Atmore native signs with professional team
By Andrew Garner
If it wasn’t for her family and friends, Courtney English wouldn’t be where she is today.
The Atmore native recently signed a professional women’s basketball contract to play with Bosnia and Herzegovina in the BC Playoff League out of Italy.
“It’s amazing,” English said about signing. “It’s an honor. It’s really and truly a blessing. I’ve been waiting for an opportunity to showcase my talent.”
For the past three years, English has been playing in the WUBA for a semi pro basketball team in the Atlanta Lady Assault.
“That exposure gives you an opportunity to build character through a professional league versus in college,” she said. “You’re playing with the best of the best, and women who are a lot older than you. It teaches you how to grow up.”
In college, English played two years at LBWCC in Andalusia before getting a full ride at Miles College in Birmingham.
English signed with is 13 Basketball Management, which is an agency based in Italy.
What got English into playing basketball was her brother, Joe Rabb, who used to coach her in the local YMCA youth basketball league.
“He was a basketball player for Escambia County High School,” she said.
English left for Europe last Friday from Atlanta, and will have training camp starting Sept. 23. Her first game is slated for Sept. 30. She will be playing a 35-game season, not including the postseason.
English, at 5-foot-11, will be playing as a small forward or shooting guard on the court.
English said she chose basketball because it became a sport where she blossomed into a great athlete.
“A lot of my family members played a lot of sports,” she said. “I played softball for the city league that’s over at Bryant Park. I played T-ball; I played volleyball, and got the chance to do track.
“I got to play a lot of sports before I got to do my craft (basketball),” she said. “I’ve never gotten another feeling from any other sport. I get an adrenaline rush getting a block. It was something different, a feeling on the inside. I was able to express myself. It was never a wrong time to do it. It was more exciting to me.”
English said through her family and friends believing in her, she wouldn’t be getting the chance to live out her dream.
“I want to thank my family and hometown for always believing in me,” she said. “People always come up to me and say, ‘ain’t you No. 23 who played for the high school team? You’re going to get somewhere, just keep on doing it.’
“I want to thank them for always recognizing me and acknowledging me,” she said.
English won’t return home until May of 2016.
She is the daughter of Patricia Gulley and Billy English, both of Atmore.