An Update.

After spending a few months in Sundsvall, I was given the opportunity to go to France to play for the small city of Challans for a month. It was a tough situation for me because although I had a great first game with 20p and 10reb in 30min, the coach who had brought me in was let go only a few days after my arrival. The team itself had been struggling all season, winning only two games over the course of the season, and losing at least six games by less than five points. However, I truly enjoyed my time in Challans, with a great fan base and friendly teammates. My apartment was right on the ocean front and although the wind would keep me up some nights, the experience of waking up to waves smashing the beach was quite luxurious. I even learned how to drive a stick shift, and noticed how similar of a language French is to Spanish. 

Practice games end 3-0

Good weekend for our Sundsvall Dragon team (3-0). With only a few practices under our belt going into the preseason tournament, it was clear that there is still a lot of work ahead of us -- especially on defense. We played a Finnish team twice and Uppsala (a local team) once. We probably averaged more than 90 points as a team -- clearly offense is not a problem for us. I was the leading scorer twice with 14p (12reb) and 23p respectively, but this was a preseason game so I don't take much from it, more than a little bit of a confidence booster going into the regular season. I love our coach, Peter Öqvist, a firecracker of a coach, and he has designed a great system where every player can play every position. Our two american stars actually hail from Philly -- small world eh. Alex Wesby played at Temple University, and Michael Cuffee grew up in North Philly when he was a kid. They both know Jerome "Pooh" Allen. Of course.




The city of Sundsvall.

Sundsvall is a small ex-industrial town, not bigger than 100,000 people. It is located in the northeast part of Sweden, and it gets blistering cold (and dark) here in the winter. The town has a few skislopes and a port, and is surrounded by two smaller mountain chains as well as massive amounts of pine forest. The city is mostly calm and quiet, but the people are extremely friendly and speak with a northern swedish accent also known as "norrlandska". People here have a huge tendancy to drink beer and use a tobacco product called "snuff" -- even the women. I can best describe this product as chewing tobacco, but without the spitting part (they swallow it instead -- yuck). Quite disgusting actually, but everyone has their thing I guess. Sundsvall is a pretty small town, but has four elite sports teams in floorball, basketball, soccer, and hockey, which is truly amazing. There is definitely a lingering "small town" feeling which I enjoy, and everyone knows everyone around here. There are a few bars and clubs, but I haven't really checked them out yet. I am truly excited to be here.
Sundsvall at night!

Back on track.

As some people already know, I decided to sign a two month temporary deal with the swedish team Sundsvall Dragons. It was just the best fit for me, both in terms of coaching style and role on the team. There was a lot of speculation as to if I was going to LF (Lulea) to play. They were the first to contact me, but we were unfortunatly not able to come to an agreement. I love it here in Sundsvall and although it will be blistering cold here in a few weeks, I have really enjoyed the culture and the people here. There will possibly be an option of an extension of the contract in two months, but that is something I'll deal with when it happens. We shall see where this journey takes me. 

Get ready! Set!

Woke up late today. Enjoyed a few hours out in the sun with country music blasting in the pod. I’m almost packed up for Monday, just have a few more things to wash and throw out. I have been practicing How to Love (lil wayne) on my guitar for a few days. I also started lifting this week, mostly upperbody. I am going to give my legs a few days of rest. Now much else is going on. Entourage marathon until I leave. Peace.

How to Love


Chaos chaos chaos!

I had arranged for a meeting with doctors on Tuesday morning to go over two of my injuries. The reason for this was because team insurance only covers me for when I am in Spain during season, and so ultimately I wanted everything looked at before I headed to America for vacation. After a quick ultrasound on my groin, I was taken to an optometric to have my left eye looked at. It was later determined that I had obtained a scratched retina from a finger in the left eye during a practice earlier in the season, and that this was causing some pain during sleep. I received some medicine and a 24hr eye patch. All is well… or so I thought.


