Making it in the NBA is one of the toughest roads to travel in professional sports based on sheer numbers. That doesn’t mean talented guys can’t make it somewhere in professional basketball. Europe, Asia, and the Middle East provide a number of competitive leagues and a pretty lucrative pay scale for young talents up for an adventure.
Today we look at four recent moves from the EuroLeague, Europe’s top tier of basketball. These transactions show former ACC talents still active and working towards ultimately living the dream back home in the pros after some seasoning overseas.
Russ Smith, Guard- Louisville
— Tim Sullivan (@TimSullivan714) July 27, 2016
Smith inked a one-year deal with Odeabank Galatasaray. He played last season in the NBA Developmental League for the Delaware 87ers. In 47 career games in the D-League Smith has averaged 22.7 points, 5.9 assists, and 4.6 rebounds per game.
He was part of the Cardinals’ 2013 national championship squad and was later chosen with the 47th pick of the 2014 NBA Draft. He played briefly for the New Orleans Pelicans and Memphis Grizzlies where he averaged two points per contest in 27 games of backup duty with the two clubs.
Smith also plans to play in the Turkish BSL despite warnings from the U.S. State Department not to.
Erick Green, Guard- Virginia Tech
A new chapter for ErickGreen, as he arrived in Greece for olympiacosbc pic.twitter.com/MPEQPDNU20
— G-Kidd (@OuWhisiNVakav7) July 21, 2016
The 2013 ACC Player of the Year signed a two-year deal with Olympiacos. Both Green and the club have an opt out clause for 2017.
Green was chosen with the 47th pick in the 2013 NBA Draft by the Utah Jazz before being traded to the Denver Nuggets. He played in 43 games for Denver in 2014-15 in a reserve role and played six games the following season with the Utah Jazz. Last season Green averaged 11.4 points per game for Italian club Montepaschi Siena.
K.C. Rivers, Guard- Clemson
— Yar?saha Basket (@YarisahaBasket) July 24, 2016
Shooting guard K.C. Rivers just inked a deal with Panathinaikos BC after bouncing around Europe for most of his career so far.
The Charlotte native went undrafted in 2009 after 55 starts and 102 career games during his time at Clemson. He earned Second-team All-ACC honors in 2008. After that, Rivers played for teams in various leagues in Italy, France, and Russia before playing the 2013-14 season with the Reno Bighorns of the NBA D-League. that season he averaged 15.7 points and 4.1 rebounds per game.
That was enough to catch the eye of Real Madrid and in 2014-15 he helped them win the team’s first EuroLeague title in 20 years. They also won the Spanish League championship the same season.
Olivier Hanlan, Guard- Boston College
— MSB_Officiel (@MSB_Officiel) August 2, 2016
The former Eagles guard has been busy this summer, and briefly appeared to be headed back to the NBA.
Hanlan was selected with the 42nd pick in the 2015 NBA Draft by the Utah Jazz but went to Europe after a rough rookie summer league performance. He signed a one-year deal with Žalgiris Kaunas, a dominant team in Lithuania and the one time professional home of Arvydas Sabonis. His rights were traded to the San Antonio Spurs at the beginning of July for veteran Boris Diaw and a second round pick.
Just today, it was formally announced that he would be signing with French club Le Mans.