Former Gillette College shooting guard DeJuan Wright has signed a one-year contract to play professional basketball with EiffelTowers Den Bosch in the Dutch Basketball League.
Wright, who played one season for the Pronghorns in 2009-10, will fly from Detroit on Saturday to join the team in Den Bosch, Netherlands.
“It’s exciting to get paid to do what you love and be able to cross over into the professional world after college,” said Wright, who ranks fourth on the Gillette College all-time single-game scoring list and second in single-game rebounding.
“I had the option to go the NBA Developmental League after some NBA workouts this summer. But I chose to go a different route.”
Wright, who had tryouts with the Detroit Pistons and Cleveland Cavaliers, led the Sun Belt Conference in scoring during his final season at Florida International University in Miami, averaging 16.4 points a game. He also was a second-team All-Sun Belt Conference selection as a senior.
Now, he will play in the Dutch Basketball League, which is the highest professional basketball league in the Netherlands.
“It’s a great situation. They won a championship last year and that was appealing to me,” said Wright, who played for 12-time NBA All-Star Isiah Thomas at Florida International. “It was a long process trying to find the right team and the right fit. It reminded me of trying to decide which college to go to.”
Wright hasn’t given up on his dream of playing in the NBA, he’s just going to season his game in Europe, much as he did playing a year in highly competitive Region IX before jumping to the NCAA.
“That decision to go to Gillette was one of the best of his life,” he said. “Playing a year in junior college really, really prepared me for my next move and my professional career.
“(Pronghorn) Coach (Shawn) Neary played an intricate role in my development and getting me to this point.”
In Gillette, Wright had a career-high 37 points against Casper College. He also hauled in a career-high 14 rebounds against Lake Region State College of Devil’s Lake, N.D.
At Florida International, the 6-foot-4 shooting guard finished the regular season with six double-doubles and had five games with 20-or-more points as a senior. His 35-point scoring night against South Alabama put him No. 2 on Florida International’s all-time scoring list.
European style of basketball
“Basketball is basketball, but the Europeans play it a little different than the way we play it over here,” Wright said. “They don’t bang around like the Bad Boys (the 1979-1994 Detroit Pistons). I think they’re a little more of a finesse style.
“But if you can play in Detroit, you can play anywhere in the world and I’m looking forward to the challenge.”
Wright said he will be expected to shoot 3-pointers and give EiffelTowers, which won Dutch Basketball League championships in 1997, 2006, 2007 and again in 2012, “a better outside shooting presence.”
His decision to play in the southern Netherlands city south of Amsterdam is a real cultural experience for a guy that’s never traveled outside of the United States.
“I’ve never even had a passport before,” Wright said with a laugh. “It’s definitely going to be a great opportunity for me to travel.
“London is an hour and a half away. Paris is right up the way, so I can’t wait to travel around Europe and really see the world.”
Wright will join Americans Brad Tinsley (Vanderbilt), Andre Young (Clemson) and Will Carter (San Jose State), who are also on EiffelTowers roster.