It’s no surprise graduated Quakers have continued their professional playing careers abroad. None have yet realized their dreams of an NBA career, but they are all doing what they love to do the most.
For 2011 graduate Jack Eggleston, the future rides on his success this year.
His second year playing pro — he currently plays for the Bayer Giants Leverkusen in Germany (2-4) — has been easier than his first, which took some getting used to with new regulations such as the travel rule and a 24-second shot clock.
“If I’m not able to move up to a higher level in Germany or another league somewhere else, this could potentially be my last year, but if I am able to produce like I feel that I am capable of, maybe I can move up and continue my career,” Eggleston said. “It’s all going to depend on how the year plays out.”
Eggleston said the main difference between playing for the Giants versus the Quakers is the level of motivation and self-commitment required to remain successful in the pro game.
“You definitely learn a lot about yourself,” he said. “You really are testing yourself. You really have to stay focused. Nobody’s going to be there to push you when things are going bad. You really have to stay on it yourself.”
There is a lot more free time, but Eggleston uses it to his advantage, from additional time working out to learning German, following the election, reading and catching up on TV.
Eggleston plays games in front of a crowd of 400-500 fans that is “nothing like a packed Palestra.”
After a tough first year — Eggleston had partially torn ligaments in both ankles and the team had to compete in the playdown in order to avoid dropping leagues — things are already looking up this season and he is committed to continuing to improve.
Last year’s Ivy League Player of the Year, Zack Rosen is now playing for Hapoel Holon, an Israeli professional team.
Though it took a little time for him to adjust, Rosen is starting to gel with his new team, scoring 17 points in 31 minutes of play Sunday night.
“The pro game is definitely a lot more different … but at the end of the day, it’s basketball, and I think I’ve done a nice job,” Rosen said. “I’m starting to find my rhythm. You have to assimilate to all the differences in the game.”
Though Rosen lives in a new country, there are some familiar faces nearby, since each team is allowed to have four Americans on its roster. Among those playing in Israel are UConn grad Jerome Dyson and Tennessee grad Tyler Smith. Temple grad Ramone Moore lives just five minutes from Rosen though they aren’t teammates.
“You’re talking about the best player on each of these college teams on one team now, and every team has four of these guys, so the level is high,” Rosen said.
The experience of the game is also riveting, as fans pack the 4,000-seat arena.
“The fans are absolutely insane,” Rosen said. “It’s like the craziest thing I’ve ever seen. There’s no fans in the world as committed to their team. It’s the craziest 4,000 you’ve seen in your life.”
At the moment, Rosen isn’t thinking too much about the future, as his eyes are just on getting through each day.
“This is my profession, it’s my career,” he said.
2011 big man Andreas Schreiber is currently playing for the Sundsvall Dragons (6-2) in Sweden.
Schreiber also noted a difference in playing style from the collegiate level: playing in a freelance system. Controlled systems, he wrote in an email, are easier for getting “everyone on the same page,” while the freelance system involves “reading your teammates’ and opponents’ actions and reactions.”
In the pro world, Schreiber is also forced to focused on his statistics, probably more than he’d like. “Statistics become … important as you try to secure a job further down the line,” Schreiber wrote. “But you also don’t want to become too involved in your own numbers.”
Similarly to his former teammates, the Taby, Sweden native stays busy spending time cooking and playing guitar and video games. In Sundsvall, he lives five hours away from his friends and family.
Though Schreiber had injuries that got in the way of playing over the summer, the Dragons are playing well this year and sit in first place.
“The offensive game of some of these players is incredible,” he wrote. “It would be fun to see a professional team from Sweden play a future Penn team in a preseason game.”
Unlike his counterparts, Conor Turley stayed in the Western Hempishpere to play professional basketball.
After a little more than a season with the Pioneros de Quintana Roo in Cancun, Mexico, Turley was traded to the Lechugueros de Leon, who play in front of crowds that range from 1,000 to 10,000. He was also selected to play on the Mexican national team.
Though there are aspects of Penn life that he misses, including his teammates, playing at the Palestra, cheesesteaks and the Don Memo’s food truck, Turley has adjusted well to life in Mexico.
Through his travels with the team, he is slowly getting to know the different cities he visits. Turley is fluent in Spanish and plays as a Mexican due to his family’s Mexican roots in Chihuahua.
“I am contributing significantly and it is a good situation for me,” Turley wrote in an email of his nine points per game. “I’d say the competition … is tougher than the Ivy League for sure.”
Earlier this year, in what Turley wrote was “the biggest success [he had] experienced thus far in [his] career,” the Pioneros de Quintana Roo won the FIBA Americas Tournament, which included a Final Four in Argentina.
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