By: Casey Sanders
Big12 Campus Correspondent
Colorado freshman forward Julie Seabrook came to Boulder with a wealth of international basketball experience playing for the Junior Canadian National team.
For her first three years of high school, Seabrook attended St. Mary’s in Vancouver, British Columbia. During those three years she was a member of the British Columbia Provincial team and in 2006 was named the team's Most Valuable Player.
In her senior season, she headed east to Hamilton, Ontario, to attend St. Mary’s Catholic School and play basketball for the prestigious National Elite Developmental Academy (NEDA).
The NEDA program is renowned for recruiting Canada's best players - only 12 players are selected.
“It was an honor. We were the second group of girls to go through the program,” Seabrook said. “I could not have passed up the opportunity because it was such a good experience, and the exposure I gained was important.”
With the NEDA program, Seabrook had a chance to travel to Slovakia in 2007 and play in the FIBA U19 World Championships. She saw action in six of the eight games and scored five points in a victory over Brazil. Canada team placed ninth overall. Seabrook also helped her team qualify for the FIBA World Championship this past summer after taking second at the Americas U18 Championship in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
“It was a really great experience,” Seabrook said. “I was able to go to a world class competition and play against other countries and their best players and see where Canada fit into the international competition.”
After graduating from high school, Seabrook chose to attend college in the United States. After considering both Rice and San Diego State, she decided to play for Colorado and coach Kathy McConnell-Miller.
“Colorado had everything that I was looking for,” Seabrook said. “I got along great with the girls on the team, and I just love Boulder and the atmosphere, and it reminds me a lot of Vancouver.”
The Buffs' roster has just three seniors. Seabrook's international playing experience has helped her gain significant playing time in her first season in Division I basketball.
“I think her international play has really prepared her for this level of play,” McConnell-Miller said. “Julie comes from a great training program in Canada (NEDA) that is almost like a college training program, and that has prepared her more than the typical high school athlete in the United States.”
Since 2000, Colorado recruited outside the United States with 10 international players from seven different countries playing for the Buffs. Senior forward Dina Pitterniece is the only other international player (Riga, Latvia) on the current roster.
Seabrook is the third Candadian to play for the Buffs in program history. Another notable Canadian was Erin Carson from Abbotsford, British Columbia. Her four-year career in the late 1980s left her ninth on the school's career scoring list with 1,501 points.
Seabrook has appeared in all seven games this season averaging 16.7 minutes, 3.1 points, and 3.9 rebounds. She also boasts the team’s second-best field goal percentage at 56.3 percent behind senior Kara Richards.
“She has exceeded our expectations this year," McConnell-Miller said. "She has evolved into a player that is significant right now for this basketball team, and that is because she understands what is going on offensively. That is also why she has been getting the minutes that she is receiving.”