Anisha George Becomes A Role Model To Young Girls Back Home
Denton — Growing up on the island of Saint Croix, Mean Green women’s basketball newcomer Anisha George faced adversity when she picked up a basketball.
The island, which is located in the Caribbean Sea and is part of the U.S. Virgin Islands and has a population of just roughly 50,000, has far fewer opportunities for females to play compared to males.
Despite the lack of leagues and teams, it didn’t stop George, who found basketball to be an escape.
Even as a young girl, she would go to the gyms and played pick-up games with males who at first were hesitant about playing with her. But when she continued to show up and competed, the males not only opened up to George playing, they encouraged her and as she put it, made her tougher.
Now a young adult, George has become a role model for girls in her home country. She’s the youngest member on the U.S.V.I. national team and since joining the team last summer has helped her country improve in the International Basketball Federation world rankings to No. 35. It’s the highest the U.S.V.I. has ever been ranked and is 15 spots higher than where they were when she first joined. No other country has jumped higher in the world rankings over that timespan.
In the 2017 FIBA Women’s Americup in Argentina, George and her U.S.V.I. team beat No. 30 Venezuela and then No. 9 Brazil.
This summer, she’ll rejoin her national team and play in two tournaments, one in Columbia and in another Puerto Rico, and look to continue to help grow the sport that has given her so much.
“I’m proud,” George said with bashful smile. “Making it this far, to play internationally and for North Texas, isn’t common.”
After competing in the Americup last summer, George transferred in to UNT from Moberly Area Community College where she raked in awards, accolades and helped her school become dominant in the National Junior College Athletic Association circuit.
She was named a 2018 NJCAA and Women’s Basketball Coaches Association All-American. She was her region’s player of the year and conference MVP after posting the nation’s second-best field goal percentage (66.7%) and grabbing the 30th-most rebounds (283). She led her Lady Greyhound team to a top 10 national ranking that year and posted a 32-1 record as she averaged 14.5 points per game last season.
“Basketball has always been a way for me to get away from everything,” George explained. “I love to compete and play.”
George made her way from Moberly, Missouri, to Denton, with the help of UNT men’s basketball assistant coach Jareem Dowling. A native of the U.S.V.I., he introduced George to head women’s coach Jalie Mitchell early in the recruiting process.
"She is great at using her body for scoring and rebounding position,” Mitchell said. "Her time with the U.S.V.I. national team is powerful, as it has given her a tremendous amount of experience, which will help us as we strive to be an even bigger force in the paint.”
When George was asked to join her national team last summer as a teenager it came as a slight surprise but an even bigger honor.
George was now playing alongside women who she had admired growing up and reached a place she had never imagined was possible. Furthermore, now she’s become a role model to many girls back home.
“I’m grateful for the chance to go out there and play and represent the Virgin Islands,” George said. “Knowing there are little girls who are looking up to you, it’s a huge honor and responsibility. You want to succeed, because you want to give the girls that were in my shoes confidence that they can do it too.”
Follow the Mean Green women's basketball team on Twitter (@MeanGreenWBB) and stay tuned for updates on George's summer international tournaments.