Tar Heels in Europe – April Update

I think most of the University of North Carolina fans have been caught up with everything going on in Chapel Hill and the transfer portal.

In other news, Tar Heels are continuing their season overseas, and here is the latest update on the 12 Tar Heels playing in Europe this year. As usual, including the players latest statistics, games and highlights.

In this update, it includes a Ukraine Cup Winner Brice Johnson and great performances from Joel James and Nate Britt and more.

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Marcus Paige – KK Partizan (Serbia)

Last week, it was the anniversary of the greatest ‘what if’ shot against Villanova, so Paige’s shot was all over our social media channels. However, Paige still is knocking down jumpers in Serbia in his third season overseas.

Since March 20th, KK Partizan is on a four-game win streak in the ABA League. Paige leads Partizan with 2.0 3PM per game in the ABA (7th in the league) and averaging 9.1 PPG in all competitions this season.

In Paige’s last game, he came off the bench to make 3 out of 5 from behind the arc and provided 11 points in a 97-74 win against FMP Beograd.

In the ABA League, the top four teams go through to the postseason, which now looks quite a challenge for Paige and Partizan.

97-74 (WIN) vs FMP Beograd
11 points, 5 assists in 19 minutes

Source: YouTube BC Partizan
PARTIZAN BELGRADE (SERBIA)2018/1924.210.53.721.1
PARTIZAN BELGRADE (SERBIA)2019/2022.39.931.880.79
PARTIZAN BELGRADE (SERBIA)2020/2126.39.12.360.9
Statistics are up to date as of April 10th (source: basketball.realgm.com)

Joel James – Duzce Belediye (Turkey)

Joel James is having his best season as a professional basketball player and teams around Europe need to take notice. James recorded his 20th Double/Double this week, with a huge performance grabbing 16 boards. The week before, he had a 20 and 10 outing, Joel James is balling!

James is playing in Turkey for Duzce Belediye, who are 15-12. James’ 12 rebounds per game are the second-highest in the second-tier of Turkish Basketball. The next game for Joel is against Gemlik Basketbol Bursa who is near the bottom of the table.

I spoke to Joel recently about his recent performances;

“We lost a big one today, that ultimately could determine if we play in the postseason or not. I’m playing well, past two games have been double doubles. But the team doesn’t seem to me meshing at this critical point in the season.”

Joel James

71-82 (LOSS) vs Yeni Mamak Spor Klubu
10 points, 16 rebounds, 2 steals in 34 minutes.

RAYOS DE HERMOSILLO (MEXICO)2018/1927.312.119.5722
DUZCE BELEDIYE (TURKEY)2020/2128.913.3511.9620
Statistics are up to date as of April 10th (source: basketball.realgm.com)

Justin Watts – Donar Gronigen (Netherlands)

Justin Watts is now entering his tenth year since graduating from Chapel Hill and has travelled the world playing professional basketball ever since.

Watts is now playing in the Netherlands for Donar Gronigen, who is currently 4th in the top division of Dutch Basketball. There is still plenty of games left to play in the DBL.

Donar Gronigen has played four games over the past two weeks and are 2-2, including a game of a 17 point high for Watts. He has been recovering from a calf injury and had a month out, although Watts seems back to full fitness and will be helping Donar climb the ladder in the DBL.

91-72 (WIN) vs Landstede Zwolle
10 points, 4 rebounds, 2 assists in 19 minutes.

Originally tweeted by RTV Noord Sport (@RTVNoordSport) on March 31, 2021.
WILKI MORSKIE SZCZECIN (POLAND)2018/1923.89.933.141.29
DABROWA GORNICZA (POLAND)2019/2027.614.673.331.0
DONAR GRONIGEN (NETHERLANDS)2020/2117.67.313.540.69
Statistics are up to date as of April 10th (source: basketball.realgm.com)

Joel Berry II – Besiktas (Turkey)

Since the last Tar Heels in Europe Update, Berry has played in one win for Besiktas who find themselves 5th in the top division in Turkey. Berry still leads his team in steals and the fourth-highest scorer. In his most recent game, he came off the bench for just 5 minutes.

As it stands, Besiktas will be heading into the playoffs and this will be Berry’s first postseason overseas.

94-85 (WIN) vs Turk Telecom
2 points in 5 minutes

BESIKTAS (TURKEY)2020/2124.610.593.121.41
Statistics are up to date as of April 10th (source: basketball.realgm.com)

Deon Thompson – Unicaja Malaga (Spain)

The 2009 NCAA Champions, many say that they are one of the most dominant champions that college basketball has seen… I wouldn’t disagree. Deon Thompson was a big part of the squad and still holds the record for most games as a Tar Heel.

Thompson is now in his second consecutive season in Spain after playing for some of the best teams in Europe, including ALBA Berlin and Bayern Munich. Thompson is playing for Unicaja Malaga, who currently sit 8th in the Liga ACB. The eight highest-ranked teams will enter the postseason, so Malaga will be hoping to finish in those top spots.

93-101 (LOSS) vs Hereda San Pablo Burgos
5 points, 3 rebounds in 11 minutes

Originally tweeted by Liga Endesa (@ACBCOM) on March 3, 2021.
UNICAJA MALAGA (SPAIN)2020/2119.18.053.410.59
Statistics are up to date as of April 10th (source: basketball.realgm.com)

Brice Johnson – Budivelnyk (Ukraine)

Brice Johnson has played in the NBA, G-League and now in his third season overseas. Johnson signed for Budivelnyk in Ukraine and has just recently seen his first silverware in Europe. Budivelnyk is the most successful team in Ukraine, with ten championships in the Ukrainian Basketball League.

