Those fans wanting to follow former Zags in the NBA Summer League may have been a little surprised to see just four player names; Zach Collins, Kyle Wiltjer, Johnathan Williams, and Jordan Matthews. One would have expected to see Nigel Williams-Goss, Przemek Karnowski and Kevin Pangos on rosters this summer, so when I didn’t, I wanted to find out why.
NWG had a spectacular past year playing for KK Partizan in Belgrade, Serbia. He averaged 16.8 points, 6.8 assists and 3.6 rebounds per game while shooting an impressive 46% from the three-point line. Serbia is a basketball crazy country and he won his league’s (the highest in Serbia) MVP while returning KK Partizan to respectability. Last season’s success has given Nigel some leverage, several of the top teams in Europe are interested in buying his contract (he has one more year with KK Partizan) and Utah Jazz officials have stayed in contact. His worst-case scenario, return to Belgrade to play in a place he loves with crazy fans who adore him.
Big Shem’s past season wasn’t so fortunate. He played in the top Spanish League, starting the season with MoraBanc Andorra. At the end of February, he was loaned to Montakit Fuenlabrada to help with their end of season run. Gael Force’s Ian O’Leary was a starter for Montakit Fuenlabrada (boo). Shem could never break into the Fuenlabrada line-up due to a series of nagging injuries. He only played 85 minutes in 10 games ending the season with a serious Achilles Tendon injury. He decided to spend the off-season healing and will miss a couple of Poland’s World Cup Qualifiers. Shem would like to return to Spain next season, but has interest from several team’s in Poland’s top basketball league as a fall back.
After three years playing for three different teams, Kevin Pangos won’t be returning to Las Vegas this summer. He doesn’t need to. Playing for BC Žalgiris in Lithuania for the past two seasons, he led them to the Euroleague Final Four (for the best, highest level teams from across Europe) and earned honors as All-Euroleague Second Team. On June 5, 2018, he signed a two-year contract with FC Barcelona for a reported $1.5 million per season. A 25-year-old millionaire living in Barcelona, who needs the NBA.
He’s also getting married to his long-time girlfriend Kate Pennington on July 28th. When Peter first took over Slipper Still Fits, Kate wrote an article on Zags Woman’s Soccer. If Kevin and all his groomsmen joined a Few Good Men in the Basketball Tournament, there might have been a different result. Besides his Best Man Drew Barham, his groomsmen include; Domas Sabonis, Gary Bell Jr., Przemek Karnowski, Kyle Dranginis, Connor Griffin, former Iowa star Aaron White and Rem Bakamus for air guitar bench support.
Speaking of Kyle Dranginis on a non-Summer League note, he resigned with the RÖMERSTROM Gladiators Trier who play in Germany’s second tier professional league. At least two other former Zags have played for Trier in the past decade; Derek Raivio and Mathis Monninghoff. I mention this because having lived near Trier, I am extremely jealous.