Where Are They Now, 2010; Part 64
April 29th, 2010

Brad Stricker

Stricker played his first two college years with Texas A&M back in 1995-97. He averaged 4.4 points and 2.5 rebounds before transferring to Arizona State, but had sat only one semester of his required three at ASU before transferring again, this time to Georgia State. There, in the 1998-99 season, Stricker averaged 3.9 points and 3.9 rebounds, before leaving with a year of eligibility left to go and join the real world.

Stricker started a construction company, Stricker Construction, and made a couple of returns to basketball. Although one of them is hard to verify. His CV says that he played briefly in the SWBL in 2001, winning the championship that year with the San Antonio Bombers; however, a Google search for “SWBL basketball” reveals the only such league in existence to be the Strathcona Women’s Basketball League, and a search for “San Antonio Bombers” reveals only this. After that, Stricker played the 2001-02 season in Mexico, where he averaged 18 points, 12 rebounds, 4 blocks and 3 assists per game for Correcaminos Matamoros in the LNBP. But Stricker did not play for the next three years in order to run the construction company.

In 2005, having sold the business, Stricker attended offseason workouts with the Denver Nuggets and the San Antonio Spurs. Teams frequently let players work out with them during the summer, and Stricker worked out with Denver again in 2006. He signed with the Great Falls Explorers of the CBA in November 2006, but did not seem to appear in any games. (I tried to find out, but the Explorer’s website is now pornography.) And then in 2007, after a third summer of working out with the Nuggets, Stricker signed a training camp deal with the team.

The chances of Stricker making the team were 0%, and both he and the Nuggets knew it. But players can only play in training camp if they are under contract (as opposed to offseason workouts, where anything goes), and Denver wanted an extra practice body. Since Stricker had been essentially stalking the team for three years, they chose him to be that body, and even let him appear in a couple of preseason games. So after all that non-existent professional career and basically-non-existent college career, the 30-year-old Brad Stricker had made his way into legitimate NBA games. It’s not what you are in this business, it’s who you know.

Stricker was waived by the Nuggets before he got hurt and they had to pay him. He didn’t play anywhere in the 2007-08 season, even though he now had the words “NBA” legitimately on his basketball resumé; rumours of a signing in Lebanon came to nothing. But in 2008-09, the 31-year-old Stricker joined the D-League to develop his game (or something). He was taken in the fifth round of the draft by the Dakota Wizards, and played 24 games with the team, averaging 2.6 points, 2.3 rebounds and 2.1 fouls with a PER of 7.5. Dakota released Stricker in late December for “personal reasons,” but picked up him again a week later.

Six weeks after that, in the middle of February, Stricker asked for his release from the Wizards so that he could play for a team closer to home. True to his word, Stricker then went for a tryout in Kosovo – which is about as close to Texas as the Moon is to Pontefract – before returning to the D-League to play for the Albuquerque Thunderbirds. In 20 further games for them, Stricker averaged 2.8 points, 2.7 rebounds and 2.3 fouls with a PER of 7.0. He was not retained for this year, and has not played anywhere this season. Then again, he’s quite used to gap years.

That’s the lengthiest breakdown of Brad Stricker you will find on the internet. It is also perhaps the only one you’ll find.


Erick Strickland

Strickland last played in the 2004-05 season with the Milwaukee Bucks, where he averaged 4.9 points and 1.9 assists per game. He signed with the Dallas Mavericks for training camp in 2005, but did not make the team, and that was the end of his playing career.

Later, Strickland co-founded a company called “Luxury Boys Toys,” which was designed to essentially be eBay for rich people. Luxury Boys Toys no longer exists – presumably, rich people determined that eBay would suffice – and in retirement, Strickland has returned to his former team, the Mavericks. Mark Cuban loved Strickland as a player and has found him work beyond his playing career; Strickland briefly did some announcing for the Mavericks, works as an analyst for Fox Sports SW, and works with the team as a community ambassador and business manager. He has also trained as a minster, and is looking to get into the oil trading industry.


