Brion Rush (186-G-84, college: Grambling St., agency: Three Eye Sports) is a well known name to basketball fans in Europe. His ten year long career speaks for itself. With his experience and work ethic he is expected to be a great addition for Sutjeska in the final stage in ABA league, a league where the battle to avoid relegation has never been as intense as it is right now, with team from position 5 to the bottom fighting to avoid relegation.
Hello Brion, you had a stellar career at Grambling State. Among other achievements you were named SWAC Freshman of the Year in 2003, three times All-SWAC first team (in 2004-2006) and Player of the Year in 2006. You are considered one of the best players, if not the best, in the school's history. What made your stay at Grambling State so special?
I was a little under-recruited in High School, but liked the coaches and the university's team sprit. I loved my days at Grambling, which has a storied history in American college Athletics. Eddie Robinson is the second winningest coach in NCAA Division 1 college American Football history, and the basketball tradition is strong. Basketball Hall of Famer, Willis Reed, went to Grambling as well. In the end, it was the people at Grambling that made it all worthwhile.
However, despite great numbers in college you went undrafted in the 2006 NBA draft. Do you think teams overlooked you because you did not come from a big school?
I was injured before the 2006 NBA process began and so I was limited in terms of working out for NBA teams. I did draw interest, and later, played for Memphis in Summer League.
At that moment there were probably two choices for you- going to the D league/some other minor league in the States or testing your luck abroad. You chose the second one and landed in Italy second division team Aurora Basket Jesi. How hard it was to adjust to a new style of play?
After a good season in Italy you tried to get an NBA contract and tried out for Atlanta Hawks. You did not get a contract but after that summer you got a chance to taste what many players in Europe dream about, especially at young age- playing in Euroleague. Chorale de Roanne Basket was your next stop and you averaged 15.4ppg in that season and impressed scouts with your agility and ways to attack the basket. What did you like the most about playing in Euroleague?
The level of competition was probably the best thing for me. Even though we were a lower level EL team, the experience helped me when I got a chance, later in my career, to play VTB.
Good season in France helped you get a deal with French powerhouse Strasbourg IG and you had another good season finishing second at all scorers list in France with 20.7ppg. After that season you tried one more time to get a deal in NBA with Memphis Grizzlies but it did not happen. You now have plenty of experience and I am sure you can reply to that question- why NBA teams tend to give more attention to European, African or South American players that are raw talents than to Americans who proved themselves in a league such as Euroleague that is just a level below NBA?
Generally-although it is changing-NBA teams are attracted to potential as much as anything and by the time I was ready to contribute at the NBA level, I was 26 or 27. I also was, at the time, viewed as a 2/1, but Memphis asked me to run the PG position. I think I did well as a set up man, but the NBA was not interested in having me score as much, which was my best attribute. The NBA will add generally six or seven vets from Europe each year, but in the end the league wants young talent with development potential.
Your next destination was Russia where you confirmed good reputation playing for Triumph Lyubertsy and Krasnie Krilya Samara where you won Russian Cup MVP in 2012. Also you played in Kazakhstan, Germany and Lebanon. Where did you feel most comfortable as a player?
Playing in Russia is high challenge-high reward. I enjoyed my time in the Russian Superleague and in VTB, but the winters are cold, and the road trips are long and complicated. The money there is great, no doubt, and I made lots of friends along the way. But the Russian mentality among management types is difficult: 'win every game this month or you will be fined a month's pay.' This sort of threat was routine. So in Russia or at Astana, the attraction is money. But on a personal level, Germany and France offered warmer winters and a little more freedom in terms of off-the-court activities.
Few weeks ago arrived unexpected news from Niksic. You decided to join Sutjeska, an ambitious club that made its debut in Adriatic League this year and has been fighting hard against more experienced club. What motivated you to come to Montenegro?
I started the season in the ACB but had to leave because my Dad, who is in his late 70's, was ill. He is better now. I came home determined to play, but more determined to have my Dad get well. So when my Dad resumed good health in December, and I was ready, I wanted to work quickly and not to wait. This offer came and I took it given that this Club plays in the Adriatic League.
Do you think it will be possible to avoid relegation?
