It can be difficult for freshmen to transition to life in college, however St. Ambrose freshman Michael Knoll has been tasked with adapting to college life in the United States. Knoll has started eight games for the Fighting Bee basketball team this year, but it wasn’t long ago when he laced up his shoes for his high school team in the eastern suburbs of Melbourne, Australia.
He attended high school at Mount Evelyn Christian School but wanted to play his collegiate basketball in the United States. He set his sights on St. Ambrose with the help of his high school coach.
“It had always been a dream of mine to come play college basketball in the United States,” Knoll said. “My coach in Australia is American and used to coach at Viterbo College, therefore he had connections with Coach Ray.”
Knoll is having a direct impact during his first season in the United States. He leads the team with ten blocks and averages almost 14 minutes-per-game. His 6’8 stature provides the Fighting Bees with rebounds and a viable scoring option at the post position. He thanks his Australian coach for the success he is having at SAU.
“Having an American coach back home in Australia prepared me for playing in America,” Knoll said.
The toughest aspect of playing basketball in the United States has been adapting to the different style of play. Knoll’s high school team in Australia ran a motion offense with one player at the post and four on the outside. The offense would read the defense before deciding what to do. The offense is different in the United States.
“Over here the game is more structured,” Knoll said. “We always run a play to set up our opportunities to score on the offensive end.”
The physical education major has also noticed off-the-court differences from life in Australia. The drivers in the United States drive on the opposite side of the road than in Australia. Knoll also says the food is slightly different and he wishes he could eat an Aussie meat pie. The transition from life in Australia to the United States has been easier thanks to Knoll’s teammates and his passion for basketball.
“The relationships I have made with guys on the team have really made me feel home here at Ambrose,” Knoll said. “But in terms of basketball, nothing can beat that feeling of stepping on the court and giving 100-percent for your team.”