Catching up with old friends in unfamiliar places
May 13, 2008
With the conclusion of the EuroLeague tournament (won by CSKA Moscow behind tournament MVP Trajan Langdon), it feels like a good time for a little update on our overseas connections. Some are ex-Pacers, some may be future Pacers and some are just relatively well-known to the fans in these parts.
FORMER PACERS Sarunas Jasikevicius – Didn't exactly return to Europe as a conquering hero, starting just five of 20 games with Panthinaikos (Greece), though he did produce averages of 13.2 points and 2.9 assists.
Marcus Haislip – One of the popular temps from the 2004-05 season has developed into a prominent player for Unijaca (Spain), averaging 13.7 points and 4.6 rebounds this past season. The most interesting stat is this: he hit .359 from the 3-point line. And no, that's not some kind of skewed metric conversion rate.
Travis Best – Having already tried things in Russia, Italy and Poland, Best wound up in Bologna, Italy (La Fortezza), averaging 12.0 points and 3.2 assists. But here's the stat I'm having trouble with: he's 36 years old.
Keith McLeod – He signed with Montepaschi Siena (Italy) in January but played just four games, averaging 14.2 minutes and 4.5 points.
Jamison Brewer – After spending 2006-07 with Dexia Mons-Hainaut (Belgium), J.B. signed with the Hollywood Fame of the ABA, a franchise known mainly for its lineup of celebrity owners (including Nick Lachey, Stacy Keibler, John Salley and Brian Vickers). When the franchise ran into financial problems that would lead to its extinction, he signed with the Bakersfield Jam of the D-League in December, but appeared in just four games, shooting 4-of-17.
Orien Greene – Though he opened the season as the Kings' starting point guard, he was released shortly thereafter and signed with Hapoel Jerusalem. He was waived again in November but found a home with the New Zealand Breakers, leading the National Basketball League (which includes Australia) in steals (2.9) as well as turnovers (4.6) while finishing second in the league in personal fouls (4.4). He averaged 14.1 points and 4.1 assists for the Breakers.
Carlos Rogers – Surely you remember Carlos Rogers, who played 22 games in the 2001-02 season before, well, falling off the map. He resurfaced, of all places, on the TV show "Oprah's Big Give" recently, donating $1,000 to help two elementary schools in his hometown of Houston build playgrounds.
Zan Tabak – After leaving the Pacers in 2001 to return to Europe, he retired in 2006 after spending four seasons in Spain.
Bruno Sundov – Since leaving the Pacers in 2002, he has spent time in Israel, Belgium, Spain and Cyprus, most recently returning to Spain to play for Group Begar Leon.
Rawle Marshall – Cut by Phoenix during the preseason, he wound up in the Adriatic League with KK Hemofarm of Serbia, averaging 15.7 points in 22 games.
Courtney Sims – After spending the first month of the season on the yo-yo, appearing in three games in between numerous waivers and re-signings, the former Michigan standout wound up with the Iowa Energy of the D-League, averaging 21.9 minutes, 15.6 points and 6.4 rebounds in 16 games.
James White – Cut by the Pacers in training camp in 2006, he didn't last long with the Spurs, either, winding up with Fenerbahce Ulker in Turkey, where he averaged 6.8 points and 2.9 rebounds in 21 games, including 11 starts. He writes a (very) occasional blog for Hoopshype.com.
Lukasz Obrzut – The Big Woo, released in training camp prior to this season, started with Fort Wayne but finished with Bakersfield in the D-League, averaging 3.1 points and 2.4 rebounds in 38 games.
POSSIBLE FUTURE PACERS Stanko Barac – After signing a 5-year contract with Tau Ceramica, the slender 7-footer acquired after Miami drafted him No. 39 overall last year was loaned to Valencia (Spain), where he appeared in 29 games, averaging 5.6 puntos and 3.5 rebotes, according the team's Website, which I'll presume translates to points and rebounds.
Erazem Lorbek – The 2005 second-round pick continues to play well in Europe, averaging 13.3 points and 5.6 rebounds while shooting .566 overall and .390 from the 3-point line for Lottomatica Roma (Italy).
OTHERS Bracey Wright – The former Indiana University standout spent this past season in Greece, averaging 14.9 points while shooting .423 from the field for Aris TT Bank.
Vonteego Cummings – The first-round pick traded to Golden State for the draft rights to Jeff Foster in 1999, Cummings played three years in the NBA (two for the Warriors, one in Philadelphia) before heading overseas, where he has remained since. He averaged 5.7 points and 2.6 assists with Maccabi Elite (Israel).
Drake Diener – Travis' cousin, who played at DePaul averaged 1.8 points in nine games with Montepaschi Siena.
I wonder if Lorbek will be in training camp this year? I think it's about time.