Wednesday morning, the day I was supposed to leave for America, I wake up with an excruciating itch and pain in my left eye. Tears had been dripping down my face all night, I had a headache from all the swelling and pressure beneath my eyelid, and the itchiness had turned into a dissatisfying torture. No way I could fly back to America in this condition. A doctor in America without insurance would cost many times more than a doctor in Spain, so I decided to call up the CBT staff and rebook my flight as this would give me ample time to heal.


At 6am my agent Guillermo Pascual, the CBT general manager Aleix Boada, the GM assistant, the assistant coach Miquel, and my team doctor Dr Nacho, were all awake, deciding what to do with me. Me and Miquel take off at 8am to try to change the flight at the Barcelona airport (1hr away) since the reservation office was still closed and my flight was at 10am. After successfully rebooking the flight to Monday I head into the hospital for a review. After hours of waiting, a new and less irritating eye patch was made, and I was told to not use my eye for at least a day or two. I feel better today thank god. But what a day. And it sucks that I missed a week of vacation time in Philadelphia. But worse things could have happened as always. Trying to stay positive


(not pleasant)


P.S. Special thanks to CBT, my agent, and Dr Nacho for putting up with my panic and stress at 6 in the morning.


We celebrate like we won a ‘ship!

After winning our last playout game at Malaga, the dark cloud surrounding CBT finally lifted. Although we had hoped for a better season, we still accomplished something in the end. We finally got a small taste of winning. The night after our final game was celebrated as if we had won a championship, with champagne bottles and happy smiles. I asked if we get a trophy for winning the losers bracket, haha. In all seriousness though, we finally played like a team come playout time. JMitch finally started racking up huge figures in scoring, “gettin buckets” as we say. Big Andrej stepped up bigtime on the rebounding side, and was able to pull two season records I’ve never seen before. For one, he was able to utilize only two pairs of shoes for the entire season (a total of 39 games and over 300 practices). Amazing what a bit of tape can do. Talk about recycling. Secondly, he is the only person I’ve seen who has forgotten his shoes (the only essential equipment for a basketball player) at home for an away trip, not once, but twice in a season. Haha, much love man. Devon, our young ACB loaner and point guard, also stepped up big and was able to control the game like he should have been doing all year. Good job averaging 1 assist per game for a PG! Pass the damn ball, haha!!! Check out the body bag below though. He got bunnies. (turn off the sound tho. its messed up for some reason)



As for the rest of the crew, I’d like to thank everyone at CBT and all of our Spanish players for making this experience one to never forget. Through the ups and downs, it is clear that we all came together when we really needed to. It’s been a grind, but life always is. We try to make the best of it. And that is how I will go about life from now on.


A much needed update!

So we went 3-0 in the playout against Clinicas Rincon, thank goodness. This means that CB Tarragona is allowed to stay in the LEB Gold league next season, something that can silently be celebrated. This year has been a learning experience, with as many struggles on as off the court. But I do feel a sense of accomplishment. Berni, our head coach (and former ACB player) says that appreciation often does not come from the positive experiences, but from the reflections of the negative ones. Very true. Some pictures of our trip...


(Our amazing trainer Olga at team dinner. Poppin' bottles)


(Night walk at Benahavis)


(Hotel at Benahavis. Middle of the green mountains.)


(Devon doing what he always does...working hard on a summer tan...pause.)


(12hr bustrip break. 90 degree weather, and yet snow lingers on the mountain tops.)


4 things about the Spanish beach culture!

Woke up at 11am. Today would be a day of relaxation and lots of beach/sun. I’ve realized a few things about the so-called beach culture here in Spain.


  1. Yes, females do to go topless here. The only problem is that these females tend to be 50+ years old.
  2. Ever seen a tanga? On a man? Yeah, you don’t want to.
  3. Shaving/waxing the legs is considered unisexual practice here. I’ll keep my opinion to myself on this one.
  4. There is a clear trend of obese children, even in Spain. What are these parents doing?


