SLCC freshman Lizzy Harrison hails from a small town called Bury St. Edmonds in Suffolk, England. Three weeks ago, she landed in Salt Lake City, and is now experiencing life in a whole new world.
The UK native can jump more than five feet into the air. Back home, she won the basketball championship for her college league during her second year. She did a lot of investigating with coaches back home, and she decided that SLCC was the best place to play college basketball.
“It was strange how it all happened,” Harrison says. “It was through word of mouth, and I didn’t know anything about Salt Lake Community College until one of the coaches said, ‘why don’t you look at the Junior colleges.’ I came to look around and the facilities here are incredible; they’re like nothing back home.”
Since coming to America and getting a feel for how basketball is played here, she notices a difference in how coaches approach the game. She likes the coaches, what they’re about, and what they want to do with the program.
Harrison has already made friends away from home. She may be on her own and away from her family here in the United States, but she won’t be exploring it alone. Living with a few teammates on the basketball team has made it easier to adjust.
“It’s only been a few weeks and I feel like I’ve known the girls I’m living with for ages,” Harrison says. “Everyone here has made moving from the other side of the world so much easier. They’re so friendly and welcoming.”
She notices many differences here, ranging from shopping to the people, culture, food and weather. Fascinated with the many kinds of foods America has to offer, Harrison and is excited to try them all.
“There’s so much variety here,” Harrison says. “When I go into Wal-Mart, they’ve got, like, a hundred different kinds of Cheerios, and I don’t know which one to get. I don’t know what half the stuff is on the shelves. I’m still getting’ used to the temperature here because it’s so much hotter than back home.”
At age 14, Harrison began playing basketball as a hobby.
Her continued play and ability to jump helped her gain recognition at school. She came to love the sport and wanted to take it to a higher level.
When Harrison was 16, she attended Oaklands Basketball Academy in St. Albans, England. Although she had to move away from her family and home, her love for the sport made it feel as if she never left. She played there for three years, training every day and continuing her education.
“When I moved to the basketball academy, I knew that I wanted to take basketball a bit more seriously,” Harrison says. “I knew that I wanted to come to America and play college basketball; that was my main goal. Going to the academy helped me tremendously, and I wouldn’t be here today if I didn’t go there.”
The variety of academics is a big reason why she chose Salt Lake Community College. Despite being undecided about a major, Harrison has always enjoyed painting, and she would like to go into a field related to art and graphic design.
Before coming to the U.S., Harrison had the chance to attend some events in the 2012 Summer Olympics. She saw both the quarterfinal and semifinal rounds of Women’s Basketball in London. It was an unforgettable experience for her.
Harrison has her own set of athletic skills beyond the court. While competing in the high-jump at a regional level, she won numerous competitions. Running track and field along with swimming helped establish her athletic taste. But basketball remains her passion.
“I can’t wait to get into the [basketball] season and start playing games,” Harrison says.