Saturday 21 September 2019

Brunell star Bey achieves pro goal three years after shooting


Breana Bey. Photo: Sportsfile
Breana Bey. Photo: Sportsfile
Barry Lennon

Barry Lennon

Three years after being shot, Jersey City native Breana Bey has finally realised her dream to play basketball professionally, albeit in Cork.

The American begins her career tomorrow as Brunell begin their season against the Portlaoise Panthers, after doctors gave her a '50:50' chance of playing again following the shooting. 

The then-university student was hit by a stray bullet on a visit to the local shop which was attacked by two unknown marksmen.

"There was a lot people hanging around outside and as we were walking towards the crowd to go in, two people with hoodies came out and just started shooting," she recalled. "I didn't know I got hit until I couldn't run anymore. I took my shoe off and it was dripping blood. It was just the wrong place at the wrong time."

Despite the doctor's pessimistic outlook, Bey returned to school after a week of therapy. Basketball soon followed.

The 22-year-old has enjoyed moving to Cork and being her first time out of the US, there has been a culture shock. Most notably Irish people's "friendliness".

"Over here, people are smiling, they're like, 'oh, how you doing?' I like it but it's really different. Everybody is super happy just to meet someone. Back home it's not like that. It takes people time to adjust to you," she observed.

Bey has had to absorb a few other surprises in the month since she arrived in Ireland, notably the weather.

"When I was coming to Ireland, I thought it was going to be hot. I thought of Florida weather but it's not, it's cold," she said. 

"It's just like Jersey. We get everything the same except y'all don't snow over here. The only thing I really knew was y'all loved to drink and party." 

Bey played Division 1 college basketball while studying for a bachelor's degree in digital arts from Florida's Stetson College. This experience has been put to good use as she has been tasked with coaching three teams while playing here.

"I'm learning stuff about the game here too because y'all know stuff about basketball too," she said.

"The game is totally different here. The rules are different. I just heard they just changed the travelling rule."

Despite these minor set-backs, she has shown she can overcome bigger ones. And with Portlaoise missing Claire Melia, instrumental in Ireland U-18s' historic European success, the Cork side must fancy their chances with Bey on board.

Irish Independent

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