Rod Strickland

Strickland last played in 2005, when he spent a fortnight with the Houston Rockets. He later became the director of basketball operations at the University of Memphis, and when John Calipari moved to Kentucky, so did Rod, also getting a change of job title and becoming an assistant coach instead. However, Strickland’s most headline-making move was when he was arrested earlier this month for driving under the influence, his fourth such arrest in his career. It appears that Strickland either doesn’t know or doesn’t care about the dangers of drinking and driving. Everyone makes mistakes, but if you make the same “mistake” four times, you’re not trying to learn from it. Come on, my man, let’s sort this out now before someone gets hurt.


Trent Strickland

After leaving Wake Forest, Strickland spent three years in the D-League. Last year he averaged 17.5 points and 6.1 rebounds per game, earning a summer league spot with the Dallas Mavericks; this year, he finally left the D-League and went to Cyprus to play for AEK Larnacas. Statistics for Cypriot league are unavailable, and not just in the English language – I can’t find a Cypriot version of them either. Once the Cypriot regular season ended (AEK missed the playoffs), Strickland went to Belgium, and has averaged 7.7 points and 3.0 rebounds for Antwerp.


Curtis Sumpter

Sumpter started the year with Roanne in France, where he averaged 5.2 points and 4.5 rebounds in six games. He left in early November to sign with Dexia Mons-Hainaut as an injury replacement for Brandon Costner, who had a small fracture in his tibia; Sumpter’s contract was for two months with an option to extend it if Costner was still injured. But Costner returned, and Sumpter left the team in mid-January after averaging 5.0 points and 4.2 rebounds in five Belgian league games. He has been unsigned since.


Bruno Sundov

Sundov was a summer signing of BC Donetsk in the Ukraine, but apparently his star power was expensive, as the team went bankrupt and were wound up in late December. They were leading the Ukrainian Superleague at the time. Sundov then moved to Greece to play for Kavala/Panorama, for whom he averages 6.9 points and 4.2 rebounds, shooting 96% from the foul line. He also has 0 assists and 3 blocks in 14 games.


Bob Sura

The last time we heard from Bob Sura, he owned a Saturn car dealership, one that had seen its sales figures fall by 725 in the last year. Since that time, we’ve seen the implosion of the American motor industry, and the death of the Saturn brand. So that’s probably not the industry to be in right now.


Goran Suton

Suton, one of only about two big men taken in the last draft, signed with the Jazz for training camp. But due to their finances, he did not make the team, so he took his Bosnian and Croatian passports and went to Russia to play for Spartak St. Petersburg. He’s had a nothing season, though, appearing in only five games and 31 minutes of Russian Superleague play, totalling 5 points, 9 rebounds and 6 fouls. Suton has had meniscus surgery, which has of course factored heavily, but he didn’t play even when healthy.


Mike Sweetney

This time last year, there was nothing to report on Mike Sweetney. Since his rookie contract expired as a member of the Bulls in the summer of 2007, Sweetney had not been heard from at all. He literally disappeared off the map. Wasn’t even on Facebook or anything. It looked bleak.

But finally, a sighting came; the Boston Globe reported that he was in the crowd for the Bulls versus Celtics first round series’ game seven last May, and that was the precursor to a summer league contract with Boston. Sweetney was back on the court in a sanctioned game for the first time in two years, which was nice to see. But whatever he’d been doing in his time away, it hadn’t led to weight loss. Sweetney played only one game for the Celtics summer league team, totalling 3 points, 5 rebounds and 2 assists, before not playing again due to a pulled hamstring.

Sweetney claimed to have lost 40lbs in his two years away from the game, but if he did, it’s only because he put 60 more on in his time off, because he was as big as ever. And he seemed to have gotten even bigger between the end of summer league and the starting training camp, which he also spent with the Celtics, and which resulted in this media day picture. After being waived by the Celtics – who wanted to open up a roster spot for him, but who couldn’t justify his presence enough to waive J.R. Giddens for him – Sweetney turned down a workout from the Memphis Grizzlies to sign in China. But he never played a game there, and returned to America, where he took the unexpected step of joining the D-League.

