Welcome to the 2nd edition of “Study Abroad”. This weekly feature will give you the information you want about former college stars playing overseas. Each week a new college will be chronicled and you will get an update on how the alums of that school are faring over in Europe. As a now proud resident of Madrid, Spain I will chronicle the University of Michigan in honor of the one of two (sorry Travis Hansen) Americans playing on Real Madrid (Lou Bullock).
Lou Bullock- This week’s piece is in his honor so I might as well start off with him. After a devastatingly good career at Michigan Lou came over to Europe for his professional career in 1999. His first stop was in Verona, Italy where Lou averaged over 20 points a game for 2 seasons, including his first Euroleague season in 2000. 2 seasons was all Lou needed in Verona as he moved on to Olimpia Milano where in just 1 season he led the Italian League in scoring at 24.9 points per game. This would be Bullocks last year in the Italian League as he moved on to the Spanish ACB League the next season for the rest of his career. Lou played for Unicaja Malaga his first 3 seasons in Spain from 2002-2004 before moving over to Real Madrid the next year. Lou has established himself as one of the best players in Spain averaging over 14 points in his 8 seasons in the ACB. Lou is best known for holding down the shooting guard spot for Real Madrid the past 5 years. He has blossomed into a team leader and one of the best shooters in all of Europe. He is currently 9th all-time in points scored in the Euroleague. He has won 2 Spanish league titles in his time with Madrid but is still chasing after that elusive Euroleague crown. Lou has had a incredibly successful career abroad and when its time to put away the jersey, he may be regarded as one of the best Americans of his time to suit it up in Europe.
Daniel Horton – Graduating from Michigan in 2006, Daniel Horton traveled around playing minor league basketball in the U.S. before deciding to make the jump to Europe in 2007. He landed in France where he played for 2 different teams in 3 seasons. His first stop was in Hyeres-Toulon Var Basket for the 2nd half of their season. He had a very impressive showing for this France Pro A team averaging 14.6 points and 5.8 assists. The next year Horton signed with Elan Bearnais Pau-Lacq-Orthez, putting up stats slightly less than those the year before. Horton’s big drop off came this year when he returned to Hyeres-Toulon Var Basket, but has had his season cut short by a knee injury. He has played in only 3 games and averaged 3.4 points a game, while he gets back to full health. Just as at Michigan where he finished 2nd all-time in 3 pointers made and steals, Horton has lived off of his tricky defense and long distance shooting in Europe.
Josh Asselin – The former Michigan big man has carved out a nice little career for himself in Europe. After college he played 1 quick half season for Ulla Oil Rosalia de Castro in the Spanish 2nd division, putting up 8 points and 5 boards a game. The next season he moved on to play in the French Pro B league for Stade Clermontois and averaging around 12 points and 5 boards a game. Asselin decided to return back home to to twiddle his thumbs in the drudges of American minor league basketball and NBA summer leagues. In 2005 Asselin made a great career decision and came back to Europe. Back in Europe Asselin first stopped in Spain to play a dominating season for CB Caceres, again in the Spanish 2nd division. His 16.4 points and 7.5 rebounds a game earned him a contract with another Spanish team, Alerta Cantabria Lobos the next year. After putting up a fairly similar year as the one before, Asselin finally made it to the big time by getting a contract with the French Pro A team Elan Bearnais Pau-Orthez, for the last 7 games of the year. This is when Asselin career really took off, after his high level experience in France he came back to Spain to play for Ricoh Manresa. That year Ricoh went on to win the Spain 2nd division championship, giving them a spot in the Spanish ACB league, behind finals MVP Josh Asselin. This has spurred 3 straight years of Asselin playing in the ACB league starting in 2007. He played 2 seasons for Ricoh averaging over 14 points each season. This year he started out playing for Cajasol Sevilla and has moved on to CB Murcia. Asselin has become a fan favorite for my European teams that he has played for because of his crazy emotional hustler playing style, that go nicely with his fierce dunks.
Lavell Blanchard – The 1999 Gatorade high school basketball player of the year continued his basketball career at Michigan. He beame a force for the Wolverines over his 4 years and led the team in scoring his last 3 seasons. After graduating Blanched moved on to Italian Serie A League. Here he played two seasons for Calabria, scoring 7.4 points his 1st season and jumping up to 13.7 his 2nd season. Blanchard’s journey took him next to Oldenburg, Germany in 2005 where he strapped up for EWE Baskets. The small forward had a similar successful stint in Germany putting up 12 points and 6 rebounds a game. This started a trend in Blanchard’s career where he became nomadic. For the next 4 years he played for 4 different teams including 2 French teams (Lyon-Villeurbanne ad Clermont), a team in Cyrpus (Proteas EKA AEL), and finally this year a team in the Ukraine (Khimik-OPZ Yuzny). His most successful statistical season has been this current season where he is tearing up the Ukranian League for 17 points and 9 boards a game. While Blanchard had led a different type of basketball lifestyle, playing on a new team every year all around Europe, he has settled into every place and had a solid impact. This year he is having his best stats, but his years in the Italian League may be more impressive because that is the best competition he has faced.
Courtney Sims – The former NBA center and D-League MVP could not hack it at a high level in Europe. In a 2 week tryout this year with perennial powerhouse CSKA Moscow, Sims go into 1 Euroleague game and got 6 points. He was not retained after 2 weeks in favor of signing Pops Mensah-Bonsu. There is a chance Sims could return to Europe again, but it looks like he’ll need some seasoning with a lesser caliber team European team.