Lately, I’ve had some fascinating conversations with players about pursuing opportunities overseas. It’s heartening to see more players considering this path, but it’s also crucial to be realistic about the challenges it entails. Many players are drawn by the allure of overseas leagues without fully grasping what it entails.

Let me share a recent encounter that illustrates this point vividly. I spoke with two young American players who were eager to head to Europe to play ball and support their families financially. Admirable aspirations, no doubt, but they lacked crucial elements for success: recent game footage and representation. In today’s competitive landscape, without these, the chances of a 19 or 20-year-old American securing a contract overseas are slim to none.

I explained to them the harsh reality: European teams are focused on immediate success. They’re not in the business of nurturing raw talent import players when they have local prospects to consider. To stand a chance, American players must be polished, both physically and mentally. It’s not just about skill; it’s about being the finished product.

It pained me to temper their enthusiasm, but I had to be honest. Yet, I couldn’t help but feel a twinge of guilt. After all, I believe in the power of relentless pursuit and hard work. I never want to extinguish someone’s dreams, but I owe it to them to offer a dose of reality.

Despite the tough conversation, I’m grateful for the trust these players placed in me. It’s a responsibility I take seriously. And it’s reinforced my belief in the value of my book and what I do with advising players. Perhaps by sharing my experiences and insights, I can better prepare young players for the journey ahead.

So, while these conversations may have been challenging, I’m optimistic about the impact they’ll have. And I eagerly anticipate more discussions in the future, each one an opportunity to guide and empower the next generation of hoopers.

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