BLOGS of pro basketball players overseas
Behind the backboard: the truth about life overseas
There are currently 6787 ex-college players, who play 2017-18 season overseas
    *the number is for both men and women players, who play outside of the U.S. (updated on 5/20/2018) Check Detailed list by College or by country

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Struggle defines a man, not money - Apr 5, 2010

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I'm Ricardo Marsh (201-F-81, college: ODU) and welcome to my blog!! It's my first time being a blogger, but must say that I look forward to sharing the good, bad, and indifferent about my life overseas and being a pro ball player in Europe. Seven years as a pro, and seven countries conquered ...I guess you can say I'm in love with the grind. It's like I can't get enough. No matter how exhausted I can be, or how bad my body is screaming at me, by the end of a given season when mid August comes around I start to get that itch. Time to go over and do it's only right. Being a professional athlete in Europe has completed me in so many ways. I have been blessed to say the least to have the opportunity to put the real world on hold thus far and do something that I love, all the while supporting my family and showing them the world. Priceless!! One of my best friends says, 'struggle defines a man, not money.' Being in Europe and Asia over the course of the last 7 years has taught me so many things about life. Everybody seems to think that coming overseas to hoop is a cake walk. Everybody should be averaging 25 and 10 with no worries in the world, go play ball with these Europeans cats everyday and come home and live the good life. Ahh, not exactly. My first year out I landed in Turkey at Buyuk Kolej. A small team with a very tight knit family feel that initially just wanted to keep the team in first division. No pressure right?? Who knew that Turkish people could actually play basketball. Little did I know...but I soon found out the Turkish league is one of the strongest leagues in Europe, and continues to get better one year at a time. Playing the game was the easy part, but adjusting to living in Ankara and being isolated from family and friends after never setting foot in Europe before was the issue. The 11 hour bus trips, food that was actually really good but killed my stomach for weeks, the fact that drinking the water was ill advised, not to mention getting stared at pretty much all day when I was out on the streets...and I'm supposed to be productive? Oh yeah, how about gong to the grocery store and having to lease a shopping cart while you get groceries and then buying the grocery bag that your filling up by youself. Yeah, we're defintely not in North Carolina any more. I guess that's why everybody can't be a professional athlete! (Not because of the grocery store factor but the other stuff, the know). I respect anybody who comes over and plays in these different countries for a number of years. Everybody is not built for even the small things that you have to endure mentally and physically over the course of a 10 month season, let alone a career. Nature of the beast baby! I averaged 22 and 6 that year and ended up, and I still love Turkey like a 2nd home. I got a chance to learn the language and embrace the culture and it just really opened my mind to the point where I appreciate every little thing about living in the States. Guess Turkey wasn't what I thought it would was better. Would have been nice to have a Christmas...or a Thanksgiving...or any holiday off for that matter. Good times huh? By the end of that first year I knew playing in Europe would gradually change my thought process. To have a sign on my elevator door translated to me that read 'if you have big trash this week put it on the streets for the Gypsies.' How could you not appreciate something as small as being able to go in the kitchen and put together a meal whenever you want. Something to think about. Sometimes I think Americans are spoiled. I was in Kosovo for 3 weeks for the playoffs after my first season...yes 3rd world kosovo has basketball too. In Kosovo people would dress like they were going to a night club in New York City just to walk circles around 5km town for hours at a time. I didn't know how to feel. One thing I did know was that I wasn't any better than anybody pacing that city, and I was ready to again reach out and be apart of this nation of people even for that short period of time. Everyone there is so happy to be alive as the country rebuilds. It almost makes me wanna go back from time to time just to be around that vibe. We never had a game that wasn't jammed packed with screaming men and women supporting their teams. The fans were borderline dangerous and I loved it!! I thought they were getting paid too. It's like something in the air in a region like that humbles your spirit. Sounds kind of eire but true story! Next stop was Tokyo, Japan..WOW! What a place? So clean you almost feel like if you drop some trash on the street it instantaneously evaporates into the concrete. Extremely professional and intelligent business men and women who are passionate about their work. Payments like clock work with hotels and facilities that are 5 star everything. Absolutely loved Japan. Outside of losing myself at times in the bright lights and having to come to terms with living in the most expensive city in the world at that time, Asia showed me another side of basketball. The league wasn't as strong..the foreigners where really good, but I got a lot out of playing for Coach Ono at Toyota, still, something wasn't right. Yeah, the money was good and secure. We only had one practice a day most days...but where's the thrill?!?! I'm thinking..2 successful years in a row and still no brain surgery??? Now we got a career; let's get it! Over the next 5 years I managed to make my way back to Europe and since then I've touched Turkey 3 more times, Israel, Latvia, Ukraine and today I'm sitting in front of my laptop in Zagreb, Croatia. Competition has been stiff in each one of these leagues but the game has been the same. European basketball is not so much about who has the best crossover, or who can dunk from the free throw line. I think it's the closest you can get to high level college basketball in a professional environment. It focuses on fundamentals, team defense, hard work and physicality. You would be amazed at how many guys come overseas and get the shock treatment thinking their just gonna show up and kill it. Playing at a high level in Europe requires professionalism, patience and a strong minded attitude that puts one foot in front of the other from those eager days of August to the grind time in June. I got to Croatia about a month and a half ago. I started this season in Ukraine and in an unfortunate situation with a club that folded mid season. I was down, but far from out. Humbled and at home for 2 months before Cedevita made the offer to finish up the season in Zagreb. I got here in decent shape but with the help of a strong coaching staff and good teammates I'm starting to bare down and play some hoops again. Man I missed it. I think I was moving too fast when I got here. I wanted to be out there playing 40 minutes when I got off the plane...let's just say it didn't happen like that. What can I say, the guys on my team can play. They're making me better and that makes the grind worth it. Life is about progress. If you're not getting better, you're getting worse. We finished the Adriatic league in 7th position which is huge for this club considering it was the first year the team got the bid to participate and that guarantees european competition outside of Croatia for at least one more season. Glad to be apart of it. We're coming off of a big win over cross town rival and a Top 16 Euroleague team Cibona last night going into a stretch of some must win games on the road to this Croatian League Championship.
Been a pleasure submitting this first blog. Those of you who know me know that interesting situations always seem to find me. Be back next week with something good...wish us luck!
Character and reputation should never be confused. A man's reputation is what people think he is. His character is what God knows he is.

The blog is maintained by Ricardo Marsh of Cedevita Zagreb   

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