With her first AAU tournament now over, Marisa Gobuty sounded "electric" over her cell phone. The 16-year-old prep basketball star who spends half the year in Israel and half in Sarasota, Fla. had good reason to be elated. Her team, the Finest Basketball Club, had just won the California Classic, the season’s opening tournament for elite high school players.
Marisa, as she has since the sixth grade, continues to ascend to higher levels of competition in America and Israel. However, she’s decided that she’d rather spend her college years on the western side of the Atlantic.
"I would love to play Division I college basketball in America, then go back and play professionally in Israel," said Marisa, who also plays on The Cadets, Israel’s 16-and-under national team.
"I don’t really have a preference as far as which college to go to," she continued, "but I’d like to go to a good academic school as well as a good basketball school."
Marisa’s road to basketball stardom spans three countries and countless time zones. Born in Canada, she moved with her family to Los Angeles in the second grade. She moved to Israel before the fifth grade, and then transitioned to Florida. Then Israel and then Florida again and then Israel, and then Florida and over and over until she opted for both locales.
"I love Israel. It’s the best place in the world," said Marisa, whose Israeli home is in Herzliya. "But I also love being in IMG [basketball academy, a premier multisport training facility in Bradenton, Fla.]."
She now plays with the Finest Basketball Club to get some exposure among college recruiters. But that is not the only way she is seeking the attention of the country’s top universities. She already has her own website (http://www.marisagobuty.com/home.asp) and has sent personal highlight videos to various schools across the country. She is also taking online high school courses while training at IMG so that she can graduate on time.
Meanwhile, while she is on the court, her philosophy is all about teamwork.
"I’m a pure point guard," said Marisa. "It’s what I love to do. I love to be in control and to organize the game, and I love, love, love making assists. I like to drive and dish."