It is always interesting to see what professional American players think, when they come to Europe. It is also very interesting to see what their different reasons are to play professional in Europe. Here is an example of University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh graduate (DIII) center Kerry Gibson, who plays professional in Lithuania right now.
Kerry is in his first season for the Lithuanian team Panevezys Techasas with a record of 2-5 (second last). You might think that Kerry is glad to play against Euroleague teams such as Rytas and Kaunas right? Well, not really.
What brought me here was the division of the team. See there are like three divisions of basketball here, 3rd division, 2nd division and 1st division. This is a first division team and they have the best players and best money. Also, it’s the best opportunity to make it to a better team for the next year.
OK, I kind of agree with that but I am not sure if every American player agrees with this:
Anyone who plays in Europe has the goal to play in the Euro League and then the NBA. So starting at a DI team will help with that. I mean there are a lot of great DII teams, but none in Lithuania. If I were to play on a DII team I’d want to be in Germany, Spain, France, Italy, Greece and so forth. I hate Lithuania but it’s a start to a career.
Oh oh Kerry – I really hope non of your teams’ fans, managers or even teammates will read this. I also think that playing on a second division team in any of these other countries will give you a shot on playing for a Euroleague team right away.
So Kerry does not like the Basketball in Lithuania at all – well maybe he does like the people, food or other nice things from Lithuania?
I think my biggest adjustment has been the culture. The people in general don’t speak English very well, and English is a universal language. Their food is off the wall, their time [zone] here sucks, and I’m going to bed when you start drinking. Being away from home doesn’t bother me at all. Kind of good to get away from Wisconsin, although I miss Wisconsin because it is the greatest place to live in the world. I miss family and friends of course, but I definitely miss American beer.
Kerry also did some scouting for us in Lithuania:
I am one of the taller guys, but I’ve played against a few 7’6” guys and a few 7’5” guys. And they are as tall as I’ve ever played against, kind of weird not being the tallest. In our league there are probably four guys that are 7’6”.
Can anybody please let me know who these 7’6″ guys are? I mean this like Yao Ming’s playing in Lithuania!