Willis in third year playing basketball in Italy

Published 2:44 am Monday, January 28, 2008

By By KEVIN TRAVIS, Sports Editor
Sure, she gets homesick at times. But it’s hard to turn down an opportunity to live in Italy, play the game you love and get paid for doing so.
Courtney Willis, a former star player at East Carolina, is in her third year playing basketball in Italy. After playing her first season with Central S. Palladio Vicenza, Willis has played the last two seasons with Carispe La Spezia.
Willis, who did some part-time modeling work with other basketball players as a way to promote this season, said it’s not all fun and games.
Willis is having a solid season as she’s averaging 13.1 points and 8.1 rebounds per game. She’s had high games of 26 points and 16 rebounds, coming up with four double-doubles throughout the year.
Last year, Willis averaged 9.9 points and 6.6 rebounds per game, one season after putting up 16.0 points and 9.6 rebounds a game with Centro S. Palladio Vicenza.
A fan favorite at ECU, Willis is still signing plenty of autographs in Italy.
She believes that those fans don’t often realize what the professional basketball players have to go through just to play a game.
Willis said that playing pro ball isn’t for everyone.
Willis knows she’s one of the lucky few who gets paid to play the game she loves in a different country.