GREENSBORO, N.C. – Former UNCG women's basketball standout Jasmine Byrd has signed a contract to play professionally in Germany for the OKE Panthers.
The OKE Panthers, based in Osnabruck, Germany, play in the Damon Basketball Bundesligen's second division, in the 2. DBBL North. Byrd is one of three Americans on the roster.
"I absolutely love it in Germany, especially Osnabruck," Byrd said. "The people here are very nice and welcoming. The club is very organized, and this is a good place to start my career as a professional athlete. My teammates are very hard-working and fun at the same time, which makes this a great experience for me."
Byrd starred for the Spartans from 2003-07, graduating as the eighth-leading scorer in school history with 1,228 career points. She also holds the school record with 193 career 3-pointers and appears in the school's career top 10 in steals (sixth, 212) and free throw percentage (ninth, .733).
"We're just thrilled to death for Jasmine," UNCG coach Lynne Agee said. "She was a terrific player, a good shooter, a 15-point-per-game scorer for us. Playing professionally is exactly what she wanted to do, and she persevered and stayed after it. I'm proud to see her accomplish that for UNCG and the program, but I'm particularly proud for her because she's always wanted to do that. We're really excited that UNCG is represented over there in Germany."
Byrd was a Southern Conference All-Freshman selection in 2003-04 and earned All-SoCon First Team honors as a senior in 2006-07. The Dumfries, Va., native led UNCG with 15.3 points per game and a school-record 77 3-pointers in her final season in a Spartan uniform. She also led the team in scoring as a sophomore in 2004-05.
After attending a tryout camp in Bonn, Germany, Byrd signed a contract and reported to training camp Aug. 1.
"I went to my agent's exposure camp in June, giving myself one more opportunity to play overseas," Byrd said. "It's an amazing feeling when hard work pays off and you accomplish goals that you have set."
The OKE Panthers' season starts Sept. 26 against the Phoenix Hagen Ladies.
Byrd's former teammate Gini Grimsley also played in the DBBL last season, as she took the floor for the first division's Herner Turn Club in Herne, Germany. Byrd will become the third UNCG alumna to play professionally overseas in recent years, as Jacinda Lambert, a 2004 graduate, played professionally in Luxembourg and England.
- UNCG -