Davies graduate Klabo glad to be home after sudden end to her 1st pro basketball season in Belguim
FARGO — Fargo Davies graduate Lexi Klabo was having a strong first professional basketball season for her team in Belgium, but that ended abruptly.
The season was halted in mid-March right before the playoffs due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“We were just told that our season got canceled and they had a meeting and they were like ‘You’ve got to get out of here.’ They gave us like two days,” said Klabo, who has been back home for two weeks. “They said the airport was going to shut down.”
The 6-foot-2 Klabo averaged 14.1 points and 7.6 rebounds per game for the Kangoeroes, a team based in Mechelen that competes in the top women’s league in Belgium.
“I feel really lucky honestly, my situation was awesome,” said Klabo, who also had a standout women’s basketball career at the University of North Dakota. “It was just a good area and people were so welcoming. They took care of me very well.”
Klabo returned home from Belgium on March 17 through Chicago before landing in Minneapolis. She wore a face mask for the trip and they took her temperature when she went through customs in Chicago. Klabo didn’t have a fever or any COVID-19 symptoms.
“I was kind of worried about the customs because I saw some pictures on Twitter about the long lines,” Klabo said. “It actually ended up being OK. It took me like 10 minutes, which I’m thankful for.”
After she arrived in Minneapolis, Klabo traveled with her mom, Kara Ringdahl, to Fergus Falls, where she spent most of her 14-day self quarantine. She returned to Fargo this past weekend and was symptom free through her quarantine, which ended Tuesday.
Klabo had been in Belgium since last August, and only returned home once over Christmas, before coming back in March.
“They told us we had to monitor how we felt for two weeks and stay away from people,” Klabo said. “It’s kind of odd because my family won’t give me hugs.”
Klabo said she bought her plane ticket the day before she flew back to the United States. She was told to head home as soon as possible or she could have been stuck in Belgium for around 45 days.
“I wanted to get out of there as soon as I could because I was worried about it. I didn’t want to be stuck there,” Klabo said. “I was a little stressed, but it’s all good now. … I was so worried just because I was alone over there. It’s good to be back with my family.”
Darren Klabo, Lexi’s father, was happy his daughter made it back home. He was proud of the way she handled herself on her own halfway around the world.
“It was good to get her out of there because she might have ended up being stuck there all summer and not being able to come home at all,” Darren said. “That was my biggest concern. … She’s in good health. It’s good to have her around.”
Despite the way it ended, Klabo said she would like to return to Belgium next season to play professionally. She liked the coach, her team and the league. She played in her final game on March 7, scoring 20 points and grabbing 21 rebounds in a victory.
“It was right before the playoffs. We just played our last regular-season game,” Klabo said. “We had maybe one practice and then everything got canceled. That kind of sucks, because (playoffs) is the best part of the year.”
Klabo finished her basketball career at UND in 2019, finishing her career with 1,633 points and 887 rebounds.
“It was definitely different than college,” Lexi said of her first pro season. “The only thing I had to focus on was basketball and performing. … The style of play is different. It’s more uptempo and everybody does fancy passes and stuff. It took me a little while to get used to it, but I liked it a lot.”