Hall of Fame
Hall of Fame
Harvard Athletic Achievements
Hall of Fame
Remembering Harvard Athletics
It is a great honor to be inducted into the Harvard Varsity Club Hall of Fame. I am grateful for this occasion because it has given me the opportunity to slow down and go back in time a bit and reflect on my time with Harvard Basketball and how I got there. I am forever grateful to my family, my coaches, my teammates and my mentors, without whom I would not be receiving this award. My Mom always worked hard to support me in all aspects of life and taught me to set high standards. My brother was always there for me to support and protect his little sister. My coaches saw my dedication and the hard work I put in every practice and did everything they could to make me a better player. And my teammates: they are the reason I fell in love with basketball, because without them I would not have had the opportunity to be in the flow every time I stepped on the court.
When I was a sophomore in high school, I started thinking about applying to college in the United States. The reason was simple: I wanted to study in a high quality educational system while still playing basketball competitively. This was not possible in Hungary, where the educational and athletic systems are not aligned. When I decided to move to the United States for college, I had one goal in mind: to get into the best possible institution of higher education. That's how I got in touch with Kathy Delaney-Smith, who fortunately wasn't afraid of the challenges of international recruitment. By the time I had to fill out the application forms, I felt Harvard would be a good fit for me and ended up just applying here. In hindsight, it was a very risky decision and I would do things differently today, but I didn't think about it then. In fact, I knew very little at the time about the American college system in general, and Ivy League basketball in particular. This is reflected in what I wrote in my first introductory email to my prospective freshman roommate: "I will be a member of the college basketball team. I hope I will play."
I learned a lot playing basketball at Harvard. These things still shape my personality and my everyday life. The supportive environment helped me to build my confidence and to be myself. It became ingrained in me that you can have fun even while working hard – in fact, it's really the only way to do it. I was shaped daily by the competitive atmosphere of the practices, where my coaches and teammates did everything to force me do my best every single day, and we had fun in the process. I can still remember the 12-in-12’s we ran in the first practice after Christmas every year, the fear of it before and the good feeling afterwards. I loved the early morning individual training sessions with Stacey Connors, who managed to put a smile on my face no matter how tired I was. And during the conversations with my teammates in the locker room, we often discussed what we had learned in class that day – it opened up the world to me because I could learn about things that were far from my chosen subjects.
Overall, my experience with Harvard Basketball has shaped my life in ways I never expected. I can only hope that my son Andris and my nieces Anna and Kata will have the opportunity to find a place like Harvard has been for me: a place where they feel at home, where the world opens up to them, and where they can grow and develop.