The 2017-18 Virginia basketball season tips off in just 16 days. With the recent success of UVA basketball, it is no surprise that the number of Hoos in the NBA has increased, but the NBA isn’t the only game around. There are professional basketball leagues all over the world, and that means there are Wahoo basketball players making us proud in about a dozen different countries.
So, with that in mind, let’s take a look at all of these guys and how they’re doing (Note: lists are alphabetical).
Justin Anderson, Philadelphia 76ers – Justin has had an up-and-down career so far. He was a first round pick, the only guy on this list who can boast that. He was decent in limited action as a rookie, averaging just four points per game, but seeing only 11 minutes per game. He managed to average about 0.5 blocks and 0.5 steals in that limited action, showing off his defensive abilities. As a sophomore, he had upped his scoring even though he wasn’t getting many more minutes. He was traded during the season to Philly, where his playing time increased to over 20 mpg, and his scoring went up to 8.5 ppg. He shot 60% from the field for the Sixers, but was still under 30% from three. A deep Sixers team right now has Anderson on the outside looking in for playing time. He received a DNP-CD in the Sixers season opener.
He did do this sick follow jam against his former team. Also the flex.
Malcolm Brogdon, Milwaukee Bucks – You may have heard that Brogdon won the NBA Rookie of the Year award this past season. He averaged 10 points, three rebounds, four assists and a steal. Those numbers probably aren’t going to win ROY most years, but last year wasn’t a great year for rookies. Brogdon shot 48% from the field, 86% from the stripe and 40% from behind the arc. That’s a solid line for a rookie, and especially so for a rookie who spent much of the season coming off the bench. Brogdon is the starting PG for Milwaukee this year and he’s gotten off to a good start.
Brogdon had many highlights during his rookie year. Here’s him dunking on Kyrie Irving and Lebron James in the same game.
Joe Harris, Brooklyn Nets – Harris was on the Cavaliers in 2015-16, so he probably got a ring. He played just five games for the team before suffering an injury that would keep him out for most of the season. He was traded to Orlando in January, but never suited up for the Magic. He then signed a free agent deal with the Nets and played pretty well last year for Brooklyn. He averaged eight points per game and shot over 38% from three. He started 11 times and averaged over 21 minutes per game. This year, Joe is averaging eight and three in about 18 minutes per game. He’s made almost 60% of his 3s so far.
Mike Scott, Washington Wizards – By far the most accomplished player on this list, Scott is in his 6th NBA season this year, playing five seasons with the Atlanta Hawks. He has a career average of seven points and three rebounds per game, which isn’t bad in just 15 minutes per game. Last year, Scott was charged with felony drug possession and played just 18 games for the Hawks. He was traded to the Suns, who promptly released him. While he was dealing with his legal troubles, nobody signed him. But the charges against him (and his brother) were dropped, and Scott signed with the Wizards this offseason. Scott is playing about 17 minutes per game, but hasn’t done much yet on the court. He’s shooting just 20% from three and averaging under six ppg.
Darion Atkins, SIG Strasbourg, France – Atkins is in his 3rd year as a pro, and his 3rd country. He spent his first season in the NBA D-League, then spent last season in Israel. He was an All-Star last year for Hapoel Holon, averaging 13.6 points and nine rebounds. He was 3rd in the league in rebounds. He played three minutes of Summer League ball for the Suns this year, and then signed with Strasbourg. Through five games this year, he’s averaging 11.6 points, 5.8 rebounds and 1.2 blocks per game, in about 25 minutes. The team is 2-3.
Billy Baron, Eskisehir, Turkey – There are a few guys on this list who did not complete their basketball careers at Virginia. Baron is the first of these. Baron transferred to Rhode Island to play for his father. He later transferred to Canisius, again to play with his father. Baron has played in Lithuania, Belgium and Spain. He’s now in Turkey, playing for Eskisehir Basket. In two games, he’s averaging 15 points and four assists. He’s still a shooter, and is making 55% of his threes in two games. For his career, he’s around 40% from downtown.
Gary Forbes, Larissa-Faros, Greece – Another guy who didn’t complete his career for the Hoos, Gary moved on to UMASS. He actually played 13 games over two years in the NBA before moving overseas. He also spent a good deal of time in the G-League. Last year, he split the year between Argentina and Venezuela. He’s now in Greece with Gymnasticos Larissa-Faros, where he’s averaging nine points per game over three games.
Anthony Gill, BC Khimki Moscow Region, Russia – Gill spent last season playing in Turkey, averaging 14 points and seven rebounds per game. He played in two NBA Summer Leagues this year. In Orlando, he played for Charlotte and averaged eight and five. In Las Vegas, he averaged 10 and eight for Cleveland. Following that showing, he signed a two year deal with Khimki (actually a 1+1 deal, meaning he can opt out after this season). Khimki finished 3rd in the Russian League last year, and so far this year they are 3-0. Gill is averaging 11 and five in 19 minutes per game so far.
K.T. Harrell, Basic-Fit Brussels, Belgium – As we know, K.T. did not finish his career at UVA, instead transferring to Auburn to finish his college basketball eligibility. He has played in Turkey and Italy in his career, and now moves to Belgium. Harrell is the leading scorer for Brussels, averaging 13 points per game to go along with four rebounds, 1.5 assists and 1.5 steals in four games of league play. Brussels is also in Basketball Champion’s League and FIBA European Cup.
