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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Daniel and Sarah Mortensen are nearly 5,000 miles away from home.
Denmark didn’t provide the same basketball opportunities as the U.S. so the siblings took a chance.
“She has always talked about it. She is the one who wanted to do the best to come here,” Daniel explained. “I kind of figured out that this is the best situation for me trying to develop as a player.”
Sarah added, “It’s an amazing opportunity. We can both play and go to school at the same time. It’s different in Europe. You go pro or you just go to school. It was a good opportunity to mix those two.”
The siblings came over in the same year. Sarah went to high school and Daniel went right to college. Was it tough for you guys to split up like that?
The split from family was tough on the duo.
“Of course it was different being away from family and stuff, but I lived with a host family so I still kind of had that family feeling,” Sarah said.
“It was hard to come here and be on your own,” Daniel explained. “You have to adapt to another country, another culture.”
Even the game itself required an adjustment.
“It was just a lot faster here, more athletic,” Daniel said. “I just had to pick up the game that was really hard for me.”
It’s a coincidence that both landed in Miami, but they’re now thriving.
Daniel who recently transferred from Wright State to Barry just won his third conference defensive player of the week award.
And Sarah is capitalizing on every opportunity she gets as a freshman with the Hurricanes.
“We have always been like, ‘We’re not traveling overseas to be close to each other. We want to live out our dreams.’ It’s amazing how it worked out,” Sarah said.
When they are together, you can hear little reminders of home. They still speak to each other in Danish.
And yes, they still can’t decide who’s the better player.
“Do you ever play one on one?” CBS4’s Mike Cugno asked them.
“A couple of years ago, in our backyard,” Daniel said. “But we’d always end up fighting. Our mom would have to come out and say you can’t play.”
It still begs the question: who would win?
“I would!” Daniel said.
Sarah didn’t deny her big brother’s claim.
“He would just because he’s bigger right no. Ask us again in two or three years,” she said.
Playing collegiately isn’t the end of the road for Sarah and Daniel.
Both hope to go onto professional careers, whether that’s here in the United States or overseas.