Many players in The Basketball Tournament are working to attract attention from overseas teams and earn contracts for the upcoming season. Best Virginia’s Nathan Adrian already has that sewn up.
The Morgantown native has finalized a deal to join New Basket Brindisi in Liga Basket Serie A in Italy, which is the highest-tier league in Italian basketball.
“It’s right on time, about when teams start signing,” said Adrian prior to Best Virginia’s second-round TBT win over D2 Monday night at the Charleston Coliseum. “It’s good to know where I am going. I can get these last few weeks at home and then get back to work.”
Adrian has been on an upward trajectory in his pro career, moving from a lower-tier league in France to a new opportunity in Ukraine last season.
With his first team, JSA Bordeaux, he led the squad in both scoring (17.3 points per game) and rebounding (7.7) but saw his season come to a premature end as the COVID pandemic spread across the globe. Last year, he joined MBC Mykolaiv in Ukraine, and now will get to see yet another part of the world in a locale that many envy.
“I am thankful for the opportunity last year. It gave me the chance to get where I am going now,” Adrian said of his travels so far. “I can go to Italy, and I am sure I am going to enjoy it and make the most of it.”
New Basket Brindisi tweeted a welcome to Adrian “Dal West Virginia, specialista difensivo e al tiro da tre punti, ecco l’uomo copertina di oggi,” but he admitted that the meaning was a mystery.
“I have no idea what it said,” he noted with a laugh, “but I’ll do everything I can to live up to it.”
(Google translate puts the English meaning as: “From West Virginia, the defensive and 3-point shooting specialist, here’s today’s cover man.”)
Adrian, like many professionals, has to adjust to different styles of play and new teammates overseas, but that’s not an issue for someone who has always managed to keep things in perspective.
“At the end of the day, it is still just playing basketball. You have to focus on doing that,” said the 6-foot-9 Morgantown native. “I am still working out every day and getting everything in that I need to. I don’t try to think about anything else too much, just going out and playing.”