April 2, 2011
Andrew Betts (50th pick, 1998)
- In a post about Budivelnyk Kyiv that has not run - and which, since it was about their Eurocup season which has now ended, will now never run - I wrote this:
Entirely reliant upon imports, Budivelnyk have once again become the best team in the Ukraine, just like they were through most of the 90's, after a few years in the doldrums.
Up front, they boast British centre Andy Betts, whose signing was something of a surprise. Betts retired from international basketball in the new year, and was on record in the summer as stating that he'd retire if he couldn't get a good gig in Spain, where he and his family live. It seems as though he changed his mind. And it was a good thing that he did; he has stayed healthy all year, and is a key contributor on the current Ukrainian Superleague leaders and Eurocup quarter finalist. Betts is starting to slow down, as is inevitable in any 33 year old, yet he still averages 10.5 points in only 17 minutes in Euroleague play, alongside a helpful 6.9ppg in 17 Eurocup minutes as well. And he does so on 76% shooting. Even at his advanced age, Betts can get position and finish.
May 8, 2010
Britain (and England in particular) are starting to place some good big men prospects abroad. Joel Freeland was a first round draft pick of the Blazers back in 2006, who is slowly making a name for himself in the powerhouse Spanish ACB. Another Blazers draft pick, Dante Cunningham, has also worked out for the British team, although he doesn't have the pre-requisite passport yet. Former Hornets forward Sean Banks is also eligible for a British passport, and supposedly in the process of getting one. And other British big man prospects that you may have heard of include Dan Clark (Estudiantes Madrid, ACB), Justin Robinson (Rider), Eric Boateng (just graduated from Arizona State University) and Matthew Bryan-Amaning (University of Washington).
There's some established talent out there, too. Luol Deng, you know about. One-time NBA big man Robert Archibald is also playing in the ACB to a high level, even if he is Scottish. Former NBA draft pick Andy Betts - a man able to make the CV boosting claim that he was once traded for Peja Stojakovic - is still plying his trade in the Greek first division with Aris, a Euroleague team this year. Ex-Raptors forward Pops Mensah-Bonsu is a stalwart of the national team, and finally found the NBA employment last season that he should have had for the last few years. Michael Olowokandi has a British passport (although we don't want him), as has Steve Nash (whom we sadly can't have). And worse case scenario, there's always Providence's Randall Hanke.
January 7, 2010
- Andrew Betts
Betts is in Greece playing for Aris Thessaloniki. He is averaging 8.2 points, 5.8 rebounds and 1.8 assists per game in the Eurocup, alongside 10.8 points and 5.0 rebounds per game in the Greek league. At age 32, Betts is not the player he once was, but he's still got a lot of love to give.