Written by Kaya van der Horst
After eight years of hard work and training, senior Archer Olson will continue her basketball career on the California Golden Bears women’s basketball team at University of California, Berkeley next year. The team plays in Division I and Olson will be one of the three incoming freshmen for the upcoming season.
Although her main focus is now basketball, Olson used to also play competitive volleyball up until the end of her freshmen year. After playing on both club and school teams and going to Central Coast Sections for volleyball and basketball, Olson realized the magnitude of the time commitment she was making and knew she needed to choose between the two sports. “I guess I picked basketball because I felt like there’s a lot more diversity and ways to make use of the smarts of the sport,” Olson said. “I loved playing volleyball, but I feel I have more of a chance to stand out and be a more well-rounded player in basketball.”
Upon her high school graduation, Olson will have 20 days of summer before she and the rest of the team move to the Berkeley campus to begin their training. Unlike her other classmates who will room in dorms, athletes live in apartment complexes. “It’s cool because you get your own kitchen so you can cook your own healthy food,” Olson said.
In addition to the special housing accommodations, athletes also receive a few educational perks. According to Olson, it’s mandatory for all athletes on her team to have tutors until they can prove to be self-sufficient without them. “We also all have to go to office hours with our professors,” she said. “Our team is very focused on academics, as well as sports, which I like.”
Over the summer Olson will spend time conditioning for the upcoming season and taking a few academic classes. According to Olson, most of her team takes an eight-week program called Summer Bridge. “A lot of athletes take the program to start getting some credits out of the way, because it’s a lot of work to take many classes during the school year,” she said.
Playing exposition tournaments over the summer and emailing coaches to attend games were crucial elements in the college recruitment process. “I went to summer camps of the schools I really wanted to go to,” she explained. “At the camps, it’d be a two-day thing where coaches get to see you play and you can meet them.”
In addition to attending basketball camps nationwide, Olson also went to a camp in France during the summer of her sophomore year. She holds French citizenship, which makes her eligible to potentially play for the French National Women’s Basketball team. However, according to Olson, playing on the French team would be a complicated process. “The french national team is very much based off of regions since they take the top players of each region, but I’m not in one since I live here” she said.
Nonetheless, playing for France still remains a goal for Olson. “One of my big goals is to try and play for the french national team,” she said. “That’s something I think going to Berkeley will help me with.”
Olson looks forward to playing with her new team. “I love my team because the team and coaching staff are all really fun, energetic people, and yet very organized,” she said. “They [the team] also have the energy of Berkeley, which is one of the reasons why I chose it for the school—the energy of Berkeley persists.”