Prigoni left Tau Vitoria this summer after six years there, and moved to Real Madrid as a part of Ettore Messina’s complete makeover of the place. He averages 6.9 points and 3.4 assists per game in the ACB, alongside 7.0 points and 4.5 assists in their now-ended EuroLeague campaign. However, his defence, which was always a calling card of his, has started to slip. This is to be expected from a man who turns 33 next month.
The next great Raptors European hope, Gorgeous Georgios left Olympiacos in the summer for a big money deal with Unicaja Malaga. He averaged 11.7 points and 4.3 rebounds per game in their EuroLeague campaign, alongside 9.8 points and 3.4 rebounds per game in the ACB. Despite this being a website with a focus on player salaries, I tend not to comment upon the salaries of European players, for they are highly speculative and basically impossible to verify. However, Printezis signed with Malaga to a deal that pays seven-figures and then some; therefore, even with Toronto’s favourable tax rates (that I don’t particularly understand but am aware they exist) for the Raptors to compete with that means using at least a BAE. So a move to the NBA is perhaps not imminent.
Cult hero Profit was a member of the Grizzlies training camp roster in 2007, but did not make the team. Since that time, he has spent three consecutive seasons with an Argentinian team called Libertad Sunchales. There, playing alongside the mighty Ruben Wolkowyski, Profit averages 16.8 points and 4.7 rebounds per game. Libertad finished fourth in the Argentinian Liga A regular season standings, received a bye for the first round of the playoffs, and begin their quarter final matchup versus Boca Juniors next week.
The Celtics waived Pruitt in the summer before his contract became guaranteed. He caught on with the Knicks for training camp, but did not make the team and went to the D-League. Pruitt started with the L.A. D-Fenders and averaged 11.7 points, 4.8 rebounds and 3.3 assists, but when he moved to the guard-heavy Utah Flash in January, his numbers dropped to only 11.1/2.5/2.5 per game. Pruitt also shot a combined 22-88 from three-point range, which is a percentage that you can probably calculate for yourself.
Illinois graduate was briefly in the NBA when he signed with the Warriors for training camp. He didn’t make the team and therefore went to Greece to play for Peristeri. However, Pruitt appeared in only two games and 24 minutes with the team before they released him in favour of Gary Wilkinson, unsatisfied with Pruitt’s performance. Can’t see how 24 minutes was enough to really assess his performance, but that’s the Greek way sometimes. Pruitt then signed early for the Puerto Rican season, and currently averages 17.9 points and a league-leading 14.4 rebounds per game, six of which are offensive. He has only 10 assists all year and is shooting 40% from the foul line, so he’s still prone to Shaun Pruitt-like moments, but those rebounding numbers don’t lie and are not to be sniffed at. He is 3.7 rebounds per game ahead of the guy in second place in the BSN, Alphonse Dyer.
(Dyer is a former Northwestern State player – not Northwestern, but Northwestern State – who never averaged more than 5/4 in a four-year Southland Conference career. Yet he has played for Puerto Rican team San German for four consecutive years, and his numbers have improved every year, now up to 9.3 ppg and 10.7 rpg. It’s quite a cool story, albeit one irrelevant to the NBA landscape, which is the landscape we try to deal in here.)
Former Arizona forward Radenovic went undrafted back in 2007, but has had no problem finding good quality work. He first tested with PAOK in Greece this summer, then signed with CSKA Moscow. However, he barely played with the team in the two months he was there (totalling only 28 Russian league minutes and 58 EuroLeague minutes), and was released in late December. He then returned to Spain to play for Cajasol Sevilla, and has averaged 3.9 points and 2.0 rebounds in 15 ACB games.
