Well, I can honestly say I never thought I would be sitting here in Holland starting my own blog. I had never understood the purpose of blogs and definitely did not think they were for me but here we go: The Brandyn Curry Blog
So, I am currently playing for the SPM Shoeters from Den Bosch, Holland in the Top League in Holland, the Eredivisie (Dutch Basketball League). I just recently learned from our Co-Captain that Holland is another name for the Netherlands so the two are interchangeable. My team lost in game 7 of the Finals last year to our rivals the Groningen Flames. Despite that however, we have been picked to win the championship this year so the target is on our back from the start. This is nothing new to me since this is how just about every year was for us at Harvard.
My two other American teammates and I all arrived at the same time to the airport in Amsterdam. We were met briefly by two of the volunteers for the team who gave us the briefing on what was next to us. An hour later my teammate, Chris Lee, and I were unpacking in our apartment. I was so excited to finally make to where I would be living the next year as I started my professional basketball career.
The last three months of my life had been filled with mixed feelings of extreme excitement and nervousness as I diligently worked out while waiting to see what country I was going to play in. Upon signing my contract to come to Holland I asked many of the people I knew who have played professionally in Europe what they knew about playing here. I got nothing but great feedback about the city, the people, and my team. I was told that Holland was the closet to being like America as I would see in Europe. The people here are extremely friendly and mostly everyone speaks English which has all made my transition here go very smooth.
The SPM Shoeters are a very professional club with how they handle everything. Our coach is an American named Sam Jones from Chicago. He was a very successful player here in Holland and actually played for the club when they were known by a different name, The Eiffel Towers. He also had a stint in the "Slam Ball" league, which I grew up loving to watch on TV (his nickname was Snoop to Da Hoop haha). Coach Jones' philosophies of being a defensive team first and scoring early or late on offense is almost identical to what our principles were at Harvard under Coach Amaker. He also is very detail-oriented and makes sure from Day 1 we know that championships are done by doing the little things correct everyday.
My teammates are great guys. There are three Americans and nine Dutch players. Besides one Dutch player who is new this year, the core group made up of the other 8 players have been playing together for a few years and have very good team chemistry. They are all very skilled and unselfish players which has made it very easy for me to feel like I belong on the team as a point guard right away. Chris Lee is a 6'9 power forward from Washington D.C. who is a well seasoned vet and good post player. The other american joining me in the backcourt is Chris Denson, a recent Auburn grad. Denson is an unbelievable scorer and athlete who has a 42 inch vertical!!!
The biggest adjustment Ive had to make thus far has been driving. Never in my life have I had to drive a manual transmission before and my first three days driving was a STRUGGLE to say the least. After my extensive 15 minute driving lesson in the parking lot outside the gym, I had to follow Chris Lee home to our apartment since we both had just got our cars. 20 minutes later and a ton of mad Dutch people whose horns made my ears pop, we finally arrived back at our apartment which was 10 minutes away from the gym. Three nights of practicing late at night in the parking lot and some tips from Lee, who is a 7 year European veteran, and I finally got the driving down.
Unlike the driving, the basketball and workouts have been pretty much easier to adjust. The first two weeks of training camp has been tough indeed. I did the infamous "beep" test, which is a crazy conditioning test where you run until cant run anymore, on the very first day. We condition on the track, lift hard in the weight room, and compete hard in practice. I will say I love our practices because we do every drill in a live 5 on 5 or 4 on 4 setting. We have already played in 4 preseason games. All of them have been against very good Belgium teams. Thanks to great advice from fellow European vets I was pretty prepared for how different the game is over here especially with the traveling calls. My teammates warned me how bad the Belgium refs would be and boy where they right but at least they were bad for both teams! Even though we only went 1-3 in the four games our team is definitely improving and I am looking forward to the next two weeks of training camp!
Brandyn Curry played his college basketball at Harvard University and will be chronicling his first season in Holland with SPM Shoeters Den Bosch. For more information on Brandyn Curry visit his player profile page here.
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