Since there will be a couple of opportunities for Gonzaga fans to see some of their favorite Zags play together once again this summer (see Hoopfest and The Basketball Tournament), we thought we’d check in on some former Zags that played international basketball in 2015-16 to see how they’ve been doing away from Spokane.
Drew Barham - (SLUNETA Usti nad Labem - Czech Republic)
Barham started 40 out of 41 possible games and logged 29.1 minutes on average per game. SLUNETA finished in 10th (out of 12) place in the league, but Barham led the team in scoring with 14.2ppg and was second in rebounds as he hauled in 5.1rpg. Barham shot 39.7% from the field and 39.3% from three.
J.P. Batista - (Flamengo - Brazil)
Batista returned to his home country this past season, joining traditional Brazilian powerhouse, Flamengo, and helped the club win the NBB title. Batista played in 49 games between NBB league games and cup games, starting in 24 of them, with averages of 11.1ppg, 4.9rpg, 1.3apg while playing 20.6mpg. The NBB title was Batista’s second consecutive championship, coming off a title in France with Limoges CSP in 2014-15.
Gary Bell Jr. (Stabill Jezioro Tarnobrzeg - Poland)
After a stellar four-year career in Spokane, Bell landed a gig in Poland on a team that once featured Przemek Karnowski before the big man came to the United States and enrolled at Gonzaga. While Tarnobrzeg may not have had the team success (7-25) Bell grew accustomed to as a Bulldog, he did lead the team in scoring, steals and minutes as he averaged 15.6ppg and 1.2spg in 34.3 minutes. Bell was also second on the team with 2.7 apg.
Matt Bouldin (Changwon LG Sakers - South Korea)
After some time in the NBDL with the Fort Wayne Mad Ants, Bouldin signed with LG Sakers in the Korean league for the 2015-16 season. Unfortunately, Bouldin deal with an injury-plagued season and only appeared in 9 games without any starts. Logging 8.4mpg in his limited appearances, Bouldin still managed to average 5.8ppg. With his season short circuited by injuries, he returned home to his native Colorado in the spring where he got the chance to watch the Zags knock out Utah during the NCAA Tournament to clinch another trip to the Sweet 16.
Ira Brown (Hitachi SunRockers - Japan)
Brown completed his second season with the SunRockers based in Osaka, Japan. He started 53 of 56 games with averages of 13.2ppg, 7.05rpg, 1.8ast, 1.2st, and 0.8bpg. Playing alongside fellow Zag Josh Heytvelt, Brown and the SunRockers would finish 5th (out of 12) in the NBL standings with a 33-21 record.
Austin Daye (Consultinvest Pesaro - Italy)
After spending the last two seasons in the NBDL, Daye returned to Europe where he played during the NBA’s lockout-shortened season in 2011. However, for this go-around Daye opted to ply his trade in the Italian league rather than returning to Russia. Daye played a tick over 32 minutes per game and started 21 games for his Italian club, leading the team in scoring, rebounding and blocks with 21.3ppg, 9.1rpg, and 1.1bpg. Despite Daye’s best efforts, Pesaro finished with a disappointing 12-18 record.
Samuel Dower Jr. (MKS Dąbrowa Górnicza - Poland)
Like Gary Bell, the big man from Minnesota landed in Poland for the 2015-16 season after playing in the Baltic league one season prior. Dower played in 19 out of a possible 32 games, and scored 13.2ppg while leading the team in rebounds with 6 per game. Dower also shot 50% from the field and 75.9% from the free throw line. For a club that was only recently promoted to the top Polish league, TBL, in 2014-15, Górnicza finished a respectable 10th out of 17.
Micah Downs (Pasta Reggia Juvecaserta - Italy)
The 2005 McDonald’s All-American teamed up with former Louisville star Peyton Siva to lead the attack for Juvecaserta. Downs started all 30 of Juvecaserta’s league games and averaged 12.4ppg, 6.1rpg, and 2.4apg. Despite the Siva and Downs duo, Juvecaserta only won 11 of 30 games this year.
Steven Gray (BCM Gravelines - France)
After participating in the last four NBA summer leagues with the Wizards, Pacers, Cavaliers, and Pistons, Gray signed a two-year deal with the BCM Gravelines starting in the 2015-16 season. Gray averaged 13.7ppg while shooting 44.5% from the field, 41.4% from three, and 88.5% from the free throw line. Gravelines finished the season tied for fifth place in the French LNB Pro A league.
Elias Harris (Brose Baskets - Germany)
Harris carried over his winning ways from Gonzaga to his club team Brose, as they just capped off their season with a 40-3 record to secure their second consecutive Bundesliga league title. Impressively, Brose swept all three of their opponents in the Bundesliga playoffs. Across all competitions (Brose also played in the Euroleague), Harris averaged 6.8ppg, 2.4rpg, and shot 64.5% from the field and 50% from three (granted, he only took 18 3s). Harris had a loose Zag connection on the Brose roster as he played alongside Darius Miller who was a teammate of Kyle Wiltjer at Kentucky.
Josh Heytvelt (Hitachi SunRockers - Japan)
The big man started 43 of 47 games and helped anchor the SunRockers on both ends of the court, leading the team in scoring and rebounding with averages of 18.2ppg and 9.1rpg. Hopefully, the two Zags will stick together for another season in Japan and solidify themselves as Gonzaga West (Far East?).
Guy Landry-Edi (STB Le Havre - France)
Sadly for Edi, Le Havre finished at the bottom of the LNB Pro A standings with a 4-30 record. Maybe they should have played him more as Edi only averaged 22.9mpg while scoring 6.2ppg. Because of the team’s finish in the standings, they will be relegated to the LNB Pro B division for the 2016-17 season.
Kevin Pangos (Gran Canaria - Spain)
Pangos spent his first year away from Gonzaga at Gran Canaria of the Spanish Canary Islands (I think I might have to award him with the nicest international location on this list). True to form, Pangos led Gran Canaria in assists with 4.6apg, while also scoring 11ppg while shooting 51.2% from three. Pangos missed some time with a concussion, but started 43 of the 53 games he played in while helping Gran Canaria finish 5th in the Spanish ACB league. Gran Canaria also finished 2nd in the Spanish Cup and 3rd in the Eurocup.
Jeremy Pargo (Zhejiang Guangsha/Umana Venezia - China/Italy)
Pargo was the star man for Chinese club Guangsha, leading the team in scoring and assists with 24.9ppg and 8.4apg averages. Pargo also chipped in 5.3rpg. After completing the Chinese league season, Pargo signed on with Italian club Umana Venezia for the close of their season. Despite joining the team late in the year, Pargo played nearly 27 minutes per game while averaging 12.3ppg, a number which would be the top scoring average for team on the season. Next up for Pargo will be the Alumni game at Hoopfest next weekend!
Derek Raivio (SLUC Nancy Basket - France)
Raivio had a disappointing season in the French league, as his club released him in November after the team got off to a rocky start and he subsequently suffered an injury that would sideline him long-term. However, at only 31 years old, Raivio should still have a few seasons left in the tank and will hopefully catch on with another club for the upcoming year.