Women’s basketball player from Greece works through differences in U.S. culture

First-year Anna-Maria Manta trains in an exercise with the U.S. Marice Corps Oct. 8 at Virtue Field
[/media-credit] First-year Anna-Maria Manta trains in an exercise with the U.S. Marice Corps Oct. 8 at Virtue Field
The first year of college is a huge transition for most American students but for international students, it is more different.

First-year Anna-Maria Manta came to UVM from Athens, Greece.  In addition to adjusting to the independence and responsibility students have in college, Manta said she is adjusting to American life as well.

This not only includes American culture, but also the style of basketball.  The 5-foot-10 shooting guard said she is looking forward to an exciting season and first year of college.

She will be wearing number 33.

“In America, the team has goals as a whole, but you can clearly see some talented people doing their own thing and taking over,” Manta said. “Whereas it’s different in Europe. You see the team as a whole, not as a single player.”   Manta said communication is key in bridging the different styles of play as well as two languages.

She is confident in her ability to contribute on the floor as a well-rounded player, but said communication is definitely something that she will strive to improve upon in her first season on the team.  Adjusting to American culture and basketball are similar tasks, Manta said.

Despite being the only team member from overseas, she is not the only international athlete on the roster. First-years Hayley Robertson, Candice Wright, Lauren Handy and Courtney Wright are all from Ontario, Canada.

Americans are fast-paced individuals – sometimes unnecessarily so, Manta said.  She said things are slower-paced in Greece and how people “like to take their time” there.

She also said there is less of an emphasis on eating and spending time with family in America than in Greece.  Similarly, she notices how individual skill shines more in American basketball than Greek.

“In Europe [communication] happens, but not as much as here because everyone tries to help each other,” she said. “So that’s the one aspect, especially with the language barrier, that I really want to focus on.” It has always been her dream to play in America, she said.

“I’m very excited to play with my team this year,” Manta said.  Manta joins a young roster.

On their roster of 13, five players are first-years and three are sophomores.

Last season the team ended with a record of 5-24.  The team averaged 59 points a game last season.  

They also finished first in America East for offensive rebounds, defensive rebounds and blocked shots, according to the America East conference website. The team is returning with its leading scorer in sophomore Sydney Smith, according to UVM athletics.

In a preseason poll the Catamounts were picked to finish eighth in the America East conference out of nine teams.   The preseason starts at 1 p.m. Nov. 7 when UVM hosts Saint Michael’s College at Patrick Gymnasium for their first exhibition match.

The team’s regular season will begin 11:30 a.m. Nov. 13 against Central Connecticut State University.