Basketball Journey

Freshman Team

Frosh/Soph Team

My first season of High School basketball. At the time, I thought I was good enough to play on the Junior Varsity team. After some reflection (now that I've "grown up") I realize that I was a "little" unfocused and was not completely committed to working hard and getting better. I was still playing on my natural talent as opposed to earning improvements.

I was still playing baseball in the Spring which also pulled me in another direction away from the game of basketball. After my freshman year, I realized I needed to make a real committment to improve and achieve my goals.

Sophmore Year - Junior Varsity

Junior Varsity Team

After growing a few inches over the summer I entered my sophomore year with more serious goals, a renewed appreciation for the game and a will to make the Varsity team by the end of the year.

In addition to practicing with the JV team in the evenings, I would leave school as soon as I heard the bell ring and go to play with the college/NBA guys at a local community center. This, in addition to AAU (high-level off season hoops), was a huge contributing factor regarding my player development.

Junior Year - Varsity

Junior Year - Varsity Team

I will never forget this season. It was one of the most complete teams I've ever been on as it shared a certain chemistry that only comes around a handful of times in a player's career. We were crowned Kingco Champs and finished 4th in State.

I had an important role on the team and began to show everyone that I could really play the game of basketball at a high level. While I still occasionally struggled with remaining focused and on task, I believe that this year really gave me momentum leading into what is arguably the most important off-season of a basketball player's career.

Senior Year - D III Caliber Recruit

Senior Year

My senior year did not start off well after I sprained my left ankle in some preseason workouts. I was healthy enough to play in the first game of the season but ankle issues and knee tendonitis plagued me for the remainder of the season.

Looking back on that last season of my high school career, I realize how much talent we had on that team. We did not make State that season despite having 4 players eventually play at the D1 level.

Now I needed to decide where and if I wanted to keep playing...

Freshman Year - Walk-On

Walk-On

After several long talks with my parents and an unofficial visit to Santa Clara University, I accepted the invite to walk-on to the Men's basketball team at SCU.

I spent half of my summer working out and taking summer classes with the team and preparing for the upcoming season. I met lots of great people and got acclimated to the college life prior starting full classes in the fall.

While my freshman year at SCU wasn't very glamourous, being on the team that first year forced me to mature, work on time-management skills, and taught me that no matter where you are in life...there is always another level above you.

Soph Year - Traveling Team

Traveling Team

I didn't leave the gym once the final buzzer went off at the end of my freshman season. I spent a lot of this off-season on the court preparing for what was sure to be a difficult and important off-season.

That following season I recieved 10x the number of minutes as my freshman year. Ok...I only played 5 minutes my freshman year but for me, this was REAL progress! I gained valuable experience that season but still felt short-changed regarding opportunities.

Junior Year - CIT Champs

Junior Year

This team was easily one of the three best teams I've been on. We had amazing chemistry, everyone knew and executed their roles beautifully. After a rough start to the season, we changed our mindsets going into post-season play and began to believe that no matter how far down we were...we weren't losing.

For this year, I became a member of the Gold Squad, which was charged with imitating the opposing teams plays and players.

The team finished in the top 4 in the West Coast Conference that year and went on to become CIT champs.

Senior Year - Scholarship

Senior Year - Scholarship

After working very hard in the off-season and throughout the last 3 years, I was rewarded with a full scholarship for my senior season. I approached this senior season with more of a leadership role and felt confident in my ability to make a difference. The only issue was that I was not getting minutes in games.

I finished my senior season of collegiate basketball with a record well below .500 and more egregiously, we lost every single game in conference play (0-16). Much like my senior year of high school, I needed to make a decision on if I could and if I wanted to continue to play at the next level...

Rookie Year - Den Helder Kings

Rookie Year

After a rather interesting journey to land a contract playing professional basketball, I began my career overseas in the Netherlands with a new team, Den Helder Kings in the Dutch 1st division (located an hr north of Amsterdam).

