Tar Heels Overseas Update

The start of the professional basketball season has started with a bang and many Tar Heels have had a great start to their season. Deon Thompson has reached the playoffs in Puerto Rico, Christian Keeling dropped 26 points on his debut in Georgia, Marcus Paige and Kennedy Meeks faced each other in France and much more.

Here is the latest update on Marcus Paige, Deon Thompson, JP Tokoto, James McAdoo, Kennedy Meeks, Brice Johnson, Luke Maye, Christian Keeling, Justin Pierce, Jawad Williams, Nate Britt, Desmond Hubert, Isaiah Hicks, Kenny Williams, Ty Lawson, Reyshawn Terry and Justin Knox.

Tar Heel International will provide the latest statistics, interviews and highlights on the Tar Heels playing overseas.

Follow @britishtarheel on Twitter and @britishtarheel on Instagram for the latest updates on Tar Heels playing professionally overseas.



Marcus Paige – Orleans Loiret (France)

Marcus Paige will be hearing different fans scream his name for the first time in three seasons. Paige had spent that past three seasons in Partizan in Serbia, but this summer Paige made the move to Orleans (an hour outside Paris) in France to play for Orleans Loiret in the top-tier of French basketball.

Paige will be going up against some of the top talent in Europe with the French league being considered as one of the best leagues overseas. One of Paige’s opponents this season will be Victor Wembanyama, the predicted number 1 pick of NBA Draft 2023.

This weekend, Marcus Paige faced up against a familiar face, his former teammate, Kennedy Meeks. Paige ended the game with 13 points and 5 steals and the bragging rights over Kennedy until the next time they meet in April.

MOST RECENT GAMES:
88-81 (WIN) vs Cholet Basket
13 points, 4 assists, 4 rebounds, 5 steals in 34 minutes.

72-89 (LOSS) vs Le Portal
14 points, 5 assists, 3 rebounds, 2 steals in 38 minutes
.

TEAMSEASONMPGPPGAPGSPG
PARTIZAN BELGRADE (SERBIA)2018/1924.210.53.721.1
PARTIZAN BELGRADE (SERBIA)2019/2022.39.931.880.79
PARTIZAN BELGRADE (SERBIA)2020/2126.29.22.40.9
ORLEANS LOIRET (FRANCE)2021/2236.013.54.53.5
Statistics are up to date as of October 10th (source: basketball.realgm.com)

Deon Thompson – Leones des Ponce (Puerto Rico)

Deon Thompson is one of the most successful Tar Heels playing professional basketball. The all-time leader in appearances for UNC, also holds the record for the most appearances by a Tar Heel in the Euroleague, in addition to multiple championships across Europe.

Thompson recently finished his time in Spain, but instead of taking an off-season, Thompson played professionally in Puerto Rico. Deon signed for Leones de Ponce, one of the most successful teams in Puerto Rico.

Thompson had started 26 out of 27 games in the Baloncesto Superior Nacional and putting up some of his biggest numbers of recent years, before rolling his ankle near the end of the regular season. Leones de Ponce signed former NBA player, Kenneth Faried as a short-term replacement ahead of their run to the playoffs.

Deon Thompson spoke to Tar Heel International about his time in Puerto Rico:

“The recovery has been going well. I am thankful for that. The team had signed Kenneth (Faried) to finish out the regular season. We finished in second place. Hoping to win the championship here before I’ll be off to another team. The finals will be in November.”

Deon Thompson speaking to Tar Heel International

MOST RECENT GAMES:
105-87 (WIN) vs Indios de Mayaguez
12 points, 1 rebound and 2 steals in 19 minutes.

119-104 (WIN) vs Cariduros de Fajardo
15 points and 3 rebounds in 11 minutes.

119-123 (LOSS) vs Cariduros de Fajardo
16 points, 10 rebounds and 3 assists in 28 minutes.

