Former Winthrop women’s basketball great Dequesha McClanahan has signed a contract to play in Finland with Forssan Alku (FoA) for 2014-15.
McClanahan is scheduled to report to her new team in Forssa, Finland on September 3 for preseason workouts. The 2014-15 season will get underway in early October and will continue into March when the league playoffs are held. FoA will have a revamped roster and a new head coach this year. McClanahan will be among 13 new players joining the roster and will be one of three former American players on the club.
“It was a blessing, when I found out about the opportunity,” said McClanahan. “I had been waiting awhile. I hadn’t heard much from my agent over the summer, but she promised to keep my updated about opportunities. So I was anxious to find out where I was going, when I needed to be there and what I would be doing after I get to Finland.”
McClanahan completed her career as the all-time Winthrop and Big South Conference scoring leader with 2,277 points) and assist leader with 744, and became the first Winthrop athlete to be voted Big South Female Student-Athlete of the Year, and only the second player in league history to be voted Big South Player of the Year three times. She led the Eagles to the school’s first women’s Big South Championship and appearance in the NCAA tournament as she led the league in scoring (17.8 ppg) and assists (6.6 apg).
“I wasn’t looking at any specific country in which to play,” she said. “I was open to anything, and so whatever came my way I took into consideration. My agent did have another offer for me to play in Sweden, but the salary wasn’t as good as what Finland was offering.”
Winthrop head coach Kevin Cook is excited Dequesha has an opportunity to play professional basketball in Finland. “Very few people get paid to play a game and do something they love,” he said. “Dequesha gets to do this while experiencing a different culture at the same time. I have no doubt she will be a successful professional basketball player.”
McClanahan is the sixth former Winthrop women’s player to sign professionally with a European club. The others were Leigh-Ann Pursifull, Charlotta Wennefors, Eva Milevoj, Yvonne van Daalen, and Tiffany Rodd.