Wednesday, March 23, 2011

basketball world tour

There are four hundred triple dozen thousand NCAA student athletes, and almost all of them will go pro in something other than sports. Some of them will go pro in sports and you won't hear about them anyway. You know about guys like Roger Mason, Ryan Zimmerman, and Thomas Jones, I'm assuming. The guys in the big leagues. (The Knicks, Nationals, and Chiefs, in case you actually don't.) How about some of the less glitzy destinations? Like overseas? Here are a few of UVA's bouncyballers who are still plying the hoops trade, just not in the NBA.

- Jerome Meyinsse. A man after my own heart, Meyinsse keeps a highly entertaining blog of his own, chronicling his misadventures in Argentina hooping it up for 9 de Julio Rio Tercero.

- Sylven Landesberg. You probably haven't forgotten that he bolted after his sophomore year to play in Israel, and playing in Israel he is, for Maccabi Haifa. But he's not the only one...

- Elton Brown. The bouncyball variety. Brown is in the Holy Land too, hooping for Barak Netanya. He looks as weird in bumblebee yellow as Landesberg does in green.

- Laurynas Mikalauskas. Not surprisingly, Lars is in his native Lithuania playing most recently for BC Nevesis, though he's been bouncing around the league a little. Somewhat more surprisingly, he's got company too....

- Travis Watson. Yup. Watson's been all over Europe, and in Lithuania playing for Zalgiris for the past couple years. Matter of fact, Zalgiris just knocked off Nevesis in the Baltic Basketball League playoffs with Watson missing the game and Lars scoring 12 points.

- J.R. Reynolds. In France these days playing for Entente Orleans. Hurr hurr from one france to another. [/hokie]

- Derrick Byars. Nope, not just limited to guys who played every minute of their college career at UVA. Byars was playing in Greece to start the season, but his time there was short; he's back in the States playing for the Bakersfield Jam of the D-league.

- Donte Minter. In that vein, Donte Minter. He turns up in the Netherlands playing for BSW Weert and scoring more than he did at UVA, too.

- Jason Cain. In Germany with New Yorker Phantoms Braunschweig, and yes, still rockin' the world's greatest mustache.

- Jamil Tucker. Started the season with Science City Jena of the second-level league in Germany, but doesn't appear on the roster any more.

- Chris Williams. I had no idea you could do this. Williams plays - or played - for Mahram Tehran this year after a tour in China where he scored the second quadruple-double in Chinese hoops history. That's Tehran as in the capital of Iran, yes. He's not on the roster any more either, so here's hoping he's not making friends with those hikers who thought an excursion near the border with Iraq was a good idea. It's worth clicking to the website anyway, just for the logo, which is - as best as I can tell - a happy ghost marshmallow.

- Keith Friel. Technically the United States isn't a foreign country, but I've never heard of the Rochester RazorSharks or the Premier Basketball League, so it counts for our purposes here. Keith is the highest scorer in the RazorSharks' (short) history and the first player in PBL (short) history to reach 1,000 career points. Got there three at a time, no doubt.

- Adam Hall. It's kind of scary that players I watched in U-Hall when I was in college are now the grizzled old vets of their team, but that's exactly what Hall is for Optima Gent in Belgium.

So. Not quite a comprehensive list, but close-ish, I hope. Only covers the last ten years - anyone older than that is probably retired anyway. And not everyone went into pro basketball. Some did end up in a regular career - and some ended up busted for coke. (Keith Jenifer, to save you the trouble of scrolling.) It'd be awesome if UVA was an NBA pipeline, but the next-awesomest thing is seeing UVA so well represented around the world.


Anonymous said...

Any idea what Sean is doing these days? I know he was in Spain for a while and then came back to the states, but I haven't heard anything since. Is he still even looking to play anywhere?

Also, how could you forget dear Ryan Pettinella, possibly the worst free throw shooter I have ever been forced to watch in my life? He is apparently playing for UMF Grindavik of the Iceland Express League, and continues to shoot a solid 32.8% from the stripe. It's somehow comforting to me that some things never change.

Brendan said...

Didn't see anything about Sean playing basketball right now. Spain is the last I saw too.

Charles Trimble said...

Sean is in Belgium. Also, Devin Smith is not on the list. He's in Israel starting for Maccabi Tel Aviv. He starts, and they were runners up in the Euroleague tournament last year.