Here’s an update on several former Lions now playing professionally overseas. It is encouraging to see that they are doing well and able to extend their playing careers while making a living doing what they love most. Former Lion star and Hall of Fame member Jeff Fryer, who played professionally overseas and then served as an agent for 8 years placing former college players throughout Europe and Asia, said that it is common for American players to sign one to two year contracts to play overseas. “Most of the time, teams will honor a contract for the full term but not always,” said Fryer. “Obviously, one of the largest factors to sticking with a team is production, but equally important is how you get along with your teammates and team chemistry. I’ve seen guys score a ton of points in a game only to see them off the team the next week,” he added. So as you read about these former Lions greats, keep in mind that when their respective contracts are up, they most certainly have the following necessities in their possession: a valid passport, clothes, and basketball shoes.
Anthony Ireland (LMU 2010-2014) – After graduating as the 3nd highest scorer in school history behind Hank Gathers and Terrell Lowery, Ireland signed his first professional contract with Elan Sportif Chalonnais (France-ProA). Located in the ancient city of Chalon-sur-Saone just 75 miles from the Swiss border, Ireland averaged 9.2 ppg, shooting 46% from the field, 32% from distance, and 82% from the charity stripe. As the team’s point guard, he averaged 3.4 apg, with an assist to turnover ratio of 1.8. After his first season in France, Ireland jumped to Greece to play for SEFA Arkadikos (Greece-A1) where he saw limited action appearing in just 8 games averaging 7 ppg. Ireland recently left Arkadikos and is now playing for Aragatz (Armenia-D1). While playing for Chalon, Ireland took French lessons so if you see him on campus during the offseason, give him a shout out and say, “Bonjour, Ca Va?”
Ashley Hamilton (LMU 2008-2013) – Ashley Hamilton graduated in 2012 and played another season while working on a Master’s degree in 2013. (Here is a link to an article about Hamilton from the Catching Up series ) After leading the Lions to an improbable semi-finals run in the WCC conference tournament against then No. 1 ranked Gonzaga, Hamilton signed with Victoria Libertas Pesaro in Italy’s first division. After his release mid-year, Hamilton signed with another Italian team Viola Reggio Calabria (Italy – Serie A2) where he was named Player of the Month for January 2014. At VR Calabria, Hamilton averaged 15.1 ppg and 8.3 rpg. After Italy, Hamilton moved to Ukraine and played for SK Cherkasy (14.8 ppg, 6.4 rpg), and then returned to Italy playing for Bawer Olimpia Matera (Italy-Serie A2) where he averaged 16.8 ppg and 7.4 rpg. Like Ireland, Hamilton jumped to Greece and took a promotion to play for GS Lavrio (Greece-A1), where he is currently averaging 6.3 ppg and 3 rpg.
Drew Viney (LMU 2008-2012) – One of the best pure shooters to don a Lions uniform, Drew Viney possessed all the skills necessary to play college and pro basketball. After graduating from LMU, Viney played well for the Miami Heat summer pro league team and parlayed that performance into a two-year professional contract with Asseco Prokom Gdynia in Poland (Euroleague). Though his time in Poland was short-lived due to a lingering foot injury, Viney was released but quickly picked up by Entente Orleans (France-ProA) where he averaged 7.9 ppg and 4 rpg. After the season, Viney went to Spain to play for CB Valladolid (Spain-Liga Endesa) averaging 6.3 ppg and 3.5 rpg before returning to France to play for Fos Quest Provence (France-ProB) in 2014-15 where he averaged 13 ppg and 5.1 rpg. Viney crossed the Pacific and now plays for the Toyama Grouses (Japan-BJ League) averaging 10.3 ppg and 5.7 rpg. Many LMU fans still remember Viney’s 17 point performance against St. Mary’s College in 2012 when he helped the Lions tag the “1” loss in SMC’s home record that season at 16-1 and on SMC’s senior night no less.
Jarred Dubois (LMU 2008-2012) – Local product Jarred Dubois (from Westchester High School) graduated from LMU in 2012 and chose to complete his final season of eligibility at the University of Utah. After leaving Utah, Dubois began his professional career playing for the Frankfurt Fraport Skyliners (Germany-BBL) where he averaged 7.8 ppg and 1.7 apg. After one season, Dubois traveled due north to play for Dynamo Moscow (Russia-Superleague) where he helped the team capture a bronze medal averaging 8.5 ppg, 2.5 rpg, and 1.7 apg. Today, you’ll find Dubois playing for Apoel Nicosia (Cyprus-DivisionA). After just four games into the 2015-16 season, Dubois is averaging 11 ppg, 5 rpg and 2.3 apg.
Vernon Teel (LMU 2009-2011) – From the time Teel left LMU, he has been a professional basketball stat stuffing machine for every team he has played. Teel signed his first professional contract with the London Leopards (English Basketball League Division 1) in 2011 and made an immediate impact averaging 23.8 ppg, 9.1 rpg, and 8.9 apg. Teel led the Leopards to the National Cup championship and garnered several major awards including 1st Team, Co-Player of the Year, All-Import Team, and Finals MVP.