Vuk Radivojevic is a personal favourite. He looks like a cross between Mike Bibby and a tennis racket, but that’s not the only reason. Vuk – whose first name means “Wolf”, which is pretty awesome – is a tall slow point guard and a pick-and-roll guru, in the classic former Yugoslavian mould of tall unathletic P&R guru point guards. And I love them. The NBA doesn’t so much, which is why awesome players like Milos Teodosic go undrafted every now and then, but that’s OK, because there’s enough quality club basketball in the world for them all. Radivojevic started the year with Crvena Zvezda, my favourite European team, and averaged 7.4 points, 3.3 rebounds and 3.0 assists per game in the EuroCup. It was reported that he left the team last month; however, he came back and played in their first Serbian league game at the weekend, playing 36 minutes and scoring 17 points. Vuk’s name continues to be linked to teams across the continent, including Aris of Greece and Besiktas of Turkey, but he hasn’t left yet.
He’s a tall point guard, which I like. He looks like Mike Bibby, which surely everyone likes. His name means “Wolf”, which is bankable likability. And he’s played most of his professional life for one of my favourite teams. Yes, Wolfie is definitely a personal favourite.
Things haven’t gone so well for Crvena Zvezda, though. They ran out of money early, and while they tried to blag it throughout the season, their elimination from the EuroCup spelled the end. Jazz draft pick and team captain Tadija Dragicevic was the first to go, and the floodgates were opened. Mike Taylor has since left, as did Radivojevic, who is back to captain the team but only briefly. Bulgarian international and former Western Kentucky wing man Filip Videnov left soon afterwards, and starting centre Vladimir Stimac is finalising a move to Roma. Apart from the 26 year old Radivojevic, Red Star retain only two players older than 23; 26-year-old backup big man Oliver Stevic and 24-year-old forward Strahinja Dragicevic (Tadija’s brother). All their senior players have left the team, and since three of their -youngsters are prospects in the upcoming draft (Nemanja Bjelica, Marko Keselj and Elmedir Kikanovic), they might not be staying for much longer.
Nevertheless, despite the exodus, Red Star have made three recent signings, buying three 20-year-olds from Serbian club Mega Vizura. It’s the way to build; they couldn’t afford to retain their senior players, so they’ll rebuild with cheap young domestic talent and try to build a core while resolving their finances. It’s the right strategy. And that just makes me like them more.
Rakocevic’s struggles this season has been alluded to in earlier posts. He turned down the NBA this summer for a big-money move to Efes Pilsen, but it failed badly. Reportedly, Rakocevic doesn’t like his coach, his coach doesn’t like him, the team has underperformed, and yet they’ve committed so much money to him that all sides are having to pretend to tolerate the situation. Rakocevic averaged only 10.0 points per game in the EuroLeague, and while his 15.4 points and 3.3 assist per game numbers in the Turkish league are nicer, that’s not what they paid him for, nor what he turned down the NBA to do.
Magic draft pick Rakovic is having a career year and is one of the best players in Russia. He was injured at the start of the season, but returned to action in late November, and averaged 14.3 points and 6.0 rebounds in Spartak St Petersburg’s short EuroCup campaign. He is also averaging 27.3 minutes, 16.0 points, 7.3 rebounds and 1.8 assists in the Russian league, shooting 57% from the field and 73% from the line. Rakovic only takes three free throws per game, which needs to go up, but he’s scoring a lot of points, efficiently.
Former Wizards big man Ramos has pulled off the China/Puerto Rico combination this year with aplomb. It’s a beautiful combination that many players engage in, although it helps Ramos no end that he is actually Puerto Rican. This season for the Zheijiang Lions, Ramos averaged 17.5 points and 13.0 rebounds in only 30.7 per game, grabbing less than 10 rebounds only once in 38 tries (and that was a nine-rebound performance). Zheijiang were knocked out of the CBA playoffs at the semi final stage last week, and Ramos returned to Puerto Rico to play for the Quebradillas Pirates. He is making his debut at the very moment that I’m typing this.
Talented offensive player Rancik is playing for Galatasaray in Turkey, and averaged 18.8 points, 6.9 rebounds and 2.3 assists per game in the EuroCup. The Slovakian international also averages 16.5 points, 6.1 rebounds and 1.7 assists per game in the Turkish league. He is the finest player in the history of St. Cloud State University. No offence to Brett Putz.