When I was coming out of college at Cal Poly Pomona back in 2009, I thought I had a great opportunity to head overseas to play professional basketball, but I also had a lot of questions and anxiety about where I would start my career and even the steps to make that happen.
I also didn't know how the basketball market worked, how my abilities would translate or even how I would receive my contract to play? But even with these questions and concerns, I always knew that I needed exposure to those overseas markets, teams, and begin to get my name out there. I knew I needed that opportunity to showcase my skills and get noticed. That's when I learned about the Scorers 1st Showcase. It was held on the UNLV campus at the same time as the NBA Summer League in front of coaches, GM's and scouts and it was at that point that my worries and stress withered away, and was replaced with confidence and determination.
It's all part of the learning process around the game and in the business. Someone is always watching, even if they are not in attendance in a gym. I remember that from my first Showcase. That year it didn't seem like there were a lot of people to start the event, so I just focused on playing the best basketball I could once the games got underway instead of worrying about who was there or not.
The beauty of the Scorers 1st Showcase was that it was not one of those camps or events that are bombarded with 150 players, with 10-12 players per team like in some offseason or exposure camps. Instead, there's more of a focus on the individual -- 7 to 9 players per team, playing 3 to 4 quality games of basketball. Another benefit is, you have professional coaches from Europe also coaching the teams so, they are not only there to help guys learn about systems overseas but also to evaluate players and get to know them. There were also active pro players at the Showcase so you can kind of gauge your skill level to theirs and see where you stack up. The opportunity was there before me during my first Showcase and I made the most of it and signed to play in Holland. Until this day, I don't know if anyone from the team was in the gym that day or maybe it was the work of Gerrit Kersten-Thiele and the staff at Scorers 1st, but I do think the Showcase was a great way to get my name more known, to network, and learn from the experience. That time helped launch my pro career from Holland, to Austria, Korea and now two stints in Germany.
I have now attended the Showcase three times over my career and the event gets better every year -- it's a great way to start your career or build upon your experience as a professional.
One thing I have learned on this journey in basketball : if you want to be regarded as one of the best and have opportunities in this business, than it is always important to invest in yourself, both as a rookie and even as you continue in professional basketball.
I'm glad I did.
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