TEAMSEASONMPGPPGRPGSPG
UNICAJA MALAGA (SPAIN)2019/2020.89.113.230.89
UNICAJA MALAGA (SPAIN)2020/2119.98.573.740.68
LEONES DE PONCE (PUERTO RICO)202126.015.486.260.52
Statistics are up to date as of October 10th (source: basketball.realgm.com)

JP Tokoto – Hapoel Tel Aviv (Israel)

Jean-Pierre Tokoto entertained the fans in Chapel Hill from 2012 to 2015 and ever since, he has continued this to fans across the world, playing in the NBA G-league, Australia, Spain and Israel.

Tokoto signed a contract extension at Hapoel Tel Aviv in Israel, after having a great year in the Israeli Basketball Premier League after averaging 13 PPG and became an important starter for his side.

Tokoto has been performing well in pre-season and his first game of the regular season is on 11th October.

TEAMSEASONMPGPPGAPGRPGSPG
HAPOEL EILAT (ISRAEL)2018/1928.113.423.187.611.45
IRONI NES ZIONA (ISRAEL)2019/2031.414.214.146.292.21
HAPOEL TEL AVIV (ISRAEL)2020/2128.113.644.575.291.5
Statistics are up to date as of October 10th (source: basketball.realgm.com)

James McAdoo – Hitachi Sun Rockers (Japan)

James McAdoo, 2x NBA Champion, has started his new season in Japan like a man on the mission. McAdoo played in the top-tier of Japanese basketball last season and averaged 10.92 PPG and 6.24 RPG, before reaching the playoffs.

McAdoo has played internationally in Italy, Turkey and Serbia before heading to Asia to play for the Hitachi Sun Rockers. James McAdoo has been the leading scorer for Hitachi Sun Rockers in their first three games of the regular season.

James McAdoo spoke to Tar Heel International about the start to his season in Japan:

“I think the start has been good. We won our first two games which were really important and have 9 games this month. If we can get through this month with a good record, that will be great. In a season of 60 games, every game is really important. Especially in the beginning.”

James McAdoo speaking to Tar Heel International

MOST RECENT GAMES:
94-83 (WIN) vs Akita
22 points, 7 rebounds, 3 assists and 2 steals in 30 minutes

93-88 (WIN) vs Nagoya
18 points, 9 rebounds and 4 assists in 35 minutes.

80-77 (WIN) vs Nagoya
26 points, 11 rebounds and 1 assist in 30 minutes.

TEAMSEASONMPGPPGRPGSPG
BESIKTAS (TURKEY)2019/2020.78.556.641.15
PARTIZAN BELGRADE (SERBIA)2019/2011.68.03.00.56
HITACHI SUN ROCKERS (JAPAN)2020/2121.010.926.241.38
HITACHI SUN ROCKERS (JAPAN)2021/2231.822.09.01.0
Statistics are up to date as of October 10th (source: basketball.realgm.com)

Kennedy Meeks – Cholet Basket (France)

This summer, Kennedy Meeks signed for Cholet Basket and will be playing his first season overseas in Europe. Since leaving Chapel Hill, Meeks has spent some time in the NBA G-league, before heading to Japan and South Korea.

Meeks arrived in France last week and was straight into the action with two games, including a game against his former teammate, Marcus Paige. Meeks has come off the bench for his first two games of the season.

Kennedy Meeks spoke to Tar Heel International about his recent move to France:

“France is somewhere I always wanted to go and it’s a very unique opportunity for me and my career. I’m excited about meeting the team and trying to go on a championship run.”

Kennedy Meeks speaking to Tar Heel International

MOST RECENT GAMES:
88-81 (LOSS) vs Orleans Loiret
5 points and 5 rebounds in 16 minutes

77-80 (LOSS) vs Pau-Orthez
1 assist in 2 minutes

TEAMSEASONMPGPPGRPGBPG
LEVANGA HOKKAIDO (JAPAN)2019/2034.120.9710.871.23
SEOUL SAMSUNG THUNDERS (SOUTH KOREA)2020/2115.16.816.000.31
CHANGWON LG SAKERS (SOUTH KOREA)2020/2110.77.254.250.5
CHOLET BASKET (FRANCE)2021/229.02.52.50.0
Statistics are up to date as of October 10th (source: basketball.realgm.com)

Brice Johnson – Toyama Grouses (Japan)

A player who is going the other way to Kennedy Meeks and trading Europe for Asia, Brice Johnson signed for Toyama Grouses in Japan this summer. The former NBA player is one of four Tar Heels playing in Japan this season.

