Calvary Signs With Japanese Basketball League

July 18, 2001

Story By: Bob Condotta - Tacoma News Tribune

TACOMA, Wash. - Former Gonzaga University star Casey Calvary has decided to forgo attempting to make it in the NBA to play professionally in Japan.

Calvary, who was not selected in last month's NBA draft, has signed to play for the Isuzu Motors Giga Cats of the Japanese Basketball League. The eight-team league plays 28 games a season from November to March. Calvary will leave Aug. 23 to play for the Giga Cats, who are located in Tokyo.

Gonzaga coach Mark Few said Calvary was contacted "by a number" of NBA teams about playing in the NBA Summer League and possibly being invited to training camp in the fall. But Few said none of the teams offered Calvary any guarantees that he would have a roster spot once the season started.

That only added to Calvary's disillusionment about the NBA that began during predraft workouts, when he believed many teams didn't seem to know or care much about his accomplishments at Gonzaga.

"He's gotten very frustrated and tired of playing the game and being brought into camp when they have no intentions of keeping you around," Few said.

The Japan Basketball League is just one of many overseas options for players who don't make it in the NBA. Each team typically has two or three American players who are generally among the best-paid in the league. