Hungarian Basketball Transfer Betti Hamori Adapts to California and Pinewood’s Environment

Mailey Wang, Staff Writer

Imagine leaving your family and what you call home at 16, coming to the U.S. alone, and going to a brand-new school. Junior Betti Hamori has done exactly that. 

Hamori, a 6 ‘1’’ basketball player from Hungary, was recruited by the Pinewood basketball coaches. In Hungary, Hamori played basketball on her school team with just boys for two years before she got recruited on the second best girls team in Hungary. 

“[Playing with boys] gave me a lot of energy to play more aggressively because they said you are just a girl. . . and then I started scoring a lot,” Hamori said, “. . . I just wanted to show them that even if you’re a girl, you can play as hard as a boy.”

Leaving her home country was a tough decision, but she decided to come to the U.S. for the opportunities in basketball and in her studies in English.

 “[Coming to the US] was a big step. . . I was 16, and I was alone,” Hamori said. 

She was not alone for long though, as she was welcomed to the Pinewood community and made friends easily. While she misses her parents and two brothers back in Hungary, she is happy to have such a supportive host family in the U.S., the Ellis’, who are a Pinewood family.

“I always wanted sisters, and now I have four,” Hamori said, “They’re all amazing and are helping me with everything.”

With the Ellis family, Hamori was able to travel and explore the U.S. in the past few months. She went to Los Angeles and Disneyland, and they plan on going to New York this summer. Traveling really opened Hamori’s eye to the rest of the world. In June, Hamori will go back to Hungary to see her family; she will be back in August to continue high school as a senior at Pinewood.

In the beginning, playing basketball for a new team was difficult for Hamori because basketball is played differently between the two countries. “[The girls on the Pinewood team] are playing [basketball] so much faster,’ Hamori said, “The form [is different], and everyone is shooting a lot of threes. . . In Hungary we had more slow plays. . . But it was easy [to adapt] because everyone was so nice.”

Although Hamori cannot play varsity basketball for one year due to transfer policies, she is grateful to be able to practice with and cheer on the team. 

“I’m just looking forward to next year,” Hamori said.