July 26, 2006
When Stephany Skrba was selected to the Canadian Senior National Team this summer, the University of Michigan was left without a student-athlete on the Big Ten Foreign Tour team. But that doesn't mean that the Wolverines weren't represented on this year's trip.
Anne Thorius, a two-time second-team All-Conference selection in 1999 and 2000, is one of the top standouts on the Horsholm Basketball Club in Denmark, a team the 2006 Big Ten All-Stars defeated twice during their 10-day, four-game trip. Michigan's all-time career leader in assists (537), Thorius returned to her hometown of Horsholm after serving stints as a player with the WNBA's Orlando Miracle and several international ballclubs, as well as an assistant coach for Oakland University in 2003.
Thorius was also instrumental in the team's coverage of the Big Ten Foreign Tour on its website: http://www.hbbk.dk/1/27/nyheder.html.
Following the All-Stars' second victory over Thorius' squad, bigten.org had a chance to sit down with the former Wolverine and get her thoughts of what the Big Ten Conference has meant to her not only as a student-athlete, but as an individual as well.
BT: Anne, thanks for sitting down with us. Tell us a little about your Big Ten experience as a student-athlete at Michigan...
AT: "It was certainly very unique coming from this environment in Horsholm. The competition was much better in the United States than it was back here and that's still the case today. Everything was different, from the coaches, the practices and the style of play. Playing at Michigan and in the Big Ten was an unbelievable opportunity for me."
BT: Let's talk a little more about playing in Ann Arbor...
AT: "I had the opportunity to play on some teams that worked our way back into the Big Ten's top four. We were focused on improving each year, but I never expected to come in right away and contribute. My time at Michigan allowed me to not only develop as a player, but as an individual as well. The work ethic that was demanded was different than how we are here in Denmark. I learned more about my appearance on the court, and by that I mean how much more important it was to hustle after loose balls and be a conditioned player."
BT: How has playing in the Big Ten helped you with your success?
AT: "There's no question it has affected the way I practice and play here. After playing in the Big Ten, you have that desire to play at a higher level and go after every ball. I spend more time working on and off the court than I did prior to Michigan and to me that shows what kind of work ethic was instilled in me. The overall training regiment has been the biggest change in the way I approach basketball back here. In order to compete in the Big Ten, you had to be full of endurance. I have taken that with me and love working out all the time here in Horsholm.
BT: Finally, talk a little about the opportunity to play with the Big Ten again here on its Foreign Tour...
AT: "It has been really exciting. During the summertime here, all of us just show up and play and it's pretty much the norm. But when the Big Ten team showed up, I was like `Wow, I was once one of them.' Both of these games reminded me of the physical play I was used to back at Michigan. It was definitely an eye opener. It has been a great deal of fun having the Big Ten players compete against us. It brought back a lot of memories."
In addition to Thorius, two other members of the Horsholm Basketball Club are former Big Ten student-athletes. Mie Burlin played for the Wolverines during the 2002-03 and 2003-04 seasons, while Pernille Dalgaard played with the Michigan State Spartans from 1996-99.