In 2019, Brice took his talents overseas and has been able to see all over the world. Johnson has played for teams in Puerto Rico, Italy, France and last season in Ukraine. Last season, Johnson played for BC Budivelynk, the most successful team in Ukraine, he led his team in RPG, BPG, SPG and averaged 13 PPG in 24 minutes.

Toyama Grouses haven’t started the season too well and are still looking for their first win of the season.

MOST RECENT GAMES:
71-96 (LOSS) vs Toyota Alvark
15 points, 8 rebounds and 1 block in 22 minutes.

41-55 (LOSS) vs Shinshu Brave Warriors
8 points and 10 rebounds in 16 minutes.

TEAMSEASONMPGPPGRPGBPG
ORLANDINA (ITALY)2019/2032.417.3511.180.82
CHORALE ROANNE (FRANCE)2019/2025.413.295.430.43
BUDIVELYNK (UKRAINE)2020/2124.313.08.371.16
TOYAMA GROUSES (JAPAN)2021/2216.28.337.330.67
Statistics are up to date as of October 10th (source: basketball.realgm.com)

Luke Maye – BAXI Manresa (Spain)

Luke Maye is staying in Europe this season, after spending last year in Italy, Maye signed for BAXI Manresa in Spain. Last season, Luke Maye suited up for Dolomiti Energia Trento in Italy and made appearances in the EuroCup during his first season overseas. He averaged 11.6 PPG in 25 MPG and helped Trento reach the final playoff spot in the Lega Basket Serie A. 

Maye has already had success in Spain as BAXI Manresa won the Catalan Basketball League, the pre-season competition for teams in Catalonia, Spain. Maye will be playing in the Basketball Champions League this season too, a European cup competition.

BAXI Manresa has had a steady start to the season with a record of 2-3, with Maye starting in two of those games. Maye will be hoping for more success this season and reach the target of the playoffs in the Liga ACB.

MOST RECENT GAMES:
61-105 (LOSS) vs Joventut Badalona
1 steal and 1 rebound in 11 minutes.

81-76 (WIN) vs Ostrow
8 points, 4 rebounds and 3 assists in 17 minutes.

74-67 (WIN) vs Baskonia
8 points and 1 rebound in 18 minutes.

TEAMSEASONMPGPPGRPGAPG
TRENTO (ITALY)2020/2125.211.615.981.24
BAXI MANRESA (SPAIN)2021/2213.53.61.60.6
Statistics are up to date as of October 10th (source: basketball.realgm.com)

Christian Keeling – BC Rustavi (Georgia)

From Georgia to Georgia, the Augusta native has headed to Georgia in Eastern Europe to play for BC Rustavi 1991, the reigning champions in the Georgia Superliga.

Christian Keeling will be playing his second season in professional basketball after an impressive spell with Glasgow Rocks in the United Kingdom last season and Keeling has started his time in Eastern Europe well.

Christian Keeling has been the leading scorer for BC Rustavi in the first two games with points of 26 and 15. BC Rustavi is still looking for their first win and Keeling looks like he will have to pull out all the stops this year for his side.

Christian Keeling spoke to Tar Heel International about his recent move to Georgia:

“I’m adjusting and getting familiar with the team. I want to win a championship or cup and work myself into a better situation for upcoming years.”

Christian Keeling speaking to Tar Heel International

MOST RECENT GAMES:
78-95 (LOSS) vs Olimpi
26 points, 4 rebounds and 1 assist in 34 minutes.

85-106 (LOSS) vs TSU
15 points, 10 rebounds and 3 assists in 30 minutes.

