It’s somewhat mind-boggling.
Many WVU basketball fans follow Jevon Carter, now with the NBA’s Phoenix Suns.
But there are many other former Mountaineers playing professionally.
Like 24 more – not counting Daxter Miles, who’s been playing for the Fort Wayne Mad Ants of the NBA G League.
You read correctly. Twenty-four. Some you may have forgotten.
Like Volodymyr Gerun. At 6-10, the Ukrainian played for West Virginia in 2013 and averaged 1.3 points.
Now? He’s playing internationally for Unicaga Malaga of the Spanish ACB league, averaging 3.84 points.
Who knew, right?
Of those WVU fans will certainly remember, Joe Alexander, the former No. 8 overall NBA draft pick, is still killin’ it overseas. Now 34, he recently signed with Jeonju KCC Egis in South Korea – the league in which Devin Williams also plays — and will be the third highest-paid naturalized Israeli player in the world.
And he’s loving it.
“You want to play in the NBA because it’s the life,” he told Basketball News writer Spencer Davies last year. “You’re rich; you’re famous; you’re an athlete; you play a game you tremendously enjoy; people idolize you; you get to play with your idols; and you’re free from the doldrums of other jobs you can’t see yourself being anything but miserable in.
“So, in all of those criteria, European basketball is exactly that. It’s like the things you dream about as a kid, thinking only the NBA can provide that. It’s not true.”
He went on to explain that “the game of basketball is a huge universe and the American basketball circuit is just one small galaxy.”
Alexander, by the way, has done very well financially. He reportedly made $5 million in the NBA before going overseas. He’s averaging 14.8 points and 5.5 rebounds and flourishing, despite the advanced age.
(It’s tough, by the way, to pinpoint salaries of overseas players. They depend on a number of factors such as skill levels and the specific league and country. Also, most overseas leagues don’t release salaries. Estimates, however, are players can make from under $20,000 to well over $1 million a year. The latter can be made, for instance, in the EuroLeague, Spanish Liga ACB, Turkey’s BSL and China’s CBA.)
The point here, however, is many ex-WVU players are orbiting the “universe” of which Alexander spoke.
Like Nate Adrian, who is averaging 16.5 points for MBC Mykolaiv of the Ukrainian Superleague.
Esa Ahmad is averaging 13.4 points for Alba Fehervar of the Hungarian NBIA.
Remember Maciej “Magic” Bender, who transferred from WVU to Mercer? He’s with Slask Wroclaw of – you guessed it – the Polish TBL.
I could go on and on. James “Beetle” Bolden, who transferred from WVU to Alabama, is now in Montenegro. Gary Browne and Dalton Pepper are in Italy; Sagaba Konate and Devin Ebanks are in Greece; John Flowers and Teyvon Myers are in France; Alex Ruoff and Jermaine Haley are in Germany; Terry Henderson is in Poland; Kevin Jones is in Japan; Tarik Phillip, Jabarie Hinds and Deniz Kilicli are in Turkey; Chase Harler is in Lithuania; and Jaysean Paige is in Hungary.
Oh, and I almost forgot Remi Dibo, who is now with the Ruell Athletic Club in France, and Logan Routt, who is now with Zlatorog of the Slovenian SKL.
Again, who knew, eh?
By the way, if you want to follow these guys, I suggest bookmarking Real GM, which keeps up with all this. You can do so here: https://basketball.realgm.com/ncaa/conferences/Big-12-Conference/3/West-Virginia/77/in-the-pros
Just thought I’d give you a heads-up about the many Mountaineers orbiting that basketball universe.
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Mitch Vingle covered sports in West Virginia for 38 years. Follow Mitch on Twitter at @MitchVingle and be sure to check out the rest of Wheelhouse Creative’s website for your marketing and advertising needs. If interested, call us at 304-905-6005.