(All I need to be happy on the beach: Ipod, Sangria... oh and sunlotion of course)

(Gorgeous 70degree day in Salou)

Personal contribution in the Canaries game!

Personal stats: 8/8 (100%) from the field, 16points, 1assist, 1steal, 3rebounds (evaluation of 17)

Personally I think that the Canaries game was the best one I've played all year. I was able to lock down their star American, Jakim Donaldson, and hold him to 2points when I was on the court defending him. Unfortunately, he had 20p/12reb, in the game overall. But I felt like I had a big presence defensively. I knew Donaldson had a big firecracker motor, and I felt like I did a good job matching his intensity by staying active, always on my feet and never letting him feel comfortable to drive or shoot. Offensively, I was able to hit 17 footers, as well as a few nice post moves, tipdunks and I was even able to pull out a monster flush on Donaldson in a fast break (yeah, he fell). Stay tuned for highlights.

Overall I've been shooting 13/13 from the field in the last 2 games. I honestly think it's been the pregame ritual of a spanish redbull (called Energetica) right before the game starts. I'm not even trying to make a placement ad, this thing works for me. And it is all probably mental. But hey, do I care?

CBT vs Canaries

The Canaries game started out slow on our end. Guillen Ricardo, their veteran powerforward superstar, was not playing because of an injury, but the Canaries bench had no problem replacing his lack of presence. In the beginning, it seemed like the Canaries woulnd't miss a threepointer. Drive and kick, drive and kick. Incredibly athletic guards on that team. We also had a hard time getting defensive rebounds in the first half. Our defensive presence was slacking to say the least. We allowed the opponents to score an incredibly 65points in the first half (we scored 48). But we picked it up in the second half, winning the the second half by 8points (final score was 111-98). Unfortunately, this was too late. The Canaries team was entirely too good offensively. However, I was proud of our team effort and we really played one our best offensive games of the entire season. In the end, Huesca smacked La Palma by 20points, and so ultimately beating the Canaries had not affected our overall league standing, nor had it prevented us from being in the playout. Still, this was a good game to get a momentum into our playout games against Malaga.


I always prepare before a game with an afternoon nap and a big bowl of pasta for dinner. Two hours before gametime and you'll find me pumping lil weezy through my speakers and taking a shower. Teeth brushed, aired our sneakers, and a redbull for halftime, and I'm out the door with a confident mindset. On our way to the gym I try to visualize different scenarios in the game. Defense will be huge today. Canaries averages almost 90ppg. It will be my job to try to shut down their star american bigman Jakim Donaldson, who is currently averaging almost a double double. He is a real firecracker of a player, always moving and always being active. Gametime! Leggo!


Practice today contained four quartered games of 5 minutes each, going through all of our set plays to prepare us for our final game of the regular season against Canaries. The practice went well overall but it is clear that we all need a break. People are aching and hurting. It has been a learning experience for all of us to say the least. Shoutout to my teammate Ivan Martinez who messed up his knee badly today. Thoughts and prayers. It gets one thinking. All of this can be taken away in an instant. Makes one appreciate it more.

After our morning practice I headed to the Salou beach for a few hours. Perfect weather and perfect temperature. Two guys were building this insane sand castle sculpture, but I unfortunately didn’t have my phone with me to take pictures. I can’t say my body feels rejuvenated, but I am generally happy and hopefully that will be enough to find focus for tomorrow’s game. Hydrate, stretch and rest.

The lack of money is the root of all evil!

As paychecks become even more delayed I have really pondered the balance between financial stability and tranquility. The pure enjoyment of the basketball game becomes somewhat ambiguous when we become conscious of what the game can come to represent as we become professional athletes. It has been said so many times before that basketball can be used as a medium to launch oneself into a different kind of lifestyle. It is, in fact, the tool most of us basketball players use to define our life and existence. It is our guidance in life. It is what motivates us and pushes us forward in everything we do, not only athletics per say. But once we become defined by basketball, everything else tends to become more and more complicated. When basketball becomes the main outlet for our financial needs, we tend to be worried about other things but the game itself. And it is hard not to be. Some players have wives/girlfriends and children to support. The pressure to perform sometimes outweighs the pure pleasure of just playing the game. We still love it more than ever, but it is not the same liberated game we started out playing in the school yard so many years ago. Once you attach money to basketball, and thus everything else, the game transforms into a serious business with incentives that we essentially rely on to remain in peace. Take away those incentives and we lose trust in the foundation of basketball that once gave us consistency in life. 

