Dee Brown has signed an offer sheet from the Washington Wizards ending his fast NBA break. The former University of Illinois star returns to the NBA after a year in Turkey with Galatasaray Cafe Crown. Brown averaged 14.7 points, 3.8 assists and 2.5 rebounds while starting 14 of his 15 games.
Although it’s not quite linear, Brown’s state-side return can prove that a return trip for a Europe-bound Brandon Jennings is quite possible.
Circumstances are different because Brown had completed a successful collegiate career and was drafted prior to overseas basketball. But the increased frequency of cases like Brown’s is beginning to create a conduit for American ballers.
There are plenty of Americans who have established basketball careers overseas. Some, notably Anthony Parker of the Toronto Raptors, have been able to parlay that success into a successful NBA career. Parker spent five seasons with Israeli powerhouse Maccabi Tel Aviv after a few lameduck seasons in the NBA and CBA. To say he was successful would be an understatement.
Anthony won five national championships, five national cups, two Euroleague titles on his way to two Euroleague MVP awards preceded by a Euroleague Final Four MVP. The trick of increasing relevancy overseas is tried and true. Though, while Parker had to clearly establish himself to get back into the NBA, Brown did not.
What’s questioned is whether a player can keep his relevancy while traveling overseas. Brown has more name recognition and clout than Parker did due to Brown’s success in the NCAA and the recency of his draft date. This bodes well for American high schoolers looking to burn a year overseas before becoming eligible for the NBA draft.
A player like Brandon Jennings has the hype and recognition necessary to keep people interested. Brown’s choice of destination didn’t turn the Wizards off. Galatasaray’s website admits that their basketball section isn’t particularly well-known but they did have a great season — in part, due to Dee Brown.
Another issue is that Brown chose to play overseas rather than spend a season planted on the Jazz bench. If a high school senior choses to play overseas rather than go through the college charade, will the NBA let him? It will be interesting to see how American ballers navigate these waters as we move forward.