Where Are They Now?
Former Basketball Players Making Waves With Overseas Teams
by Sullivan Burgess ’20
As media day approaches for the new NBA season, both fans of the Chicago Bulls and Providence College Friars are looking foward to seeing former Friar point guard Kris Dunn ’16 as he prepares for his fourth season in the NBA and third season with the Chicago Bulls.
Dunn, the fifth pick of the first round of the 2016 NBA draft, is a well known name in the Friar community, recognized for his accomplishments on and off the court. However, when we think of a player such as Dunn, we also remember the other former Friars that are making a name for themselves globally in the world of basketball.
One of the Friars that comes to mind is former guard Bryce Cotton ’14. Cotton led the Friars to their first Big East Tournament win since 1994 and was named two-time First-Team All-Big East player in the years 2013 and 2014, averaging 19.7 and 21.8 points respectively.
While Cotton went undrafted in the 2014 NBA Draft, he bounced around from the G-League Austin Spurs to the Utah Jazz, to the Phoenix Suns, and to the Memphis Grizzlies. On the Austin Spurs he was named to the NBA G-League All-Star team, the All-Rookie First Team, and the All-NBA G-League Second Team in the year 2015. He eventually made a name for himself in the Australian basketball league known as the National Basketball League, where he is a two-time champion for the Perth Wildcats. Cotton also was awarded the Grand-Final MVP in 2017 and was named to the All-NBL First Team in 2018 and 2019. One of the best players in the league, Cotton will look to defend the Wildcat’s championship in the coming season.
Former Friar point guard Kyron Cartwright ’18 has also made a name for himself overseas. The 5’11” point guard remained a Friar for his four years of eligibility and was awarded Second Team All-Big East in 2017, as well as Most Improved Player. In the 2018-2019 season, Cartwright signed with Alba Fehérvár of the Hungarian basketball league where he averaged 9.1 points and 4.4 assists before leaving in 2019. Currently, Cartwright is signed with the Leicester Riders of the British Basketball League, and is waiting for his new season in a new country to begin.
Coincidentally,Cartwright’s teammate and former Friar forward Rodney Bullock ’18 has signed with Alba Fehérvár in the 2018 season.
The last Friar alumni to watch is former second-round pick for the Boston Celtics, Ben Bentil ’16. After traveling from G-League teams,to China, to the Dallas Mavericks, Bentil currently resides on the Greek EuroLeague team known as Panathinaikos B.C. In his last season in the EuroLeague, he averaged 12.5 points and 6.7 rebounds, making him a dominant force in the league.
While some Friars found success in the NBA, some were able to make a name for themselves around the world on international basketball teams, all carrying on the Friar values they were instilled with in their time here at PC.
Editor’s Corner: International Basketball
By Cam Smith ’21
Sports Assistant Editor
The United States, long the dominant force in basketball, saw its empire come crashing down earlier this month when its delegation of players placed seventh at the 2019 Basketball World Cup. The loss was a source of embarrassment nationwide, as millions ridiculed the U.S. players for failing to live up to the lofty standards set by the teams that had preceded them.
Team USA was not without excuses, as nearly all of its premiere stars were absent for the tournament, including studs like Anthony Davis, Damian Lillard, and James Harden. They cited the tournament’s proximity to the start of National Basketball Association training camp and their subsequent desire to pursue an NBA championship as the reasons for their no-shows.
Nevertheless, Team USA entered the World Cup with high expectations. The team was still ranked number one in the world and was headed by two all-stars in Kemba Walker and Khris Middleton. So too did the roster boast an abundance of young talent in players like Jayson Tatum, Donovan Mitchell, Myles Turner, and Jaylen Brown.
As promising as the team may have seemed, something never quite clicked chemistry-wise, and the squad struggled to remain undefeated in the group stages. Their entrance into the quarterfinals was immediately met with defeat, as the French National Team controlled all facets of the match en route to an 89-79 victory. The disappointment was immeasurable, and the uproar back in the states was thunderous.
Yet, perhaps this result is not so much a commentary on the failures of USA basketball, but a reflection of the newfound success of basketball internationally. In the 1991–92 NBA season, the league featured just 26 players born outside of the United States. In comparison, the 2018–19 NBA season saw a whopping 118 foreign-born players participate, which was nearly a quarter of the league’s player population.
These international players were not only playing in the league but dominating in it as well. Four of the five major NBA 2018 – 2019 awards went to international players, including the MVP award, received by the Greece-born Giannis Antetokounmpo. The Defensive Player of the Year award went to the Frenchman Rudy Gobert, the very same player that stonewalled the U.S. in their quarterfinal loss.
The NBA is partially responsible for this international influx of talent, as the league’s global outreach programs have brought basketball to locations never before frequented by the sport. This expansion has afforded young kids in various countries exposure to a sport once considered strictly American.
So before one mourns the apparent sudden death of U.S. basketball, they must come to terms with the fact that Team USA is not falling behind—the world is simply catching up.