Where Are They Now, 2009: Part 46
March 4th, 2009

Renaldas Seibutis is part of a deep Iurbentia Bilbao team, averaging 10.7 points and 1.6 rebounds in the EuroCup, alongside 6.6 points and 1.7 rebounds in the Spanish league.

– Now is the time to refamiliarise yourself with Warriors great, Mladen Sekularac. Mladen was drafted in the second round by the Mavericks back in 2002, coming off a season that saw him average 17.6 points in the Saporta Cup, the predecessor of sorts to the EuroCup. From there, Sekularac (whose name I’m finding really hard to abridge) went to Bologna in Italy, where he didn’t play much and was released mid-season. In 2003/04, Rac averaged a more modest 10 ppg back in the Adriatic League, and then saw his rights traded to Golden State as a minor part of the Erick Dampier trade. It was at that moment that it all started to go south. Sekularac had signed with Buducnost to start the 2004/05 season, but left after they stopped paying him; he then signed in December of ’04 with Apollon in Greece, but appeared in only two games, totalling 0 points. Since then, Kula has been in Belgium, where a series of injuries have seen him go from the fifth-leading scorer in the country in 2005/06 to a fringe starter in the present day. Sek is now 28, and has not panned out despite once being touted as his nation’s best prospect for a generation. And guess what? Right now, he’s currently injured. Larac signed a two-year contract with Charleroi this summer, and then got injured in his debut, back in October. He hasn’t played since, and has all of two points to his name on the year. Bad times.

Mouhamed Sene was waived by the Thunder on trade deadline day to accommodate Thabo Sefolosha. The team have since waived Joe Smith, thus opening up a roster spot for Sene’s return. But it’s not going to happen. Do you know why it’s not going to happen? It’s not going to happen because Saer Sene is not an NBA-calibre rotation player. Not now, and probably not ever. Remember that before you tout him as a signing for your team, as so many of you seem to be doing. (Note: if it happens, this post will self-destruct.)

Josip Sesar – a 2000 second-round draft pick of the Sonics, later traded to the Celtics – has never left the Balkans. In fact, the only times he’s played for a team outside of his native Croatia have been for teams in Bosnia, and that’s where he finds himself now, with a team named BC Zrinjski Mik Company Mostar. The team don’t even appear to have a website, so I can’t tell you what Sesar averages. But then, he’s 31, he’s been producing less over the last few years than he was when he was 21, he never joined the NBA, and he’s never going to..

Ansu Sesay is playing for ALBA Berlin, a team who managed to make it far in the EuroLeague before their triumphant run ended last month. Sesay averaged 9.1 points and 4.4 rebounds in EuroLeague play, alongside 12.4 points and 4.5 rebounds in German league play. Six of ALBA’s top seven scorers are Americans (a list that includes Casey Jacobsen, Adam Chubb and Rashad Wright, as well as Sesay), and the seventh is a Serbian named Aleksandar Nadjfeji. German national basketball is looking healthy, then.

– The most important update of this entire series is finally here. Ha Seung-Jin was traded by the Blazers to Milwaukee in the 2006 offseason, as a part of the trade that took Jamaal Magloire to Portland. He was waived during training camp, kicked around for a couple of months, and was then acquired by the Anaheim Arsenal of the D-League. Ha played in 26 games for The Arse, with 16 starts, but only averaged a frankly disappointing 2.7 points, 2.8 rebounds, and 2.0 fouls in the size-starved D-League. Ha did not play last year, and this year he is back in his native Korea playing for KCC Egis. But there is hope at last – Ha has played in 37 games with the team this year, averaging 22 minutes, 9.3 rebounds, 7.4 rebounds, 1.3 blocks and 1.3 fouls per game, shooting 66% from the floor and 43% from the foul line. Those are, if nothing else, numbers. And you can only obtain numbers by playing in games. So this means that Ha is at least playing in games. And for that, we are grateful. The dream is not yet over.

Mustafa Shakur was a recent signing for Panellinios in Greece, where he backs up Anthony Grundy and averages 6.0 points and 1.2 assists. I watched a Panellinios game a few days ago, and, after Shakur committed two admittedly rather dumb fouls in the first 30 seconds, the commentators spent the remainder of the game doing little else but talk about how bad Mustafa Shakur is. They did this unapologetically and relentlessly, despite Shakur scoring 18 points in 13 minutes right in front of their eyes, on a relentless sequence of superbly effective drives.

Doron Sheffer has retired for the fourth time. The first time came back in the year 2000 at the age of 28, when it transpired that he had cancer. He returned in early 2003, and managed to avoid retiring again until October 2005, when he retired again due to the “sleepless nights” he got from the “waste of time” that basketball was to him. That solemn vow lasted for all of six weeks before he unretired again in December, and Sheff saw out the season with Hapoel Tel-Aviv, playing in only five games before breaking his hand. Guess what he did then? Yep, he retired, this time in April 2006, and this one lasted until July 2007, when Sheffer returned to play one final season with his original team, Hapoel Galil Elyon-Golan. This time, he managed a full season. And then he retired again after the season ended. We can only guess that this is really it this time, even if the evidence is decidedly stacked against it.

Ricky Shields is arguably the best player in Slovenia, leading his team, the league-leading Krka, in both points and assists with averages of 15.1 points and 2.7 assists respectively, along with 4.8 rebounds per game. If “best player on the best team in Slovenia” isn’t the ultimate CV boost, then I don’t know what is.

Joe Shipp is playing for Minas Tenis Clube in Brazil, a team who strangely favour basketball over tennis. (They should, of course, but the branding seems off.) Shipp averages 19.7 points and 5.6 rebounds in the Brazilian league.

Paul Shirley’s blog on over the summer alluded to the idea that his 2008 stint in Spain with Vive Menorca might have been his last-ever professional basketball player gig. It wasn’t, because Shirley signed a one-month contract this November with Unicaja Malaga as an injury replacement for Marcus Haislip. However, that’s over now, and Shirley is again unsigned, seemingly not looking too hard for work either. He’s now writing a lot for ESPN about music.

– Finally, some good news. After almost two years out of the game, Wayne Simien is back and playing, albeit not at the standard that he once was. Simien is with Caceras in the Spanish LEB Gold [second division], averaging 16.8 points and 8.2 rebounds a game. It’s a start. Despite how few NBA games he played, though, Simien has still appeared in the second-most out of anyone on this list, with 51 games, albeit way behind Ansu Sesay’s 127. (Sene and Ha both appeared in 46, Shirley in 18. The rest have appeared in 0, and probably never will.)

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