Greek Life: Former Trojans Go Pro
Sept. 17, 2007
Former teammates and roommates Jamie Hagiya, Chloe Kerr and Shay Murphy have a little more space between them these days. Instead of bumping into each other in the hallway or the locker room, the three recent USC grads will be squaring off on court in the professional ranks, as all three have signed contracts for different teams in Greece. Murphy - who is coming off her rookie season in the WNBA with the Minnesota Lynx - is bound for the Ptolemaida-based club Apollon. Kerr has already settled into her new home in Athens as a member of AO Sporting. And Hagiya is off to Thessaloniki to play for Iraklis.
'Shay always wanted to be an entertainer, and now she's in `Grease'. I wish them all the luck in the world on Broadway,' USC head coach Mark Trakh joked. 'No, I think playing in Greece is a great opportunity for them. They get to not only further their basketball careers, they get to be enriched culturally. You can't put a price on that kind of education. It's going to be a great lifestyle for them and I think they'll really do well.'
For Hagiya, it will be the first real time spent living away from her family. A Torrance native, Hagiya wasn't far from home while at USC. Thessaloniki may boast similar proximity to the beach, but it's a much longer trip home. Still, Hagiya says she is looking forward to the opportunity to play and live overseas.
Also a Southern California kid, Murphy was close to home while at USC. When she was selected by the Lynx in the second round of the 2007 WNBA Draft, however, Murphy quickly uprooted herself and moved to Minnesota for the season. Her new hometown of Ptolemaida will put her around an hour-and-a-half away from Hagiya, her best friend and four-year teammate at Troy. Kerr will be somewhat further from the pair, as a resident of Athens in the south of Greece.
A native of Bolingbrook, Ohio, Kerr relied upon occasional road trips toward the midwest during season to get a taste of home, although her parents were in frequent attendance at games during Kerr's Trojan career. Kerr had signed as a free agent with the WNBA's Phoenix Mercury following her senior season but was not added to the roster for the 2007 season. This Greek experience will mark the first professional basketball for the 6-4 center along with 5-4 point guard Hagiya.
Murphy is transitioning her pro career in similar form to several other WNBA players, taking advantage of the break between WNBA seasons to compete overseas. In her rookie season with the Minnesota Lynx, Murphy appeared in 32 games, averaging 5.2 points and 3.3 rebounds per game to rank sixth on the team in scoring.