Basketball: Katie Ebzery brings back Russian point guard experience to Opals squad | photos

Katie Ebzery’s change of scenery took in Swan Lake, Red Square and Saint Petersburg but it was the Newcastle Olympian’s change of position that could prove pivotal for the Australian women’s basketball representative. 

The 27-year-old shifted from shooting guard to point guard while playing for Dynamo Moscow in the Russian Super League season and she believes the experience has increased her versatility on court, especially when it comes to the Opals and upcoming World Championship qualifiers. 

“Just being able to adjust was a big one – playing with different people under different circumstances,” Ebzery said.

“I was also playing point guard over there, which I haven’t really done in Australia before. That was a learning and growth opportunity for me while playing in a decent type of league and navigating my way through all the other aspects like language.

“It helps improve that side of my game and hopefully coming back I can use those point guard qualities a little bit better. It’s definitely a factor that will help me and adds another string to my bow in terms of Opals.

“That point guard guard position is where we need a little more support, so it will be good to offer that as an option.”  

Ebzery, who helped Dynamo Moscow finish fourth and earn a Euro League spot next season, returned to her family home at Charlestown this month after her post-Rio stint overseas.

She will re-join the Opals squad in June for a training camp in the US ahead of Asia-Pacific group matches against the likes of China and Japan in July. These are qualifiers for the 2018 World Championships in Spain.

It will be the Opals’ first major tournament under recently appointed head coach Sandy Brondello, who Ebzery happened to cross paths with while in Russia. 

“She’s played in the WNBA and she’s an ex-Opal so it will be great to see her take on everything,” Ebzery said.  

“After a bit of a disappointing Olympics campaign it will be nice to rebuild and see where she can take us.”

Ebzery said the Opals were after “redemption” at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics after the Opals were knocked out in the quarter-finals last year and missed a medal for the first time in five straight Games.

In the meantime, the fourth-year University student remains in the process of deciding whether to take up offers and return to Europe or stay in Australia where her former Sydney University Flames squad won the 2016-2017 title. 

And despite the best efforts of younger sister Alison she hasn’t yet committed to play a game for the Newcastle Hunters while at home.