"The lack of money is the root of all evil."

- Mark Twain

The cars I would by if I had a million to spare!

(Audi S5)
(1967 Chevrolet Camaro)
(Lamborghini Gallardo)

Saint George - yet another holiday!

During my time here in Spain I have realized a few things. For one, Spanish people like to rest - a lot. Except for the famous afternoon "siesta" (which I must say I do appreciate), it seems like there is a different holiday every week. If it's not the celebration of an old Roman holiday, it is a celebration of some guy who did something great and awesome at some arbitrary point in time. Just like the Jews look to justify their eating habits (They tried to kill us, We survived, Let's eat!), the Spanish look to justify yet another day of rest. However, it gets to be annoying at times since every grocery store in all of land tends to be closed during these holidays. But mañana mañana, as they say.

Today was the celebration of Saint George, a Roman military saint that died on April 23rd in 303BC (thank you wiki). According to my Spanish teammate Jorge (George) Santana, the standard in Catalonia is to give your woman a rose, while the man receives a book. I dont know what the suggestion is here. Anyways, our entire team posted up along the Tarragona plaza this morning to hand out free tickets to our final (and most important game) against Canaries on Friday. 

(The team posting up at the tent)

(The plaza)

Need to go home!

33 games played total so far and we have only been able to win TWO on the road. This is unbelievable to me. One can always look for excuses; we are one of the youngest teams in the league; we are physically drained; we seem disconnected from one another; we are inconsistent; we are unmotivated. But despite these excuses the fact remains that we are STILL in a position to compete, and we STILL have the chance to dig ourselves out of this mess. We are STILL able to control our own destiny. Our last game of the season is next week against #1 Canarias who already have the record to secure an automatic spot in the ACB for next year (top division in Spain). They are good. Really good. But we were able to play with them at their own house in January, and only lost by five. Everything has to go our way, and everything needs to be crisp and inspired. But we still have a chance. And I want to go home.


Loss at Menorca!

Just got back from our trip to Menorca. Another tough loss (6th in a row) but this time it wasn’t even close, 89-61. We just fell apart mentally and even though we all knew what was at stake, we weren’t able to compete like we did last week against Burgos. We were able to stack up 25 turnovers throughout the game. No team can win with that amount of turnovers; I don’t care how good you think you are. More importantly, we had a 2 TOTAL assists the whole game, versus Menorca’s 22. A 2/25 assist-to-turnover ratio is catastrophic to say the least.

(View from our hotel at Menorca.)

Beach Day?

Another gorgeous day in Salou. But only about 65 in the sun, so I'm not sure if i'll be going to the beach today. It needs to heat up ASAP. Only one practice today in the afternoon. My legs are really beginning to feel the longivity of the season. Ice and stim.

Following a dream!

"All men dream but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake in the day to find that it was vanity; but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dream with open eyes to make it possible."


I always have admired those who have set out to follow their dreams. For they are the people who find guidance through their own inspiration, not others. These are the people who ultimately set themselves apart from the mediocrity as they refuse to accept the ordinary. And it is no easy task. Most people settle for the easy path because it requires no work, no sacrifices and little motivation. Perhaps the most bothersome to me is that those who tell you that you can’t are also the same people who never would follow their dream in the first place. Never have I heard someone who has been there, cut down someone who is trying to get there. Our faith keeps us pushing for more and our sacrifices fuel our determination.


I can accept failure, everyone fails at something. But I can't accept not trying.” -MJ


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