“My name is Tayla Dalton. I’m from Auckland New Zealand. Living out the dream playing Division 1 basketball and studying over here.”
It has been two years since Tayla embarked on her journey as a student athlete on St Mary’s College California.
Saint Mary’s College of California is located on the top of a mountain and surrounded by luscious bushes and trees.
Dalton added: “It’s pretty beautiful round out campus. So much greenery.”
How Tayla survives as a student athlete?
“It’s tough. It’s busy. But I think what’s so cool is everyday, you’re doing what you love on the basketball court. I’m around my best friends while playing the game I love, at a very high level.”
Sometimes when people think of student athletes in college, it’s easy to advertise as a dream because it really is, but it’s harder than it looks.
“Obviously, you know! Everyone looks at the cool gear! And all the traveling and people going in jets, You know. And all the different amazing stadiums to get to play. Don’t get me wrong, you’ve got to do all of that, but it’s the hard work behind closed doors.”
“It’s of being away from home, it’s challenging, It’s tough and it takes a lot of mental toughness.”
But once you surround yourself with good people, it’s a pretty enjoyable experience.
What can young kiwi hoopers do to get to your level?
“I had a list and I made sure my game was built around that, you know: the hustle player, bringing all of the energy. (Just being) Super chatty and energetic on the court and I think wants to know who you are as a player and then you can put that on court.”
“Then not only does that help in your highlight reel but when coaches come and watch you play, it’s consistent.”
“It might seem scary at first to get on that plane and get over here. But once you get here, you’re making friends for life, you’re seeing a different part of the world. And you’re playing really high level basketball.”
“There’s some great competition over here and I think it’s helping build our pathway for women and sport back home.”
To hear how Tayla survives as a student athlete, watch the Tayla Dalton interview, hosted by Kiwihoopers’ own Davy Chen on YouTube.
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