Source: Facebook – BC Budivelynk

Johnson leads his team in BPG and SPG, and his second in RPG. He has played a big role for the Kyiv team and will look to push for a place in the postseason.

Budivelnyk Kyiv recently won a cup competition in Ukraine, seeing Johnson lift his first trophy overseas.

92-69 (WIN) vs Ternopil
16 points, 8 rebounds, 4 blocks in 21 minutes.

ORLANDINA (ITALY)2019/2032.417.3511.180.82
CHORALE ROANNE (FRANCE)2019/2025.413.295.430.43
BUDIVELYNK (UKRAINE)2020/2122.411.768.071.14
Statistics are up to date as of April 10th (source: basketball.realgm.com)

Marcus Ginyard – CSP Limoges (France)

Marcus Ginyard is one of the most experienced Tar Heels still in professional basketball. Now in his 11th season, Ginyard is in France playing for CSP Limoges.

Ginyard has struggled with injuries this season but has recently come back and put in some good performances in the Jeep Elite League. CSP Limoges are currently 8-8 with lots of games still left to play.

CSP Limoges have recently signed Bruno Caboclo, former NBA player with Toronto Raptors, Memphis Grizzlies and most recently Houston Rockets. I spoke to Marcus about how he is feeling about the new addition;

“Love it, he’s going to help us a lot!”

Marcus Ginyard

82-81 (WIN) vs Cholet Basket
14 points, 3 rebounds in 30 minutes

CSP LIMOGES (FRANCE)2019/2026.79.863.051.05
CSP LIMOGES (FRANCE)2020/2119.47.562.391.11
Statistics are up to date as of April 10th (source: basketball.realgm.com)

Luke Maye – Dolomoti Energia Trento (Italy)

Luke Maye is in his first season overseas and has been shining for Trento in Italy. Maye was awarded MVP of the Week earlier this year and has been getting noticed for his play in the EuroCup.

Trento has a handful of game left of the season and will be pushing to get into the top eight spots to reach the playoffs. Trento is currently 10th with a record of 9-14.

Luke’s scoring numbers have slightly been decreasing over the past month, compared to the storming start to 2021 that he had. Hopefully, we can see Maye pull out more MVP performances entering the end of the season.

90-84 (WIN) vs Umana Venezia
5 rebounds, 4 assists in 27 minutes.

TRENTO (ITALY)2020/2125.311.916.065
Statistics are up to date as of April 10th (source: basketball.realgm.com)

Nate Britt – Panthers Schwennigen (Germany)

Nate Britt, NCAA Champion, is now in his fourth season overseas and playing some of his best basketball since going pro. Britt leads the team in assists and steals, also averaging 14 points per game.

Nate last month scored 27 points in a win for Wiha Panthers, who play in the second-tier of German Basketball. Britt plays a big role in his current team with playing at least 30 minutes per game.

The Wiha Panthers qualified for the postseason, to try and gain promotion to the top-tier of German Basketball, with the playoffs starting on April 17th.

69-88 (LOSS) vs Erdgas Ehingen
8 points, 3 assists, 2 steals in 35 minutes.

Source: Facebook – Wiha Panthers (Highlights from Panthers vs Heidelberg)
OMONIA NICOSIA (CYPRUS)2019/2033.714.523.624.141.76
Statistics are up to date as of April 10th (source: basketball.realgm.com)

Justin Pierce – Kobrat (Finland)

Justin Pierce had a memorable first season as a professional basketball player. Pierce played his first season overseas in Finland and saw his team Kobrat reach the postseason, for only the second time in the club’s history.

They were an 8 seed going up against the best team in the country, Helsinki and went out in the first round. Pierce missed the final games due to injury.

Pierce’s season has finished and he ended averaging 16.56 PPG. That’s quite the first season, looking forward to seeing what’s next for Pierce.

KOBRAT (FINLAND)2020/2128.016.565.193.5
Statistics are up to date as of April 10th (source: basketball.realgm.com)

Christian Keeling – Glasgow Rocks (Scotland)

Christian Keeling was a graduate transfer with Justin Pierce and he is enjoying his first season overseas as well. Keeling has been playing for the Glasgow Rocks in the British Basketball League and has caught a lot of attention.

Keeling has been putting up big numbers this season, including recently against Manchester Giants he scored 26 points in the win. Keeling led his team in PPG, APG and MPG. Keeling was 6th for scoring in the BBL.

It was announced at the end of March, that Christian Keeling left the Glasgow Rocks on good terms and is now a free agent.

83-99 (LOSS) vs Surrey Scorchers
19 points, 9 rebounds, 3 assists in 39 minutes.

GLASGOW ROCKS (SCOTLAND)2020/2134.117.052.895.47
Statistics are up to date as of April 10th (source: basketball.realgm.com)

JP Tokoto – Hapoel Tel Aviv (Israel)

Jean-Pierre Tokoto was a Sports Center dream during his days in Chapel Hill. Since then, Tokoto has been playing professional basketball overseas, with a lot of that time spent in Israel.

Tokoto is a starter for Hapoel Tel Aviv, but sadly got injured in the derby game on January 31st and hasn’t returned since.

HAPOEL EILAT (ISRAEL)2018/1928.113.423.187.611.45
IRONI NES ZIONA (ISRAEL)2019/2031.414.
HAPOEL TEL AVIV (ISRAEL)2020/2125.110.623.54.51.38
Statistics are up to date as of April 10th (source: basketball.realgm.com)

After a recent poll on Ceiling is the Roof, I have decided to report every two weeks on the Tar Heels playing overseas, compared to the usual monthly update. I hope you enjoyed the latest update on the Tar Heels in Europe.

Follow on Twitter at @britishtarheel and subscribe for updates on Current Tar Heels, Pro Tar Heels with a close eye on the Tar Heels Overseas.

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