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ZagNative
06-23-2008, 10:37 PM
Voila! ZN wishes for a story about Derek's experiences in Germany yesterday, and here it is tonight, as The Columbian (http://www.columbian.com/sports/localNews/2008/06/06242008_German-Journey-Basketball-vagabond-takes-his-hoop-dreams-to-Europe.cfm) Comes through with an informative and well-written story.

German Journey: Basketball vagabond takes his hoop dreams to Europe

Tuesday, June 24, 2008
By Nick Daschel Columbian Staff Writer

A European vacation it’s not, Vancouver’s Derek Raivio found out during his first season of professional basketball in Cologne, Germany.

There was practice seven days a week, sometimes twice a day. Sometimes on a game day. There were plenty of elbows to dodge, and Karl Malone-like forearms waiting on drives to the basket. There were fans who lit up arenas with cigarettes, and sometimes fans who lit up opposing players by throwing quarters. There was yoga, walks, books to read and self-taught German, anything to relieve boredom.

Glad it’s over?

“After a while, I started liking it,” said Raivio, who recently returned to Vancouver for the offseason. “I could see myself doing a career over there.”

Make no mistake, though.

Raivio hopes to some day land a job in the National Basketball Association. The former Gonzaga guard and 2006-07 West Coast Conference co-Player of the Year will keep an eye on Thursday’s NBA draft and an ear near the phone, waiting for a call from his agent, Brad Ames. Raivio is aiming to land on an NBA summer league team during the next few weeks.
From an adjustment standpoint, Raivio had an advantage over the scores of American players trying the European circuit for the first time. Raivio’s father, Rick, played professional basketball in Europe for 11 years. Derek was born in Belgium, and spent the first eight years of his life living in Europe before moving to the United States.

“I’m a little more cultured than some of my buddies, but it’s still hard,” Raivio said. “I was with all my buddies in college, then just like that, you’re over there looking at four walls.”

And these maniacs coaching the team were nothing like Gonzaga’s Mark Few.

There is no such thing as a day off.

“Way tougher, Real demanding,” Raivio said. “The head coach (Sasa Obradovic) was a Serbian. He knew what he was talking about. He was pretty enthusiastic, then he’d just go nuts. I takes a lot to get used to, but once you do, you’re in pretty dang good shape.”

Raivio didn’t think he’d last a week.

After landing in Germany, Raivio lost his luggage and was temporarily without German currency.

“I was homesick,” Raivio said. “I called my dad. I wanted to come back. Dad said to stick it out.”

Raivio eventually adjusted, though the ride was wild at times. Comfortable, but wild. The 99ers provide each player with a two-bedroom apartment, utilities, a car and food. They even paid the taxes on Raivio’s near-six figure salary.Since that interview, it was announced Derek would be playing for Trier, as I reported on another thread yesterday.

Nice little pic of Derek in that story, too.

http://www.columbian.com/_images/newsPhotos/newsPic332340_150076.jpg

An interesting footnote:


Did you know?

Joining Derek Raivio from Clark County on the European hoop scene is Zach Gourde. A graduate of Prairie High School, Gourde just completed his fifth season competing in France’s second division. He plays for Le Portel.Read the rest of the story here (http://www.columbian.com/sports/localNews/2008/06/06242008_German-Journey-Basketball-vagabond-takes-his-hoop-dreams-to-Europe.cfm).

ZagMania
06-24-2008, 04:22 AM
Thanks for posting that ZN, what a great article. Sure sounds like DR experienced a whole lot in his first year as a pro, both mentally and physically. You have to like the end:


Raivio said his European experience has toughened him up, and made him a better point guard. He believes he is better equipped to show the NBA that he’s worthy of a roster spot.

“There’s a lot of guys in the NBA that I’ve played against and I think I’m better than, or at least I can hang with them. But it’s a fine line,” Raivio said. “You have to be at the right place at the right time. I’m going to have to do it the hard way. I don’t mind.”

Since he is signed with Trier does this mean he will not be in summer league?

ZagNative
06-24-2008, 05:40 AM
ZagMania, I wondered that also. I've sent an e-mail to the Nick Daschel at The Columbian. If he responds, maybe we'll find out.

gamagin
06-24-2008, 08:47 AM
my guess is it is in the language of his contract that if/when he plays in a summer league and gets a shot at the nba, he gets a release.

ZagNative
06-24-2008, 12:11 PM
What I'm hearing is that Derek's just waiting for the NBA draft to come and go so NBA teams can figure out their summer league plans. Several teams have apparently inquired, but he's not sure where he'll play. So I'm guessing Gamagin is right, that the signing was contingent on him either not making a summer league team and/or not making the cut for a team's camp. Just guessing, though. Must be maddening to have so much uncertainty.