Now that I am here, yes, I don't think we will fall down. We have won 2 in a row, and even though I didn't contribute as much as I had wanted, I am getting into top form and I am sure I will be able to help the team win. This last game, even though I didn't play much, I felt as good as I have felt since last season in BBL.
Your name is well known to basketball fans here because in 2012 you got Montenegrin passport to play for Montenegrin National Team. What can Sutjeska's fans expect from you in the second part of season?
I am not sure I have that passport. Someone here told me that the passport is 'somewhere waiting for me,' but we have not yet connected the dots there. I am a scorer, and in my career I have become a better all-around player, so I look to help us win while contributing in time on the scoring end.
Thank you for this interview Brion. Eurobasket.com wishes you a nice stay in Montenegro.
Thanks a lot. I want to thank the fans here for a robust welcome. I hope to soon pay them back with excellent play.
Adriatic League: Union Oimpija rally past Buducnost - 2 days ago
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Union Olimpija - Buducnost 81:79 Union Olimpija celebrated the 10th victory in Adriatic League regular season. They nipped Buducnost in Ljubljana tonight. Nikola Jankovic (207-PF-94, agency: BeoBasket) and Brandon Jefferson (175-PG-91, college: Metro St.) provided 24 points each to pace the hosts. Union Olimpija sank 23 points in the opening quarter to take a 4-point lead. The Slovenian team maintained the lead throughout the second frame. They built a 45:40 halftime lead. Buducnost nar... [read more]
Union Olimpija - Buducnost 81:79
Union Olimpija celebrated the 10th victory in Adriatic League regular season. They nipped Buducnost in Ljubljana tonight. Nikola Jankovic (207-PF-94, agency: BeoBasket) and Brandon Jefferson (175-PG-91, college: Metro St.) provided 24 points each to pace the hosts. Union Olimpija sank 23 points in the opening quarter to take a 4-point lead. The Slovenian team maintained the lead throughout the second frame. They built a 45:40 halftime lead. Buducnost narrowed the deficit in the third term. They got within two points at the final intermission. Union Olimpija however hung on to a slim lead throughout the fourth term and eked out a narrow win. Gregor Hrovat (196-G/F-94) chipped in 12 points for the winners. J.R. Reynolds (188-G-84, college: Virginia, agency: Inception Sports) responded with 17 points for Buducnost. Owen Klassen (208-C/F-91, college: Acadia) had 15 points in the loss.
Egis Kormend (A Division) agreed terms with 26-year old American forward Cole Dickerson (201-104kg-91, college: USF). It is actually his comeback to Kormend as he has played here before. Dickerson supposed to play at Mornar Bar in Montenegrin Erste Liga, but left the team in Dec.'16. In 10 games he had 9.3ppg and 3.3rpg this season. Dickerson also played 8 games in Basketball Champions League where he recorded 4.6ppg, 2.6rpg and 1.0spg. The last season Dickerson played at Egis Kormend. In... [read more]
Egis Kormend (A Division) agreed terms with 26-year old American forward Cole Dickerson (201-104kg-91, college: USF). It is actually his comeback to Kormend as he has played here before. Dickerson supposed to play at Mornar Bar in Montenegrin Erste Liga, but left the team in Dec.'16. In 10 games he had 9.3ppg and 3.3rpg this season. Dickerson also played 8 games in Basketball Champions League where he recorded 4.6ppg, 2.6rpg and 1.0spg. The last season Dickerson played at Egis Kormend. In 38 A Division games he averaged 12.7ppg, 6.8rpg, 1.4apg and 1.0spg. He helped them to win the cup and make to league semifinals. Quite impressive season as he was named to Eurobasket.com All-Hungarian League Honorable Mention. Dickerson also played 6 games in FIBA Europe Cup where he got 11.2ppg, 3.8rpg and 1.7apg. The list of the past achievements is quite long as among others Dickerson was voted All-WCC 1st Team back in 2013 and 2014 at his college time. Dickerson has played previously professionally in Finland (Lapuan_Korikobrat) and Holland (Den Helder). He attended University of San Francisco until 2014 and it is his third season as a professional player.
