Lakers considered inviting John DeGroat

Lakers considered inviting John DeGroat

Postby JSM on Tue Jul 08, 2008 10:17 am

The Times Herald Record: First, former Monticello star John DeGroat played pro basketball in Ireland. Then came Hungary and Finland.

DeGroat, the 2002 Sunday Record Player of the Year, continues to get around Europe like a college kid backpacking the continent.

Next stop? Ukraine in Eastern Europe. DeGroat has signed a one-year deal to play for BC Kiev in the Ukraine Super League.

DeGroat, a 6-foot-6, 225-pound forward, wouldn't reveal terms of the deal. But players in the league can make more than $100,000 per season. DeGroat, 23, will leave for Ukraine, once a part of the former Soviet Union, next month.

"To be honest, I'm very excited," DeGroat said. "When things like this happen, I think about what my old high school coach, Dick O'Neill, said: 'Good things happen to people who work hard.' I'm a pretty good adapter, so I think I will be fine over there."

DeGroat played professionally in Ireland, Hungary and Finland in 2006-07 after finishing his career at the University of Pittsburgh. He was a Continental Basketball Association all-star for the Pittsburgh Xplosion this past year, averaging 18.2 points and eight rebounds.

DeGroat's agent, Oliver Macklin, talked to the Los Angeles Lakers about his client playing for their summer league team, but a deal never materialized. Macklin said the NBA Developmental League was interested in DeGroat, but the league would have paid him only about $20,000 for the season.

"This is a much bigger opportunity than Ireland, Hungary or Finland," DeGroat said. "It's a much bigger league and we will be playing other teams in Europe, so I can get lot of exposure. If everything goes good, maybe I can get an NBA look next season."
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