TEAMSEASONMPGPPGAPGRPG
GLASGOW ROCKS (SCOTLAND)2020/2134.117.22.895.1
BC RUSTAVI (GEORGIA)2021/2232.020.52.07.0
Statistics are up to date as of October 10th (source: basketball.realgm.com and gbf.ge)

Justin Pierce – VfL Kircheim Knights (Germany)

Another Tar Heel entering his second season of professional basketball, Justin Pierce signed for VfL Kircheim Knights this summer in Germany.

Pierce had a memorable first season as a professional basketball player playing his first season overseas in the top-tier of Finnish Basketball and saw his team Kobrat reach the postseason, for only the second time in the club’s history.

Pierce, signed for Kircheim in the second-tier of German basketball and played 3 games for his new club, but as of this weekend, he has stepped away from his new team and will become a free agent.

MOST RECENT GAMES:
58-89 (LOSS) vs Science City Jena
9 points, 4 rebounds, 2 steals in 25 minutes.

70-97 (LOSS) vs Karlsruhe
7 points, 9 rebounds, 3 assists and 3 steals in 26 minutes.

67-83 (LOSS) vs Tubingen
10 points, 9 rebounds and 1 assist in 28 minutes.

TEAMSEASONMPGPPGRPGAPG
KOBRAT (FINLAND)2020/2128.016.565.193.5
VFL KIRCHEIM KNIGHTS (GERMANY)2021/2226.68.756.51.5
Statistics are up to date as of October 10th (source: basketball.realgm.com)

Jawad Williams – Yamagata Wyverns (Japan)

Jawad Williams is the most experienced Tar Heel still playing professional basketball. Williams said on the Ceiling is the Roof Podcast, that he has had multiple offers to start coaching basketball, but wants to continue playing while he can.

Jawad Williams signed for a new team this year in Japan and will be playing for Yamagata Wyverns in the second-tier of Japanese basketball. Yamagata has started the season well with a 4-0 record.

Jawad Williams spoke to Tar Heel International about his new move:

“Opened up the season with four wins. Year 17 and I feel great. Same love for the game. Same will and passion to win and get better.”

Jawad Williams speaking to Tar Heel International

Jawad Williams was a constant presence in Chapel Hill this summer, working out with Justin McKoy and Brady Manek and passing on some of his experienced knowledge of the game.

“It was great to be around the guys. Especially being able to teach them.”

Jawad Williams speaking to Tar Heel International

MOST RECENT GAMES:
84-55 (WIN) vs Earthfriends Tokyo
15 points, 4 rebounds and 1 assist in 27 minutes.

81-51 (WIN) vs Earthfriends Tokyo
19 points, 5 rebounds and 4 assists in 24 minutes.

TEAMSEASONMPGPPGRPGAPG
TOYOTA ALVARK (JAPAN)2017/1819.78.83.391.0
TOYOTA ALVARK (JAPAN)2018/1923.610.424.311.27
LINK TOCHIGI BREX (JAPAN)2019/2014.17.162.890.58
LEVANGA HOKKAIDO (JAPAN)2020/2125.510.474.31.51
YAMAGATA WYVERNS (JAPAN)2021/2226.014.54.32.8
Statistics are up to date as of October 10th (source: basketball.realgm.com and proballers.com)

Nate Britt – Yoast United (Netherlands)

Nate Britt is coming off his greatest season as a professional basketball player after playing in Germany last season. Britt decided to take on a new challenge after signing for Yoast United who play in the brand new BNXT League, the top-tiers of Dutch and Belgian basketball coming together.

Nate Britt spoke to Tar Heel International about the start to his new move:

“The start has been great. We scrimmaged a few Belgian teams for preseason. The experience was needed to see where we were and what we needed to improve on. We have a new team with a lot of young talent. I’m proud of the progression we’ve had in such a short amount of time.”

Nate Britt speaking to Tar Heel International

“This league is very different. It’s obvious that it’s a first league. Teams here are a lot more physical and tactical on the defensive end. There are also many veteran guys in the league who have played at a much higher level in Europe.”

