It’s going to be a long few months for Greenvale’s Monique Andriuolo as she waits to head to college in the US.
The 18-year-old rising basketball star has signed with Pepperdine University in California.
Andriuolo will visit the US next month, but won’t start college until June next year.
She said the college basketball experience had always been her dream.
“From a young girl, that’s where I’ve wanted to go and I strived to get there every time I trained.
Signing with Pepperdine – she will be the university’s first Australian – caps off a big 12 months for Andriuolo, who has just completed year 12 at Maribyrnong Sports College.
She was part of the victorious Vic Metro team at the under-20 Australian National Championships earlier this year and was a junior development player for Women’s National Basketball League side Dandenong Rangers.
She was captain of the School Sports Victoria under-19 team that won silver at the national championships and was named in the tournament’s all-star team.
Andriuolo also made the under-19 Australian Gems squad. While she didn’t make the final team, the opportunity was one she made the most of.
“We had a training camp for three days with the best girls in the country,” she said. “Such a good opportunity, to be with them and train really intensely.”
This year, Andriuolo made the decision to return to Hume City Broncos.
After initially thinking she would play most of her basketball with the Broncos’ Big V youth league side, she cemented her spot in the championship women’s squad before the season started.
That meant manning up on three-time Big V State Championship most valuable player Colleen Planeta at training every week.
The move proved a good one, as the Broncos won the state championship title.
“Hume is really close to my house,” Andriuolo said. “There’s such a good group of girls.
“That was really good experience, playing with older players. I was the youngest in the team. They taught me so much.
“I used to play on her [Planeta] at training and it was such a challenge, which I was always up for.
“She’s taught me heaps about her game and the game of basketball and looking at things differently.”
While waiting to head to college, Andriuolo will still spend plenty of time on the court.
She’ll again represent Victoria at the under-20 national championships in February and will play with the Broncos until she departs.