Pospisilova turning heads at Downers Grove North
International student Julie Pospisilova has become an integral member of the squad at the Downers Grove North (DGN) girls' basketball program.
With Jaida Green off to the Big 10 and Penn State University, not much was expected from the Lady Trojans this season in what many concluded would be a period of rebuilding.
Enter 6-foot-1 Pospisilova, all the way from Prague, who is a foreign exchange student living with the family of sophomore team player Colby Murphy.
With Pospisilova’s combination of ball-handling wizardry and post-play adeptness, suddenly nothing seems out of reach for DGN.
“She’s been a great addition and is absolutely a high-level player,” Downers Grove North Coach Stephan Bolt told the DuPage Policy Journal. “She also has a high basketball IQ and has been a great teammate. She really gives us a chance every time we take the floor.”
All that from someone Bolt had not accounted for going into the season.
“I knew we had a transfer exchange student coming in that had played the game, but I took the attitude I would see what she could do after she actually got here,” he said. “I can say now she’s been more than any of us could have hoped for. She’s one of those players that makes everyone else raise their level a notch or so.”
The Trojans have come to follow her lead, finishing 3-1 at the recent Glenbard East Rachel Bach Tournament -- where Pospisilova was named MVP.
Pospisilova’s early dominance has been enough to attract attention from as far away as Big 10 country, where she is drawing interest from several schools, including a formal offer from Indiana.
Playing on the big stage comes as nothing new for Pospisilova, who has four years of international experience and was the starting point guard on the U16 team that won the European Championships in 2015.
Her dazzling breakout on the U.S. scene has come as her coaches still try to figure out the best way to get the most out of her unique skill set -- and as she tackles learning how to effectively communicate with them.
“She handles and shoots it like a guard, but she’s capable of playing in the post and is smart enough to recognize and exploit mismatches,” Bolt said. “She’s been willing to do whatever we’ve asked, and her skill set allows her to excel at all of it.”
As for the language barrier, Bolt added, Pospisilova works just as tirelessly at improving her English as she does converting her shots. Despite having at least two more years of school to complete in her homeland, she is leaning toward attending college in the U.S., and thinking of majoring in economics or engineering.
"She's getting better at it," Bolt said of her limited English. "She's definitely working hard."
Bolt thinks Pospisilova’s teammates have come to understand and appreciate that.
“Kids kind of naturally look up to her just because (of her talent),” he said of his straight-A junior star. “It’s more difficult for her to lead verbally right now, but she leads by example in terms of her effort and competitive nature.”