Nate Britt speaking to Tar Heel International

Nate Britt is the starting point guard for Yoast United and has started the season with a 1-1 record for the Dutch side.

MOST RECENT GAMES:
84-57 (WIN) vs Den Helder
8 points, 5 assists and 4 rebounds in 24 minutes.

82-104 (LOSS) vs ZZ Leiden
14 points, 4 assists and 3 rebounds in 26 minutes.

TEAMSEASONMPGPPGAPGRPG
GLASGOW ROCKS
(UNITED KINGDOM)
2017/1828.511.723.563.68
OMONIA NICOSIA (CYPRUS)2019/2033.714.523.624.14
WIHA PANTHERS (GERMANY)2020/2130.013.585.393.65
YOAST UNITED (NETHERLANDS)2021/2225.111.04.53.5
Statistics are up to date as of October 10th (source: basketball.realgm.com)

Desmond Hubert – Al Arabi (Kuwait)

Desmond Hubert is embarking on a new adventure this season, after signing for Al-Arabi in Kuwait. Hubert has been playing professional basketball since 2017 playing in Canada, Sweden, Finland, Mexico and most recently Japan.

The season has been delayed in Kuwait and will be starting this month.

TEAMSEASONMPGPPGRPGBPG
KOPING STARS (SWEDEN)2018/1928.59.766.971.64
LAHTI BASKETBALL (FINLAND)2019/2025.17.084.691.08
KAGOSHIMA REBNISE (JAPAN)2020/2130.213.66.51.0
Statistics are up to date as of October 10th (source: basketball.realgm.com and rebnise.jp)

Isaiah Hicks – Seoul Samsung Thunders (South Korea)

Isaiah Hicks is playing for the Seoul Samsung Thunders for the second straight season. Hicks was the star player for the Korean Basketball League (KBL) team this past season, leading the team in PPG, RPG and BPG.

Hicks played 54 games for Seoul last season and started 51 of them. Seoul struggled in the league last year with a record of 24-30, but Hicks’ numbers were impressive. Hicks averaged 17.28 PPG for Seoul and was in the Top 10 Scorers of the KBL. Hicks also led the league in BPG with 1.5.

Isaiah Hicks did make a few appearances in the NBA Summer League this summer for Los Angles Clippers, before heading back to Seoul for the KBL season. Seoul Samsung Thunders started the season off with a win and Hicks led the team in scoring with 22 points.

MOST RECENT GAME:
100-92 (WIN) vs Changwon LG Sakers
22 points, 6 rebounds and 1 assist in 22 minutes.

TEAMSEASONMPGPPGRPGBPG
AVTODAR SARATOV (RUSSIA)2019/2028.312.866.712.0
SEOUL SAMSUNG THUNDERS (SOUTH KOREA)2020/2124.817.287.351.46
SEOUL SAMSUNG THUNDERS (SOUTH KOREA)2021/2222.022.06.01.0
Statistics are up to date as of October 10th (source: basketball.realgm.com)

Kenny Williams – Kolossos Rhodes (Greece)

Kenny Williams was making a name for himself in the NBA G-league with Austin Spurs, but last season Williams headed overseas for the first time. Williams signed for Bnei Herzliya in the top-tier of Israeli basketball, although his time was cut short due to an injury.

Williams headed to Greece this summer and signed for Kolossos Rhodes and will play in the top-tier of Greek Basketball. Kenny was busy this summer after signing with the Charlotte Hornets Summer League Team.

Williams has started his career in Greece with an 8 point game in the season-opener and 19 points in a win this weekend, including 5 from behind the arc.

MOST RECENT GAME:
73-56 (WIN) vs Apollo P Oscar
19 points, 4 rebounds, 4 assists and 1 steal in 33 minutes.

77-81 (LOSS) vs Ermis Agias Larissa
8 points, 2 assists, 3 rebounds and 2 steals in 33 minutes.

