|Posted by Brian Dickmann on December 17, 2015 at 1:20 PM|
Photo: Xoan A Soler / La Voz de Galicia
Former Green Bay star Alec Brown is still finding his way in his first season in Spain.
The 7’ 1” center missed the first four games of the season for Obradoiro after suffering a sprained ankle during training camp in September. But in an interview on the team’s website, he says he is feeling better and getting back into the swing of things.
“I feel good on the court,” Brown said. “I feel a lot better each game, each practice as well. My ankle feels a lot better now. I feel more comfortable on the court every time I get out there. I feel more comfortable playing with the guys, playing with the style of play the coach expects.
“It’s all coming…it’s a little slower than I thought but it’ll get there and eventually I’ll get to my full potential.”
Since making his debut back on November 7th, Brown has appeared in six games averaging 2.5 points and 2.2 rebounds in 10.3 minutes of action.
“I feel like I can help the team in a lot of ways, whether it be scoring or on defense, rebounding, whatever it may be,” said Brown. “As a team our goal is obviously to win as many games as possible, finish as high as possible in the league and see what we can do in the postseason.”
After being drafted by the Suns in the 2nd round of the 2014 NBA Draft, Brown originally had intended on playing in Spain’s ACB with Obradoiro last season in order to continue his development. But a shoulder injury during the 2014 NBA Las Vegas Summer League required surgery and an extended rehab stint.
He would eventually play 20 games for the Suns NBA D-League affiliate Bakersfield Jam last season, averaging 7.0 points, 3.5 rebounds, and 2.0 blocks in 20 games.
“There’s a lot of differences between the D-League and the ACB, mostly is the amount of plays, defenses, everything tactical about it,” he said. “Every team has so many plays, different defenses. You’ve always got to be thinking. Everyone is passing the ball a lot, you always have to have your head on a swivel really.
“It’s a big change but I’m learning the differences and getting more comfortable with it every game.”
While injuries may have temporarily stunted his development, Brown hasn’t lost sight of his ultimate objective: to make it to the NBA.
“Obviously, the goal is to make it to the NBA,” he said. “That really should be every kid’s goal, every person’s goal that plays basketball. If I just keep working, I feel like I can get there…whether it be sooner or later or whenever.
“I’m just going to keep working as hard as I can and play my best and hopefully I’ll get there.”
Other former Green Bay stars playing professionally include Rahmon Fletcher, Bryquis Perine, Alfonzo McKinnie, and Keifer Sykes.
Fletcher, who starred as a point guard for the Phoenix from 2007-2011, is back as the starting point guard for the Newcastle Eagles in Great Britain. He has started all 14 of the Eagles games in the British Basketball League’s Championship and is averaging 13.9 points, 4.8 assists, 3.3 rebounds, and 1.7 steals per game.
The Eagles, the winningest franchise in British basketball history, are off to a 14-0 start so far this season.
Fletcher was voted to the BBL's five player Team of the Year last season and was named the MVP of last season’s BBL Playoff Final, which Newcastle won 96-84 in front of 14,700 at the O2 Arena in London.
After spending most of last season in Great Britain, Bryquis Perine is now playing for Club Africain in Tunisia. The 6’ 3” guard played along-side Fletcher in Green Bay from 2007-2011 and against him in Britain last season as a member of the Bristol Flyers.
Stats are not available, but Club Africain is off to a 10-1 record to start the season and is leading the Tunisian Division 1 Basketball League.
Also, after a solid senior season and an impressive Spring this past year, Alfonzo McKinnie signed a contract to play professionally for the East Side Pirates in Luxemburg’s second division.
McKinnie has been stuffing the stat sheet, but his team around him has not provided much support. The Pirates are 0-14 and in search of their first win, but McKinnie has been a bright spot with impressive dunks and high energy rebounds.
In 13 games, he’s averaging 26.4 points and 16.9 rebounds per game.
Finally, Green Bay's star point guard from a season ago, Keifer Sykes, has been hard at work in the NBA D-League with the Austin Spurs.
He is averaging 11.5 points, 4.7 assists, 3.8 rebounds, and 0.9 steals in 29.5 minutes per game so far this season, including a season high 27 points, 7 assists, and 6 rebounds on December 13 against Los Angeles.
Sykes, a two-time Horizon League Player of the Year, attended training camp with the San Antonio Spurs this past fall after signing with the organization back in August and reported to camp in late October.
Prior to signing with the Spurs, he competed in the NBA Las Vegas Summer League with the Cleveland Cavaliers organization.
“Austin and the Spurs organization is the place I need to be,” Sykes told Lorne Chan of Spurs.com. “I’ve only been part of the organization since October, but I’ve already learned so much. I’m picking up something new every day.”