VALPARAISO | When Sharon Karungi talked on Friday about the reasons she decided to play basketball at Valparaiso, the JUCO transfer highlighted family among the key factors that played into her decision.
Finding a welcoming family was integral for Karungi, as the Uganda native is one of 20 brothers and sisters.
“This has been a dream for me since I first started playing basketball,” Karungi said. “I’m really excited to join Valparaiso. The girls were great, they are very family-orientated and that’s something I was looking for.”
Karungi began playing basketball in 2004 and the 6-foot-2 forward arrived in the United States in 2011. Karungi spent last season playing at Northern Oklahoma College where she averaged 7.8 points and 8.6 rebounds per game.
“I love aggressive play and love to play defense down low,” Karungi said. “Scoring will come when I have the chance to score, but I love giving the short players a hard time. I love blocking shots.”
Valparaiso coach Tracey Dorow is thrilled with the addition of Karungi and expects the forward to be among the key players on the team next season.
“From the moment Sharon met our players, there was an immediate connection,” Dorow said. “I believe Sharon will be a natural leader even though she will be in her first season at Valpo. Sharon wants to win and she won’t accept an attitude that would lead us to other results.”
Karungi took an official visit to Valparaiso earlier this year and bonded immediately with members of the team. It’s unclear whether Karungi will be able to replace All-Conference honoree Tabitha Gerardot, but Dorow has big plans for the forward next season.
“She is a physical player and will use her skills to help the team any way she can,” Dorow said. “She will bring so much energy and excitement to the Crusader program.”
Karungi became the second player to join the 2013-14 Valparaiso women’s basketball class, joining Richton Park native Ailyah Issac. Karungi will have at least two years of eligibility remaining with the possibility of a third.
Valparaiso has four remaining scholarships open for the 2013-14 season.