Eagles Express – Zoe Richards – Eckerd College

Catching up with Zoe Richards

Mainland Eagles Alumni Zoe Richards from Dunedin (St Hildas College) is currently based in St Petersburg, Florida where she attends Eckerd College. Previously she attended Gillette College with her twin sister Brittany who is currently playing at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. Recently we caught up with Zoe to discuss how the off season went and also to get an insight into college life while Zoe also gives some great advice for players looking to head over.


How’s did the pre-season go?

We have just finished pre-season, which is always tough. Pre-season training includes conditioning and weight training 3 mornings every week, plus we had pickup and individual works twice a week respectively as well. It was alot of hard work but very beneficial.


What was the biggest change going over to college?

The biggest change for me was the amount of time spent training, we would practice every single day however it would be for a lot longer than practices were back in New Zealand. The practices are also way more intense, and the players are very focused and committed. Another change I found was eating all my meals at the cafeteria, the food is different to what I eat back home, and it also took a while getting used to how the academic system works here.

What are some of the challenges?

Keeping on top of my academic workload in conjunction with trainings, balancing out everything as well as getting into a good sleeping schedule. How is the team looking this season? We haven’t had any games yet in pre-season, our first official game is on the 10th of November, so that will give us a good idea. We have a great team of players & I am looking forward to our season

What are you most looking forward to this year?

The fact I know what is expected of me and I am not going in there blind as I was last year is huge. I am really looking forward to getting back on that court and playing my heart.

What would your biggest advice be to New Zealanders currently looking to head over?

Make sure you take all the core classes you need to ensure you are eligible to study in the US. Soak up all the information and advice that your coaches are giving you, study and train hard as a great work ethic and attitude will take you a long way.

What degree are you doing?

Communications Degree with a minor in Psychology.

Is there a lot of work involved?

Yes there is a lot of work involved. It is something that I quite enjoy and I find it very interesting learning different skills, for example I took an argument and debate class which was a lot of fun. In general all degrees are going to take a lot of work and time, so no matter what degree you choose you need to make sure you set aside time to complete your work on time, and when the teachers offer you help you take it as it is important that you listen to them as they might give you extra credit and bonus marks if you go talk to them. There are also great resources available at the colleges, like the writing centre, maths lab etc, which I have taken advantage of and found very useful.

What have been some of most enjoyable things about the experience?

The places I have visited and the amazing people, families & basketball community that I have met through both of my colleges.

How easy is it to balance training and your school load?

It is super tough trying to get all your assignments and study for tests done while you are juggling 3 hours of training a day. You need to be really organised and plan ahead so that you know when assignments are due to ensure that you keep on track, especially when you are travelling for games.

What does a day in the season look like for you?

It depends on the day of the week. So usually I will have classes in the morning or an individual workout, classes in the afternoon and then at night we will have practice. Practice duration changes up all the time, sometimes we will have practice for 2 hours and then watch film, or before game day we will have a training day that is all related to the team we are playing against. On game day we will have class in the morning and then after the class we will have a walk through with the coach to review the opposition team and then if we have an away game we will travel by bus to the game and eat lunch on the way. The furthest we will travel in conference is about 5 hours by bus. After our away game we will have dinner, watch the boys play and then travel by bus in the middle of the night so that we are back in time for classes the next day If it is a home game we will have a special meal provided for us on campus in the afternoon and prepare for the game.

Eckerd College now head into the Eckerd College thanksgiving classic starting Saturday NZT. Follow the games at the below links.

Saturday 9am NZT V Daemen College (NY)

Livestats – http://www.statbroadcast.com/events/statbroadcast.php?t=1&gid=ecke

Livestream – http://sunshinestateconference.tv/eckerd/

Sunday 9am NZT V Le Moyne College

Livestats – http://www.statbroadcast.com/events/statbroadcast.php?t=1&gid=ecke

Livestream – http://sunshinestateconference.tv/eckerd/

The Mainland Eagles Academy was established in 2014 by the Canterbury Regional Basketball Foundation (sister organisation of the Canterbury Rams) to support male and female players throughout the South Island to pursue their dream of pursuing tertiary education & basketball excellence both in New Zealand and the United States.

Keep up to date with updates on past and present Eagles athletes on our Facebook, YouTube and twitter.

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/mainlandeaglesacademy/

Twitter – https://twitter.com/MainlandEagles

YouTube – https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCO1eZTT-hJaqWxFhRFmBDyw?view_as=subscriber

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