If you have followed Brandyn Curry's career at Harvard University and since turning pro two seasons ago, you already know the guy works super hard and brings you along on the journey by chronicling his overseas experience. Now after winning a championship and MVP in Holland and growing in Germany, both Curry and his blog are back...check back throughout the season and make sure to connect with Brandyn on Twitter for more on the Third Year Pro.
Excited for the start off my third season in my young professional career, overseas in Slovenia!
I'm more determined and focused than ever after a somewhat disappointing season last year in Germany. As you all may know, last year was not a great year on the court for my team or me. We finished the year 8-24 in a three-way tie for second to last place. Having changed coaches three different times, we never got our rhythm. However, I grew a lot over the course of the year and used the adversity I faced to further my development as a player.
If you know me, you know I see adversity as just another opportunity to learn from its sometimes harsh lessons, and then take that “schooling” to turn old defeat on its head my next time out. Kind of like having to slow down when you're driving into a curve, then, knowing the road better, accelerating out of it to move forward. Well, I did just that I carried this momentum right into my summer workout regimen immediately upon arriving back home in Charlotte, NC. The real progress for basketball players is always made in the summer a lesson I learned in college. During the summer, if you’re an athlete you have the available time to work out as much or as little as you want to. Its all about desire, commitment and self-discipline. I love my summer workouts and this summer I committed to and undertook the most grueling and intense workout regimen I have had. I feel that I have reached yet another level in my growth as a player. And while I was hard at work, my agent was also working hard on his end to get me into a good situation for my third year.
This time we had a little help from a very good friend of mine, Kyle Casey.
You probably know who Kyle is but if you don't here’s a little background information. Kyle was my teammate at Harvard for all four of my years there. Kyle, Dee Giger and Christian Webster, quickly became my best friends with whom I enjoyed the best four years of my life. We broke numerous records together on the court at Harvard and along with our other teammates, helped to shape the Harvard Basketball dynasty that is in full force there now. When recruiting all of us, Coach Amaker explained his vision of how he felt we could change the culture of basketball at Harvard and make history there. Previously, Harvard had never been known for having a strong basketball program.
Prior to our group’s arrival, since the 1954 official founding of the Ivy League, there had been more US Presidents with Harvard Degrees (3) than Harvard Men’s Basketball Ivy Champions (0). Perhaps more importantly, not many people can say that they’ve made history at the USA’s oldest, and arguably the most prestigious university in the world.In our time there, our “fam” (as we called ourselves) set the school record for most wins in a season (and then surpassed this record three more times), achieved the first ever national ranking in team history, won Harvard’s Men Basketball first Ivy League championship and NCAA Tournament wins plus several others. Now a program that once was seldom mentioned in the conversation of top college basketball programs has become a mid-major powerhouse that is attracting the attention and the student-athlete accepted commitments of several of the top 100 players in the nation! It has truly been a beautiful thing to see Coach Amaker's vision he shared with us come into fruition. And to know that we were some of the initial “seeds” whose growth and shared efforts helped bear those fruits
So, back to my good friend Kyle: He had decided to re-sign with the team in Slovenia where he’d started his professional career, the Domzale Helios Suns.
They had just won the Slovenian championship last year and as a result, would be competing in two more leagues;The Alpe Adria Cup and the FIBA Champions League. By participating in these two leagues we will travel to Croatia, Austria, France, Denmark, Czech Republic, Germany,Turkey, Greece, and Israel to play teams! Since they were in need of a successful point guard, Im getting to team up with one of my best friends of college, and getting major exposure by playing in three leagues against some of the best teams in Europe, which made this opportunity a hard one to pass up. Thus, here I am in my home for the year! For those who do not know (I had to look it up myself), Slovenia is located to the east of the Italy. It is a very small but extremely beautiful country. In just a one hour drive you can go to either Croatia, Austria, or Italy. Our preseason was a long and tough one. We traveled to Italy and Croatia during it to play some higher level teams to get us ready. The official season has just kicked off last week for us and we are off to a good start with a 2-0 record. Very excited to be able to share my journey with you all this year.
Big things are on the way! Or, as they say here in Slovenia, "Velike stvari so na poti!”
Brandyn’s Bonus Point:
As I mentioned in my previous post, just like an extra shot a basketball player gets when he is fouled on a shot, I want to periodically give you some “inside knowledge” about professional overseas basketball to help you better understand the game.
Here’s this month’s Bonus Point:
Unlike in the NBA where players sign multi-year contracts, most overseas contracts are only one year contracts. From what I have seen so far there are a few reasons for this . One is that most teams do not know exactly what their financial status will be the next year because sponsors always come and go without telling who will stick around. Also, players are always hoping to play well and move up to better contracts in better leagues so they don't want to be tied down to the same team in case they do have a really good year. I’ve seen people double and triple the money the next year after a good season. This means that every year could be a new country and new team which can be tough to do. After playing for the same team for four years in high school and college, to be playing for my third team in three years is certainly different! Imagine, for a moment, moving to a new country each year, learning their unique customs (like having to bring a birthday cake for everyone on YOUR birthday!), picking up some of their language, tasting new foods (some really fabulous, others I'll just call “unique”, have you ever had Kangaroo before?), seeing the different clothes people wear…and remembering all the time these are fellow human beings who share the globe with us.
Just part of how things work when you’re an international basketball professional though, and I am enjoying all my new experiences!
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