Alysa Horn of Kodiak doesn’t hold back on the basketball court. It’s a big reason why the former UAA star is now playing professionally in Germany, where she is the leading scorer for league-leading Osnabrück.
She goes all out in life, too. Just look at her busy off-the-court schedule that includes coaching an under-11 team, exploring every nook and cranny of the European country, volunteering at a school and learning the language.
“Germany has so much crazy history that I used to fall asleep reading about in high school/college history classes, but now loving reading up on and actually getting to get experience it,” she told me. “Earlier this year, we went to Berlin for a camp and I whipped out the nerd glasses and read up on what we were seeing. Pretty cool stuff.”
It’s even cooler how well Horn is playing in her second season in Germany. The 6-foot forward leads her new team with a 14.7 scoring average, ranks second with 1.4 steals and third with 6.1 rebounds in 10 games.
Best of all, Osnabrück leads the North Division with a 9-1 record. Her team last year wasn’t very good.
“It’s always fun to win,” she said.
Horn, 24, is also having more fun off the court since moving to Osnabrück, a renaissance city of about 160,000 people. It’s much larger than where she lived last year and it mixes today with yesteryear.
“Osnabrück is really cool because it combines the old with the new,” she said. “There are lots of old German houses built hundreds of years ago mixed in with new modern stores for shopping. Then, there’s always the occasional store that’s in a 500-year-old building. I would have to say though my favorite thing isn’t really shopping, but getting a coffee or ice cream with a friend and walking around the city”
Now if she could only get to the free-throw line. Horn is shooting 30-for-34 at the foul line, but getting there is a whole other story. The refs apparently let ‘em play in Germany.
“For the most part it’s no blood, no foul,” Horn said. “The game is more physical, in a dirty kind of way. I used to hate the refs before I finally accepted that I was never going to get any calls when someone would hold me on a box out or elbow me hard on their way to the basket.”
The rules are also different.
“For example, you have to straddle the halfcourt line when inbounding the ball at the start of a quarter,” she said. “You cannot take an open step out of triple threat and you have to immediately put the ball on the floor when you catch it on the run. I call the last rule an ‘American killer’ because every American gets called on a travel for this.”
No matter the obstacles, Horn continues to thrive in her new environment.
“I love it. Not only is it amazing to continue to play a game and do what I love for my job, but I get to experience a new culture, make new friends and meet new people in faraway places – from Alaska that is – and see a different side of the world,” Horn said.
“It’s hard being away from family and friends back home, but the sacrifice is worth it to get to truly experience a different part of the world. I am very grateful that basketball has been able to teach me so much and take me so far.”