-19 and while she wasn't picked up in the 2020 WNBA Draft, it didn't take long for her to sign a professional deal in Serbia. But even then, the coronavirus prevented her from a normal pro debut. After playing in about eight or nine games, Haines made the decision to move back to the United States. The Serbian league she played in could not afford constant COVID-19 testing as cases continued to rise across the globe. Prioritizing her safety, Haines moved back home to Arizona where she stayed with her family. Once cases began to drop, she found a new opportunity overseas--this time in Sweden. Haines announced on July 16 that she has signed her second professional contract with KFUM-Uppsala in Sweden, which is located about 40 miles north of Stockholm. The city of Uppsala is a college town, which Haines told KSR fits exactly into what she's looking for. The plan is for her to get out there the first week of September to begin practicing and training. Her contract officially begins on September 1. She'll be the only American player on the roster, something she became relatively used to during her brief time in Serbia. Luckily for her, the majority of people in Sweden speak English, so she won't have to use Google Translate nearly as much, which she called her "best friend" while living in Serbia. Haines will have an assistant coach she can relate to, though. Chioma Namaka played her college basketball at Georgia Tech and later went onto the WNBA before moving into an assistant role with Uppsala. Haines also grew up with a friend that once played in Sweden. "One of my friends that I grew up playing basketball with she played in the Swedish basketball league the past two years." Haines recently told KSR. "So I'm like 'I need your cheat sheet, please, everything that helps you give it to me, give me all the tips and everything'." Even though she was only able to play a short amount of time in Serbia, Haines was quickly introduced to the difference between basketball in the United States compared to Europe. "European players just play different overall," Haines said. "It's hard to explain without showing film, but one of my old coaches used to say a whole lot more herky-jerky. How Luka (Doncic) plays is just a good person to look at because that's how a lot of European players play. But I think playing at Kentucky and playing at the high level I was playing at, both at Kentucky and ASU, it really prepared me to go play overseas. You're playing top people in the nation and top teams in the U.S. and then you're blessed to be prepared to play all those people who are the best where they're at, in their country, in their time." After growing up in Arizona and playing basketball overseas, Haines still doesn't forget her time at Kentucky. "I actually went to visit (Kentucky) probably two, three weeks ago so it was good seeing everybody and getting caught up," Haines added. "Hearing how stuff changed for them during the pandemic. I told them it sucked that our season got canceled but I'm glad I didn't have to go through all the stuff they had to go through during the season. It was definitely very, very, very different. But I definitely keep in touch with them. They're family for life."

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