Boag lands pro deal
On Aug. 7, while traveling around Europe with friends and family, Carly Boag received a phone call from her agent, Richard Dale Mock.
Pack your bags, he said. And most importantly, pack your sneakers.
The former Minot State women’s basketball star received an offer from Leon Tregor Basket 29, a professional club located in the small village of Pleyber-Christ, France.
“I was in Germany at the time, so I caught the earliest flight to France the next morning and haven’t left here since,” Boag said.
Boag, the Beavers’ all-time leader in points (1,793), rebounds (1,018) and blocks (107), latched on with the club and signed shortly thereafter. In addition to the heap of awards and accolades she received during her collegiate career, Boag can now add one more: the title of Minot State’s first professional women’s basketball player.
“It’s a dream come true for me and I’m just lucky I got an opportunity like this,” Boag said. “I have to remind myself all the time that I live and play in France because I really can’t believe it.”
According to MSU coach Sheila Green Gerding, who played one semi-professional season in New Zealand, “basketball used to be the sideshow, but now it’s the main event.”
“The biggest thing is you’re playing basketball and doing what you love every day without anything else involved,” Green Gerding said. “Your whole life, you’ve got to go to school and basketball is always a bonus. And now you’re getting paid to do the thing you absolutely love to do. It’s almost surreal. You can’t believe you get paid to do that because you’d do that without getting paid.”
Leon Tregor 29, which plays in Ligue 2, the second-tier French league, signed the 6-foot-2 Boag to a nine-month contract, running Aug. 8 through May 7. Along with getting a chance to play pro hoops, Boag is also excited about returning to the perimeter-based FIBA offense.
“They play FIBA, which is mostly transition and motion – which I am used to, as I grew up playing FIBA in Australia,” Boag said. “It is not as structured as college (basketball) and it’s a lot faster.”
On more than one occasion, Boag, who as a senior was named the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference player of the year, has joked before that she “didn’t know how to post up” when she started her career at MSU. Over the course of four years, Green Gerding’s staff molded her into a dominant force on the block. She finished her career as the lone MSU player – men’s or women’s – to reach 1,500 points and 1,000 rebounds. In her final performance at the MSU Dome, Boag poured in 46 points – with nearly all coming in the paint or at the charity stripe – and grabbed 16 rebounds.
Her post presence, coupled with her FIBA-style upbringing, will fit in well in France, Green Gerding said.
“She’ll thrive in that kind of system because she has all the tools,” the longtime Beavers coach said. “It’s a really fun style of basketball to play. Your athleticism really works to your advantage because it’s such a fast-paced game.”
Boag understands the demands of professional hoops – more than a step up from NAIA and Division II ball. In practice she’ll go up against players like Alexis Rogers, a former all-Mid-American Conference first-team selection at Division I program Bowling Green State, and Oleksandra Chek, formerly a member of Ukraine’s under-18 and under-20 national teams.
“I think she’s going to really get challenged because she’s going to be playing against players of equal or better caliber every day in practice and every game,” Green Gerding said.
Still, Boag admits that her greatest challenge might be living apart from her twin sister, MSU redshirt senior forward Christina Boag.
“The longest we have ever been separated was for three months about two years ago when Chris went home for the summer to have surgery on her wrist,” Carly Boag said. “It will be a different experience because being my twin, we are always together and do everything together.”
She expects to stay up late to watch Christina’s final season with the Beavers via live stream. Likewise, her sister hopes to keep an eye on Carly’s professional career.
“I actually asked her the other day and she was going to go ask and figure out if we could (watch online),” Christina Boag said.
The club’s opener is Sept. 27 against Elorn Olympique Landerneau, with the season running through April. Green Gerding expects many Beavers fans to keep tabs on Carly Boag’s career.
“We’re just very proud of her at Minot State and it’s just one more thing she’s accomplished,” Green Gerding said. “I know her teammates are excited for her.
“It’s an awesome thing also for Minot State University. People in France have probably never heard of Minot, N.D., but I’m sure it’s been talked about now. I think that’s pretty cool for our community and our university as a whole.”
Ryan Holmgren covers Minot State athletics and high school sports. Follow him on Twitter @ryanholmgren.