TEAMSEASONMPGPPGAPGRPG
KOLOSSOS RHODES (GREECE)2021/2233.013.53.03.5
Statistics are up to date as of October 10th (source: basketball.realgm.com)

Ty Lawson – Kollossos Rhodes (Greece)

Ty Lawson was a teammate of Kenny Williams for a month, but Lawson and Kollossos Rhodes mutually terminated Lawson’s time with the Greek side.

Speculation that Lawson could be looking for a move back to China, after issuing a formal apology on his Instagram about the incident that saw his contract terminated by Fujan.

Reyshawn Terry – Plateros de Fresnillo (Mexico)

Reyshawn Terry is one of the most experienced Tar Heels still playing professional basketball. The 2005 NCAA Champion didn’t play in the 2020/21 season, but signed for Plateros de Fresnillo in Mexico and is playing like he hasn’t missed a beat.

Terry had a 35 point game near the start of the season and the 37-year-old is not slowing down. This season, Terry is averaging over 18 PPG in the Liga Nacional de Baloncesto Profesional.

MOST RECENT GAMES:
82-84 (LOSS) vs Fuerza Regia
14 points, 3 rebounds and 1 steal in 15 minutes.

87-84 (WIN) vs Fuerza Regia
15 points, 4 rebounds and 4 assists in 28 minutes.

84-91 (LOSS) vs Halcones
20 points, 4 assists and 2 rebounds in 32 minutes.

111-113 (LOSS) vs Halcones
27 points and 8 rebounds in 32 minutes.

TEAMSEASONMPGPPGRPGAPG
ANYANG KGC (SOUTH KOREA)2018/1932.020.679.641.33
MINEROS DE ZACATECAS (MEXICO)2019/2030.714.56.261.74
PLATEROS DE FRESNILLO (MEXICO)2021/2225.918.215.211.79
Statistics are up to date as of October 10th (source: basketball.realgm.com)

Justin Knox – Neo-Phoenix (Japan)

Justin Knox signed for San-en Neo-Phoenix of the B-League 1 this summer, the top-tier of Japanese basketball. Knox most recently played in South Korea for Wonju Dongbu Promy.

Knox has been coming off the bench for his new side and had a 10 and 8 game on his debut for Neo-Phoenix. The Japanese side has started the season with a 1-2 record. Knox will be playing against Brice Johnson and James McAdoo this season.

MOST RECENT GAMES:
64-77 (LOSS) vs Nigata Albirex
3 points and 2 rebounds in 15 minutes

101-96 (WIN) vs Shiga Lakestars
7 points, 10 rebounds and 2 assists in 23 minutes.

83-93 (LOSS) vs Shiga Lakestars
10 points and 8 rebounds in 20 minutes.

TEAMSEASONMPGPPGRPGBPG
PALLACANESTRO TRIESTE (ITALY)2018/1917.110.424.290.68
TRENTO (ITALY)2019/2022.110.575.190.59
WONJU DONGBU PROMY (SOUTH KOREA)2020/2121.613.946.780.69
NEO-PHOENIX (JAPAN)2021/2219.56.676.670.33
Statistics are up to date as of October 10th (source: basketball.realgm.com)

I hope you enjoyed this update on the Tar Heels Overseas, for the most up-to-date news, follow @britishtarheel on Twitter.

Have you listened to the Ceiling is the Roof Podcast yet? It’s a new interview-style podcast with former UNC basketball players as guests every episode. It launched in April and during Season One, the guests have included Joel Berry IIKennedy MeeksMarcus GinyardJawad WilliamsDeon ThompsonBobby FrasorNate BrittJustin PierceLeslie McDonaldBrandon Robinson and Baden Jaxen.

The Podcast is also available on many different platforms; YouTubeSpotifyApple PodcastsGoogle PodcastsPocket CastsRadioPublicCastbox and Anchor FM.

Watch below the latest episode on the Ceiling is the Roof Podcast with Garrison Brooks and don’t forget to subscribe to the YouTube Channel:

Subscribe to the website for updates on the Current Tar Heels and Pro Tar Heels with a close eye on the Tar Heels Overseas.

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