Aside from a few injuries in the preseason, I had a successful Rookie Season as I was voted to the U23 All-Star team and for the first time in my basketball career (post-high school), I actually played meaningful minutes (~20mins/game). After a few postseason meetings, Den Helder extended my contract for another season...

2nd Season - Den Helder Kings

2nd Season

This was one of my favorite teams that I've been apart of as we had guys of all ages and experiences. It was a team with true identity, character and talent. We practiced for 2 hours (twice daily) which gave us a rhythm and confidence that every player dreams of.

My role on the team was to be the energizer bunny off the bench. I played around 12mins/game and thus was able to play 100% for the entirety of those minutes.

The team won an incredible 15 games in a row, finished 3rd in the League and made it to the Semi-finals of the championship.

3rd Season - Aris Leeuwarden

3rd Season

Within a month of my 2nd season ending, I signed what was to be my last contract as a professional basketball player. My new team was Aris Leeuwarden (located 90minutes north of Amsterdam). We spent our preseason practicing and playing games in Belgium, and Germany against some very good teams in Europe.

While we finished our season with a losing record, I finished the last season of my professional basketball career strong and left the Netherlands with new connections, friends, and experiences...I'll miss it!

#EuroDutchBall Transition

Show Text Narration

#EuroDutchBall

While many in the United States are familiar with the progression a student athlete makes from High School to the College level, not many understand that next step to the pro level; which for me and many of my Santa Clara teammates, happened to be to another country.

From a student athlete's perspective, the ideal path towards becoming a pro athlete is for an agent to contact you after your last collegiate game in hopes that he can represent you and land you your first pro contract. For me, this was a bit different than normal despite an amazing career as a member of the best scout team in the nation, GOLD SQUAD REPRESENT! While my career stats probably won't get my jersey retired in the rafters... one can imagine that it might if they used stats from our practices!

Thankfully, through all sorts of connections, I made contact with a FIBA agent in the Dutch Basketball league in Holland a few months after my last collegiate game. Why Holland? Thanks to my mom, I'm 1/2 Dutch and have Dutch citizenship so I don't count against the pro team's "import" quota. An "import" player (much like an ex-pat) is simply someone who is not a citizen of the country where you are playing in. Each league has rules on how many "imports" each team can sign.

After months of deliberation, I finally got word that a new team (Den Helder Kings) was entering the 1st Division in the Dutch league and was interested in having me over to try-out. So in the middle of my back-packing trip with my sister and a friend I got a phone call from my agent about a try-out for a new team in Den Helder. With my basketball shoes in hand, I jumped on a plane in Salzburg, Austria and headed to Holland for 24 hours for the tryout.

I thought the try-out went smoothly (despite not having touched a basketball for 3 weeks). With my head spinning with thoughts I waited for to hear from my agent to see when or if I would be asked back for another try-out. What I didn't expect was that 2 days later, I would be sitting back in my Hostel in Salzburg opening an email with the subject line: "Contract Offer: Den Helder Kings." ...After several months of arduous email exchanges I had finally landed my dream job and would get my opportunity to play again.

[SIDE NOTE: Specifically my contract was fairly typical in that the team provides you with an apartment, utilities, internet, a car, gear, healthcare insurance, some food allowance and they pay for your taxes. So the magic number (among other things like bonuses) that sits on your contract is your net salary.]

Fast forward three seasons with many great teammates...coaches... experiences...aches and pains...new wardrobes...plenty of 3 pointers....and the one documented dunk of my basketball career...It's time to move on to the next phase of my life.

I am very grateful for these three extra years of basketball that I had in Holland, I will leave Europe with great experiences and stories, a profound appreciation for other cultures and people and a respect for how difficult it can be for a foreigner living abroad for 9 months each year without your closest family and friends with you. Through all the ups and downs that come with professional sports it was a long period of personal growth for me and, of course, a great way to end my basketball career.

You can read a bit more about my experiences during my rookie season on my old blog here.