AFTER opting out of going directly to play in the Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA), Waltiea Rolle has her bags packed as she heads out today to begin her professional career in the women’s league in the Czech Republic.
Rolle, 22, was drafted in April with the 36th pick in the first round of the WNBA draft by the Minnesota Lynx. But instead of going to play directly in the league, she decided to complete her degree in sports administration at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill.
In the meantime, she decided that it would be best for her to get some exposure playing overseas before she joins the WNBA. She recently signed an undisclosed deal to play for the DS Karlin, a press release from her agent Jacquie Rolle of Xcel Management Group International, LLC confirmed.
The release further stated that DS Karlin president Daniel Kurucz is excited to have Rolle join their team for the 2013-14 season where they will be using her at the centre position. She is expected to add much depth to the team that completed the 2012-13 season with a 5-17 win-loss record and should be able to make an impact right away.
Rolle, who was unavailable for comments, is expected to begin her pro career when the DS Karlin takes on Lokomotiva on Saturday.
The former CR Walker student barely knew how to play the game until she was recruited by Frank Rutherford’s Elite Programme at the age of 13 to complete her education at Westbury Christian High School in Houston, Texas. She went on to help her team secure the State Championship in the 2008-09 season.
Her performance was impressive enough to enable coach Sylvia Hathchell to provide her with a full scholarship to the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill where she shined with an average of 11.7 points per game, 6.4 rebounds and 2.3 blocked shots, the latter of which helped her to post a career total of 243 for 10th in ACC history. She was also named to the ACC All-Tournament 2nd team and twice to the ACC All-Defensive team.
In an interview with The Tribune following the draft, Rolle said she’s looking forward to playing for Minnesota next year.
“I really just want to be able to finish school and get my degree first. I will go to Europe in October to play for about six months before I come back and play in the WNBA,” she said then. “But it’s crazy because I never thought that I would be where I am right now. Growing up in Nassau and not focusing on playing basketball and one day my life just turned around when I went to Houston and now I’m drafted in the WNBA. I never expected it to happen like this.”
Considering the fact that during her junior season she had to sit out the Tar Heels’ first 10 games to give birth to her one-year-old daughter, Carlisa, the 6-foot-6 Rolle had a remarkable comeback to complete her eligibility and now she’s headed to the beginning of what promises to be an exciting pro career.