Patrycja Jaworska: From Poland, with game


Patrycja Jaworska, a Miles Community College freshman from Poland, is enjoying her basketball days in Miles City. She’s a point guard for the Lady Pioneers and is looking to improve her game, which already is at a high level. (STAR PHOTO/Sharon Moore)
By: 
ABE WINTER
Star Staff Writer

Patrycja Jaworska can’t be blamed for being a tad homesick.

After all, the 19-year-old freshman at Miles Community College is about 4,900 miles from her home in what she calls “the most beautiful city in Poland.”

Her hometown is Sleza Wroclaw, which may become a hot spot in recruiting for first-year MCC women’s basketball coach Nate Vogel.

No, the college doesn’t have that kind of travel budget, but Vogel proved he can land good prospects by watching them on film and getting advice from coaching friends around the world.

“I miss my family, but our team is very close,” Jaworska said in a recent interview. “It’s like a second family for me here, so it’s not too bad. This is the closest team I’ve ever played with.”

Jaworska, who is happy to be playing in Miles City, averaged 12 points and four assists last season while playing in a first-tier league in Poland. That’s would be the country’s middle tier, sandwiched between the Elite and second tier.

She started playing at age 8 in a country where basketball isn’t considered a major sport. Poland doesn’t have basketball in its school systems, so she played on club teams. Last year’s wasn’t successful, playing on a young team against players as old as 30.

She works hard on her skills and considers herself a one-sport woman.

“If you want to master something, you have to be focused on it,” she said.

She’s definitely focused, hoping to improve her shooting percentage.

“Last year it was about 30 percent,” she said. “My goal is to shoot 55 to 60 percent. I also need to be more vocal as a point guard and be smarter in my decisions, and sometimes I need to be more aggressive and create something on my own.

“Coaches expect us to be more creative.”

Although her numbers through eight games aren’t what she’d like, she has been impressive.

“She can handle the ball and get to the rim,” Vogel said. “She knocks down shots, but she wants to get everybody involved and some games four or five others have more shots. We would rather not have that happen.”

She is shooting 48.3 percent (39-81) from the field and 37.2 percent on 3-pointers (16-43). Her free throw shooting is at 64.3 percent (18-28).

Jaworska probably can be considered her own harshest critic.

“I always expect more. I’m hardly ever satisfied with my game,” she said. “I feel like I can always do better.”

But she also has confidence, like after missing a shot. “Then I think I will make the next one.”

Ewa Laskowska, the associate head coach at Division I Wichita State, is a friend of Jaworska’s coach in Poland. So, does that mean a one-and-done career at MCC?

Not necessarily, and that’s not in her immediate plans.

“We’ll see … maybe next year or in two years,” she said of the prospects of moving on up in basketball levels.

“We still have a lot of things we have to work on here,” she said. “I feel, from day to day, we’re doing better. If we all do the little things coach wants us to do on the court and off the court, we will be really good.”

Jaworska isn’t the only long-distance recruit, being joined by three players from Spain, two from Hawaii and one from Montenegro on the MCC roster.

They work hard and it’s paying off, their coach said.

After a humbling start — a loss to visiting Southern Idaho — the Pioneers are have won six of their past seven games.

“She’s playing well, kind of the glue for us” Vogel said of Jaworska. “She gets the ball up the floor for us, gets us into our offense.”

He also likes the family aspect of his first team at MCC, with Jaworska a big part of it.

“Everybody gets along well,” Vogel said. “It makes me feel good that we recruited the right kids.”

“I like it here,” Jaworska said. “(Basketball) is more dynamic and unpredictable.”

She certainly has lofty goals.

“I want to win every game,” Jaworska said. “I know we can’t win every game, but we’ll do our best.

“We hope to make our fans happy and proud of us.”

(Contact Abe Winter at starcity@midrivers.com or 406-234-0450.)

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