Teel is in his second year playing for Hapoel K/S (Israel-National League) where he is averaging 18.3 ppg, 10.6 rpg, and 5.9 apg as the starting point guard. Last season, Teel averaged 22.4 ppg and 10.5 rpg to go along with 6.9 apg. Prior to Hapoel, Teel made stops at Ventspils (Latvia), Elitzur Ramia (Israel-National League) and Mineros de Caborca (Mexico-CIBACOPA).
Alex Osborne (LMU 2009-2014) – After graduating in 2014, the redshirt senior signed with BV Chemnitz (Germany-ProA) averaging 4.7 ppg and 5.1 rpg during the 2014-15 season. Osborne is currently a professional Los Angeles based photographer and no longer playing professional basketball. His website is : http://www.alexanderfree.com/
Damian Martin and Matt Knight (LMU 2003 – 2007) – Who can forget the Dynamic Duo from Down Under who came to LMU together from the Australian Institute of Sport (AIS). Before the so-called Aussie pipeline was firmly established at St. Mary’s College, the pipeline actually first ran through LMU with outstanding recruits such as Oscar Forman (who signed but decided to play professionally in Australia’s National Basketball League), Martin, Knight, and Marko Deric. In a sense, Martin and Knight have grown up together as basketball brothers for a very long time, having played together at AIS, Australia’s 2003 junior national team (which won Gold at 2003 FIBA Under-19 World Championship), LMU, the NBL’s West Sydney Razorbacks and Perth Wildcats, and various national teams representing Australia.
Though Martin played only three seasons at LMU, he made an immediate impact bookending his tenure by being named to the WCC All Freshman Team and WCC Defensive Player of the Year as a senior. After leaving LMU, he signed with the NBL’s West Sydney Razorbacks. Just two years later, Martin moved to the Perth Wildcats (NBL) and helped the team win its fifth championship in 2010 and sixth championship with Matt Knight in 2014 defeating the Adelaide 36ers (a team previously coached by current LMU Head Coach Mike Dunlap). Martin is a five-time NBL Best Defensive Player of the Year (5 consecutive years 2011-2015) and ranks among the best NBL defenders all-time.Knight joined Martin after LMU on the NBL’s West Sydney Razorbacks team. While the Razorbacks organization struggled both on and off the court, Knight still had a great first year of professional basketball averaging 16.6 ppg and 8.4 rpg. After that first year, Knight split time with two Hungarian teams, Kecskemeti KSE and Soproni sOrdogok, for the 2009/2010 season. Knight returned to Australia and signed with the Perth Wildcats where he has been a productive fixture in the NBL over the last seven seasons. Knight currently averages 14.1 ppg and 9 rpg. As a testament to his athletic ability, Knight has expressed interest in following his father’s footsteps and play Australian rules football after his basketball career is over. At LMU, Knight was named to the All WCC First Team as a junior and senior and was the first player since Hank Gathers to average a double-double.
Sherman Gay (LMU 2000-2004) – The first recruit of Head Coach Steve Aggers, Sherman Gay was the first LMU basketball player to garner WCC Defensive Player of the Year honors. Gay, who prepped at Compton Dominguez High School, was part of a decorated high school team that USA Today ranked No. 1 nationally. After graduation, Gay was drafted in the 7th round by the Roanoke Dazzle during the 2004 National Basketball Development League draft after averaging 16.1 ppg and 5.9 rpg in his senior season.
Gay is currently the longest active former LMU player to play professional basketball, where he starred last year at Saint-Quentin (France-ProB) averaging 11.4 ppg and 4.3 rpg. Over his long and well-travelled career, Gay carved a niche for himself with his ability to play both forward positions and made a living over the last decade mainly in France for both ProA and ProB teams. In 2010, Gay made the All-French ProB Second Team and was named the All-French ProB Defensive Player of the Year in 2011. Gay recently signed to play this year with Salon Vilpas Vikings (Korisliiga League) based in Salo, Finland. (Photo below)
Here is a look at Gay’s various stops and stats (per game) over the last decade.
|Roanoke Dazzle (NBA D-League)||2004-05||7.7||3.2||0.4|
|Jeunesse laique de Bourg-en-Bresse (France- ProA)||2005-06||10.0||3.9||0.9|
|Saint Thomas Basket Le Havre (France-ProA)||2006-07||10.1||4.4||0.4|
|Etendard de Brest (France-ProB)||2007-08||17.3||5.7||1.1|
|Etendard de Brest (France-ProB)||2008-09||16.8||5.4||0.7|
|Fos Quest Provence (France-ProB)||2009-10||15.7||5.9||1.2|
|Fos Quest Provence (France-ProB)||2010-11||15.5||6.2||1.0|
|Fos Quest Provence (France-ProB)||2011-12||15.2||6.4||1.2|
|Le Portal Cote D’Opale (France, ProB)||2012-13||16.3||5.5||1.1|
|Fos Quest Provence (France-ProB)||2013-14||12.7||4.9||0.8|