Whether you call them OG’s, Oldheads or whatever, the importance of educating yourself with those that have been playing in Europe longer than you is increasingly important. I did an interview for my series The Eurostep the other day with Javontae Hawkins and he mentioned that he had OG’s that helped to educate him during his first seasons for many of the on-court issues that he would have to deal with while playing overseas. I am pretty sure that they also helped him with some off-court issues as well, but having OG’s is sometimes a luxury that some players do not have. It is not always the case, especially in the lower leagues overseas, that a young player just out of school will have an experienced American on the team.
What I have realized recently is that many agents (not all) do not properly educate their players on what to expect when their players first come overseas besides contractual and placement issues. I do not want to come off as “anti-agent” because I am not. I am, however, “pro-player”. Sometimes this negligence has nothing to do with not WANTING to educate the players. It probably has more to do with the agents not having enough time to sit down with each player and discuss what to expect. During the main signing period after college seasons end and throughout the summer, agents are extremely busy with finding new clients, placing and negotiating contracts for almost everyone on their roster. It is normal for some issues to fall between the cracks.
This is why players who are about to go overseas for the first time must educate themselves BEFORE they get on the plane! What they cannot find out beforehand, can be made up for when they are at their destination. Experience, and speaking with the OG’s on their team or in their league are important for development both on and off the court. Seek those individuals out either in person or even on social media. I have found that many OG’s are open to helping younger players, but usually only when asked so they do not come off as preachy. If you are reading this, you probably know I wrote a book (Same Name Different Game) especially for this reason…to help. I guide many players in one way or another so use me also as a resource. If you have a question I do not know, I can usually ask someone who does. Regardless of who you find to help you, be sure to soak it all in like a sponge. Use what you think is important for your development. Educate yourself FOR yourself!
Thank you for taking the time to read my words!