All things being equal, Kate Achter would rather be on a basketball court right now than sitting in a classroom.
Achter, the Mid-American Conference Player of the Year last season, her senior year at Bowling Green State University, is back in school to earn a masters degree.
"When I sat down and mapped out my goals for the long term, I anticipated playing another two or three years, maximum," Achter said. "I wanted to get into coaching anyway. Being a graduate assistant and going into coaching go hand in hand, but I definitely didn't think six months after I graduated that I'd be back in school."
Achter, Clay High School's all-time leading scorer, graduated with a degree in sports management last spring. She is back at BGSU pursuing a masters in business administration.
Despite a stellar career with the Falcons, Achter, 22, was never offered a chance to play in the WNBA following her senior season.
"To go to pre-draft camps, you have to be invited," Achter said. "I didn't get invited."
The 5-8 Achter averaged 14.5 points, 7.0 assists and 3.4 rebounds last season and finished with 1,580 career points, the fourth-best total in BGSU history. Her 688 career assists is a school record.
A four-year starter at point guard, Achter was a second-team All-MAC selection her sophomore and junior year and a first-team selection as a senior. The Falcons qualified for the NCAA Tournament her freshman, sophomore and junior year and played in the NIT last season.
Achter's senior class set a school record for wins in a four-year span (108), which was broken this season.
With those credentials, one has to wonder why Achter wasn't invited to a WNBA camp.
"It was interesting to me that the MAC player of the year didn't get drafted last year, but somebody who made the second team (in the MAC) did," Achter said. "It was political. I don't think you can discredit a kid who puts up numbers that are nationally ranked, and it shouldn't matter what league you play in. It's political, like in all sports."
Achter's agent, Giapalakis Vasilis, got her a spot on the Paleo Faliro team that plays in the Greece-A1 League, the country's top league. The team is based in Faliro, a suburb of Athens.
"I learned some Greek before I got there," Achter said, "and I learned a little more when I was there."
It was Achter's first trip overseas.
"It was amazing," she said. "My first road trip, I got to drive past the temple of Zeus and the Acropolis. The culture was great and the food was great. I would definitely go back. It's unfortunate that the basketball turned out the way it did. That was not a great experience."
Well into this season, Faliro's brass decided it no longer wanted Achter. She was released in mid-October and returned to the U.S.
"We played about 16 games and I was starting, but they were inconsistent with me," Achter said. "I would start one game and then not start another game. I would put up points, but my role there was different than in college. I was running off staggered screens and I wasn't allowed to penetrate. I wasn't really sure why. I would come down the floor and the coach (Antonis Boumpous) would tell me what play to run and I would pass the ball, and that was the last time I would touch it.
"The communication barrier was very difficult. Some teammates spoke English, but my coach did not. There was always anxiety whether or not the other girl was telling me what the coach was telling me. I knew that's what I was getting myself into."
Achter said the Greece-A1 League allows a maximum of two Americans per team. Tina Miller, who played at Tulane University, was the other American on Achter's squad.
Achter said the top teams in the league had players who were talented enough to compete at the SEC and ACC level in the U.S. She said Paleo Faliro had some talent, but it had much older players as well.
"I had two 40-year-old post players on my team," Achter said. "One of them had a 16-year-old child. I was the youngest player in the league, by far. The average age on our team was like 28."
Achter also said she has yet to see a paycheck from Paleo Faliro.
"I was supposed to earn $30,000 of tax-free money, and I had the potential to earn $10,000 in bonuses," she said. "The general manager told me I could get all my bonuses and everything would be taken care of. I was able to figure out that things just weren't right. I got along really well with all the girls. When I got released, they were really upset."
BGSU called Achter in November and she was offered a position as graduate assistant in the strength and conditioning department. She accepted.
In mid-January, however, Achter's agent called and said he could get her a spot playing in Slovakia.
But she had already committed to BGSU and decided to work for the school and pursue her masters degree.
"It was a tough decision," Achter said. "It's very hard for me to sit back and watch college basketball and know that I can still play and play very well. I don't feel my playing career is over, but due to unforeseen circumstances...You're never ready to end that process. That's why it was so difficult."
Achter said she isn't sure if her playing career is over. She will wait until this fall to see what offers come to her.
"If there is a good offer to go to a safe, financially stable country, I will play, absolutely," she said. "If not, I'm going to pursue a career in coaching."