Thursday, August 05, 1999

XU's Kremer to play in Germany

Becomes 1st Muskie woman to play in pros

The Cincinnati Enquirer

Nikki Kremer
(Jeff Swinger photo)

| ZOOM |
        When the Xavier women's basketball season ended with a close NCAA Tournament loss to Connecticut, Musketeers senior Nikki Kremer didn't want to ever pick up a ball again. She's over that feeling now.

        The Mother of Mercy High School graduate will become the first Xavier women's basketball player to compete professionally. She signed a one-year contract to play for the Osnabrucker, Germany, club team in the Bundesliga Damen league. She leaves Friday for Osnabrucker, about one hour northeast of Dusseldorf.

        “I'm nervous about the basketball,” Kremer said. “I don't know quite how European basketball goes. I just want to make sure they like me. Whenever you're new on a team, you have to earn the respect of your teammates. I want to be able to contribute right away.”

        London-based agent Abi Benson saw the statistics from the UConn game (Kremer had 23 points and six assists) and the NCAA stats (Kremer was second in the nation in assists per game) on the Internet. Benson then contacted XU coach Melanie Balcomb, who sent her a tape, and asked if Kremer would be interested in playing overseas.

        At first, Kremer said no. But Balcomb convinced her it would be a great opportunity.

        “I'm already completely thankful for that,” Kremer said.

        Kremer had arthroscopic knee surgery the first week in May. A broken bone was discovered in her leg. She spent a few weeks on crutches and did not start playing again until the end of June.

        At 22, she will be the youngest player on her team, which includes one other American. Kremer will play both guard positions.

        She hopes one day to coach and teach and thinks this experience will help her. She also knows she can lead the way for future Musketeers wanting to play professional basketball.

        “I think that's just how women's basketball is progressing,” she said. “We're getting better. Hopefully I'm paving the way for future teammates, because a lot of them already have the potential to do what I am about to do.”


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