Paul Jesperson, Ginmasia Y Esgrima Comodoro Rivadaiva, Argentina – As we likely know, Jesperson did not finish his career with the Hoos. He transferred to Northern Iowa, where he did this. Maybe you remember.
Anyway, Jesperson spent last season with Oviedo CB in the Spanish 2nd division. A week ago, Paul signed a contract to play for play for Gimnasia y Esgrima de Comodoro Rivadavia (GECR) in Argentina. He has not suited up for them yet.
Sylven Landesberg, Estudiantes, Spain – Because his father is Jewish, Landesberg was able to get Israeli citizenship, which made him a valuable asset to the Israeli professional leagues. Most leagues have a limit on the number of foreigners (read: Americans) a team can have. Landesberg began his career in Israel with Maccabi Haifa and then spent five years with Maccabi Tel Aviv, one of the top teams in Europe. This year, for whatever reason, Landesberg has moved to Spain. He’s teamed up with former Maryland star Nick Caner-Medley. Landesberg is averaging 19 points per game in League play and 21 points per game in Champions League.
Jerome Meyinsse, Atenas, Argentina – Virginia fans may remember Meyinsse as the guy who didn’t play enough, averaging well under 10 minutes per game prior to his 4th year. Since then, Meyinsse has bounced around in Argentina and Brazil. You may recall this video of him teaching the USA basketball team some Portgueuse in preparation for their trip to Rio for the Olympics last year. This year, Meyinsse is back in Argentina, playing for Asosiacion Deportiva Atenas. In six games, Jerome is averaging 11 and six with almost two blocks per game.
Laurynas Mikalauskas, Nevezis, Lithuania – Everybody’s favorite Lithuanian has had quite a professional career. He’s played mostly in his home country, but also spent time in Estonia. He’s in his 7th year of pro basketball, and has had some big years. He’s averaged 18 and seven for a season earlier in his career. He is currently with a new team, Nevezis, and has not yet suited up for them. Former Miami player Malcolm Grant is also there.
Akil Mitchell, Long Island Nets, NBA G-League – The UVA fan favorite has spent most of his professional career in the NBA Development league (now known as the G-league as they’re sponsored by Gatorade). Mitchell also spent one season with the New Zealand Beakers, who play in the Australian League. You may recall reading about a horrific injury that Mitchell suffered on the court last season. His eyeball literally came out of the socket. [Video redacted because eww]
London Perrantes, Canton Charge, NBA G-League – After playing with Miami during NBA Summer Leagues in both Orlando and Las Vegas, Perrantes signed with the Spurs for training camp. He was released, but then signed a “two-way” contract with the Cleveland Cavaliers. This means that Cleveland owns his rights, and can call him up to the NBA for as long as 45 days during the season. It also means he gets paid more than most G-Leaguers, about 75k if he remains in the minors all season.
J.R. Reynolds, Gravelines, France – Another guy who’s made the rounds, Reynolds has played in France, Italy, Israel, and Montenegro. Reynolds is back in France now, signing just last week with BCM Gravelines. He’s played in one game, scoring three points in 16 minutes.
Devin Smith, Maccabi Tel Aviv, Israel – Smith began his pro career with two years in Italy (for different teams). Since then, he’s been with Tel Aviv for his entire career. He averaged double-digit points every year prior to last season. He spent a few of those years on a team with Landesberg. Smith is still at Tel Aviv, although apparently he has ended his career for medical reasons.
Tristan Spurlock, Byblos, Lebanon – Yes, there is apparently a professional basketball league in Lebanon. Spurlock has made the rounds in his career, playing in Puerto Rico, Hungary, Argentina and Mexico before this year. He has not suited up for Byblos though.
Mike Tobey, Iberostar Tenerife, Spain – Tobey actually spent 20 days in the NBA last season with the Charlotte Hornets, playing in one game, scoring two points and grabbing three rebounds in 11 minutes. He spent most of the season with the Greensboro Swarm of the NBA D-League. Following the NBA season, Tobey signed with Valencia in the Spanish League and finished out the season there. He was injured for part of that time, but Valencia won the league. This year, Tobey has signed with Iberostar Tenerife, which is a Spanish team located in the Canary Islands. Tenerife won the FIBA International Cup back in September, with Tobey picking up MVP honors. Tobey is currently averaging 15 and eight, leading the team in rebounds through four games. They are 3-1, losing to Tobey’s former team Valencia.
T.J. Bannister (Levice, Slovakia)
Elton Brown (Nancy Basket, France)
Derrick Byars (JA Vichy, French 3rd division)
Jason Cain (Marin, Spanish 2nd division)
Teven Jones (Perez Zeledon, Costa Rica)
Adrian Joseph (Police, Trinidad and Tobago)
Sammy Zeglinski (Island Storm, Canada)
A couple of other former Wahoos are still involved in professional basketball even though they aren’t playing anymore.
Rick Carlisle in his 10th season as head coach of the Dallas Mavericks. He’s been named NBA Coach of the Year (2002) and has won a ring (2011). The Mavericks have fallen off from their glory days of the past decade, but Carlisle is still a well-respected coach in the NBA.
Roger Mason Jr was the Deputy Executive Director of the NBA Players Association up until last year. He is now the president of Big-3, the 3-on-3 basketball league that was a big deal this past summer. Mason’s reputation around the NBA helped him to recruit former stars to join the league.