On the court, Ehingen Urspring's Kameron Taylor is having little trouble adjusting to Europe. Through the first five games of Germany's ProA season Taylor is putting up 13.2 ppg, 3.6 rpg and 2.4 apg. Off the court, however, Taylor is facing several of the same challenges that face many American players around the world, including a very important one: the language barrier.
Today is October 25. I have been Germany just over two months, and I finally ordered from a Chinese place speaking in German all by myself for the first time. The language barrier was tough when I first arrived, just because I've never really even heard German before, so the whole language was a brand-new experience. My teammates were my teachers these past months - it's amazing that all of the German guys can both speak German and English, including the coaches! It made it so much easier to learn and to adapt. They taught me a new word or sentence every day. Even the people of Germany know some English, too. This makes this easier like when, for example, if I'm ordering food (Chinese, maybe?) and I don't get the order completely right, I could just say the name of the food in English and they would understand. I'm expecting to be somewhat fluent when I come back to the States, and I'm excited to show off my new language when I get home.
We are happy to introduce the third Baller Abroad in our player diary series, Jack Isenbarger! Isenbarger is a second-year pro out of Elon University in North Carolina, where he was named to the all-conference team multiple times and finished his career as the school's all-time leader in three pointers made (264). After a season in Spain, Isenbarger signed with Leeds Force of the British Basketball League, the top tier in England. He what his experience has been like so far:
We're back to Bosnia for this player diary to check in with James Robinson. After missing the beginning of the season (as explained below) Robinson's been on fire to start his year, averaging 21.2 ppg, 4.2 apg and 3.5 rpg through his first four games in the Adriatic League. He wrote a short post for us Oct. 12 about the beginning of his season and how he's adjusting to playing in a regional league - a rarity in professional basketball.
October 12 - After missing the first three games of the regular season due to a hand injury, it feels great to be back on the court. I've played in three games since my return (all wins) and the team record now stands at 4-2 overall and 3-1 in the Adriatic League. (note: the team's record is now 3-2 in the Adriatic League as of 10/19).
So far we have traveled to Macedonia and Belgrade, Serbia. The game in Macedonia was filled with nervous energy since it was my first official professional game. Making sure we won was ever so important in order to make the 12-hour bus trip back home more manageable. The other games were also hard-fought wins that came down to the last few possessions but we were able to come out victorious in those games as well.
While in Belgrade playing, I got a chance to see the city a little bit, and it's more modern buildings and infrastructure reminded me somewhat of being back in the States. Even though it was a short stay, we'll return there two more times this year where I hope to see even more of what the capital of Serbia has to offer!
Continuing our new feature of player diaries is Kameron Taylor, a G/F who is in his first season of professional basketball with Ehingen Urspring, a team in Germany's ProA League. Taylor recently graduated from Seton Hill University in Pennsylvania, playing all four years for the Griffins and leading the team in scoring his senior season. Kam shares a few things with us in his first post including the team's preseason video, taking a cycling class and (at long last) actual basketball competition!
October 4 - It's the day before my birthday. I have been here for about six weeks now and also officially have two professional games under my belt. The game here is a lot more disciplined. It seems like there are no superstars on the teams we have played, just good players in each position who trust in their ability and know their roles.
Taylor is averaging 18.5 ppg and 4.0 rpg during the first two games of the season.
As we introduced last week, we have started doing player diaries here at Ballers Abroad to see first-hand what it's like to play in another country. James Robinson, who debuted our new feature chronicling his first week as a pro, is back to tell us about how his preseason has been going. We hope to have more players as the season progresses.
August 19 - Definitely starting to miss home. Conditioning is starting to get boring and I wish we would just do basketball stuff. To make it worse, I have not had a good night's sleep yet!! However, one positive is that the food is good so I am not completely miserable. I can't wait to get a TV so playing my PS4 can occupy more of my down time rather than just laying in bed. We finally got a car last night so hopefully we can venture out past this city and see if there is more to offer in other cities.
August 22 - I am feeling a bit more "at home" with my teammates/coaches and overall lifestyle. I got a TV today to solve the boredom that happens pretty much whenever I'm not at practice. I can hook my PS4 up and kill hours playing that!
August 25 - We have had two real practices and a scrimmage coming up on Wednesday. Last night, I found a pizza shop not too far from my apartment and it was a relief to taste food that was somewhat like home.
August 31 - Today was our first official scrimmage/"friendly" game versus a local Bosnian team. It was a relief to not have conditioning and actually compete against somebody real. We got off to a really fast start and went on to win by 30 or so points. I felt good about my performance in my first professional game and look forward to what will definitely be a more competitive game on Friday against Cedvita. Looking back at today, it was an experience busing to and from the game all in the same day, but what really caught me off guard was going out to eat with the other team once the game had ended LOL!