Davidson’s international connection continued this summer when three former Wildcats basketball players signed pro contracts.
Forward De’Mon Brooks, a two-time Southern Conference Player of the Year, is playing for Italy’s Napoli Basket. Guard Tom Droney is in Estonia, playing for BC Tallinna Kalev. Guard Chris Czerapowicz signed with Italy’s Pistoia Basket.
Even walk-on guard Ryan Ansel, while not playing professionally, earned a scholarship to play for the University of Ulster Jordanstown in Ireland.
“These guys are living a dream,” Davidson coach Bob McKillop said. “They’re continuing their careers and being able to do so in an international setting. It’s a real joy to see.”
It’s not uncommon for a McKillop-coached player to head overseas to play pro ball. Since he took over in 1989, more than 40 of McKillop’s players have signed contracts abroad. That’s not including three others – most notably the Golden State Warriors’ Stephen Curry – who at least had tryouts with NBA teams.
Several former Wildcats still are playing abroad. Forward Jake Cohen (Maccabi Tel Aviv) also has played for Israel’s national team. Guard Nik Cochran signed in 2013 with Holland’s Gasterra Flames Groningen. Ben Allison (Spain), Boris Meno (Czech Republic), Kenny Grant (France) and Wayne Bernard (Germany) all have at least three seasons of pro experience.
The Wildcats’ European connection comes directly from McKillop, who has conducted offseason clinics overseas for more than 30 years.
“I know so many pro coaches over there from the clinics,” said McKillop, whose program will move to the Atlantic 10 this season. “Wherever it might be – Germany, Spain, Italy, France, Finland – I’ve built relationships. We’re fortunate to have that opportunity.”