In the last nine games of the D-League season for the Erie BayHawks, Sweetney averaged 13.2 points and 6.9 rebounds in 25.7 minutes per game, shooting 64% from the field and 49% from the line with a PER of 16.7. When the season concluded, Sweetney went to Puerto Rico to play for Santurce. He put up 20 points and 13 rebounds on debut, but was also responsible for this picture. In eight D-League games overall, Sweetney has averaged 29.4 minutes, 17.6 points and 11.8 rebounds per game, shooting 60% from the field and 68% from the foul line, ranking second in the league in rebounds with only Shaun Pruitt ahead of him.

Sweetney looks destined for another training camp spot in 2010. He is plenty skilled enough to be in the NBA, and always has been. But as long as he’s over 320lbs, he’s not going to be in it. I hope he identifies whatever ails him.


Robert Swift

Swift’s story is somewhat similar to that of Sweetney, but not as far along, and with more injuries along the way. He too was drafted high – the tenth pick in 2004 – and didn’t do a lot with it. He spent much of his rookie season on the inactive list, totalling only 15 points, 5 rebounds, 7 blocks and 16 fouls; 10, 3, 4 and 3 of this came in the Sonics’ season finale. He showed some signs of life in his second year, demonstrating some offensive talent, activity (that old chestnut) and defensive mobility, and averaged roughly 6/5/1 as a 20-year-old centre. And that’s not bad going.

Then, it started to go wrong. Swift grew his hair out, got tatted up, and severely injured his knee. There followed only eight games in two years as the knee recovery was repeatedly set back, not helped by other injuries. Swift played with the Thunder in 2008-09 on his qualifying offer, but was still only healthy/good enough to play in 26 games, averaging 3.3 points and 3.4 rebounds, making a total of only 34 games in three years, and 97 games in five years (47 of which came in his sophomore year).

Swift joined up with the Celtics for summer league 2009; Danny Ainge finally got his man. But by this point, he couldn’t see the very things in Swift that used to drive him wild with desire. In the summer, I wrote the following about him:

A year in the D-League to recuperate his injuries and revive his CV wouldn’t be a bad idea for Swift, if he can tolerate going from a $3 million+ salary to the mere pittance that D-Leaguers get.

Swift did just that, joining the D-League and being assigned to the Bakersfield Jam. Swift was born and raised in Bakersfield, so it was a logical unison; however, after only two games with the Jam, Swift asked to be released for personal reasons. The Jam obliged him, and their head coach Will Voigt said that it appears Swift is done with basketball aged only 24.


Stromile Swift

Swift was bought out by the Nets at the 2009 playoff deadline, and signed with the Phoenix Suns to complete the 2008-09 season. But the only contract he could get for this season was an unguaranteed minimum with the Sixers, and even that was insufficient, as the team waived him before the regular season started. Stromile then went to China, where he averaged 22.1 points, 11.8 rebounds and 3.1 blocks per game for the playoffless Shandong Flaming Bulls. He hit four three-pointers on the season; curiously, all four of them came in the same game.

If Tyrus Thomas signs the qualifying offer this summer, the comparison with Stromile will be complete.



Amara Sy

French forward Sy drew interest from the Dallas Mavericks over the summer, and was then due to sign with the Charlotte Bobcats for training camp. He never signed in the NBA in the end due to the inability to get his visa in time, but when his visa came through, Sy was made the fourth overall pick in the D-League Draft by the Bakersfield Jam. Sy was released by the team due to injury before the season started, but returned in early December to averaged 15.0 points and 7.3 rebounds per game.

The veteran of the French league took the huge discount to come to America in order to see if he could make the NBA, but he changed his mind on that fairly quickly. After only 16 games and six weeks with the Jam, Sy was bought out of his D-League contract to go play in Spain with CB Murcia. In the ACB for the first time, Sy has averaged only 6.1 points and 4.6 rebounds, and has not been able to do enough to prevent Murcia from being relegated to LEB Gold. A return to France next year looks somewhat inevitable.

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