Latkovic number one in Montenegro for round 19 (by Court Side) - 4 days ago
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Guard Milos Latkovic (196-G-93, agency: Dynamics Global Management) had a great game in the last round for Lovcen, receiving a Court Side Player of the Week award for round 19.
The 23-year old player was the main contributor (35 points, five rebounds and four assists) to his team's victory, helping them to outclass Jedinstvo (#7, 7-10) with 34-point margin 98-64. Lovcen maintains the 4th position in Montenegrin Erste Liga. They would have been even better if they hadn't lost a few games... [read more]
Guard Milos Latkovic (196-G-93, agency: Dynamics Global Management) had a great game in the last round for Lovcen, receiving a Court Side Player of the Week award for round 19. The 23-year old player was the main contributor (35 points, five rebounds and four assists) to his team's victory, helping them to outclass Jedinstvo (#7, 7-10) with 34-point margin 98-64. Lovcen maintains the 4th position in Montenegrin Erste Liga. They would have been even better if they hadn't lost a few games earlier this season. Lovcen will need more victories to improve their 10-7 record. In the team's last game Latkovic had a remarkable 72.7% from 2-point range and got four three-pointers out of 6 attempts. He just recently signed at Lovcen, being already a very valuable addition to the team. Milos Latkovic has solid league stats. He is league's best scorer averaging so far 22.3ppg. Latkovic is in league's top in assists (4th best: 5.0apg) and averages impressive 2.3spg,55.0% FGP and 41.7% from behind 3-point line.
The second best player in last round's games was another Lovcen's star - young Vasilije Knezevic (202-C-96). Knezevic had a very good evening with 27 points, 9 rebounds and 4 assists. Of course together with Latkovic he helped Lovcen with another comfortable win outscoring the lower-ranked Jedinstvo (#7, 7-10) 98-64. Lovcen's 4th position in the standings has not changed. His team's 10-7 record is not bad at all. Knezevic is one of the most experienced players at Lovcen and similarly like Milos Latkovic has a reputation of one of team's most reliable players.
Third on the list of top players last round was center Boris Jeknic (203-C-89) of Ulcinj (#5). Jeknic showcased his all-around game by recording 23 points, six rebounds and seven assists in the last round. He was a key player of Ulcinj, leading his team to a 92-83 win against slightly lower-ranked S.Centar (#6, 7-10). Ulcinj needs these victories very badly if they think about getting closer to top teams. Their record at this point is 9 victories and 8 lost games. Jeknic has a very solid season. In 17 games in Montenegro he scored 13.1ppg. He also has 5.7rpg and FGP: 64.2%.
Other top performing players last week: 4. Djoko Salic (213-C-95) of Sutjeska - 18 points, 11 rebounds and 4 assists 5. Milan Latkovic (184-G-86) of Ulcinj - 24 points, 4 rebounds and 9 assists 6. Marko Koljevic (191-G-90) of S.Centar - 32 points and 3 rebounds 7. Nikola Rondovic (207-PF-91) of Ibar Rozaje - 20 points, 4 rebounds and 3 assists 8. Marko Ljujic (207-C-90) of Ibar Rozaje - 14 points, 7 rebounds and 6 assists 9. Dejan Bjelic (209-C-90) of Jedinstvo - 18 points and 7 rebounds 10. Dragoje Djokovic (190-G-93) of Ulcinj - 15 points, 5 rebounds and 3 assists
The Player of the week is chosen based on efficiency calculation, but also including game result, importance of the game, if played recorded double-double/triple-double, etc. The efficiency formula is a combination of various formulas used by different basketball organizations/leagues. We got involved many basketball scouts and journalists to assure it's accuracy. The formula: 1.5*PTS + 3* (REB+AST+ST+BL-TO) - 2*BSAG - 4*PF + 3*PFRV + 4* (2FGPM+3FGPM) + 1.5*FTM - 3* (2FGPA-2FGPM) - 3* (3FGPA-3FGPM) - (FTA-FTM)
The Player of the Week awards are presented by Court Side. Court Side is the global leader in basketball management, and is widely regarded as the most dynamic and innovative company of its kind. It was the first Basketball Agency to launch its own website, and the first to have its own database. Court Side has more agents and manpower within its organization, than any other competitor, and its international network of basketball contacts is still unparalleled.
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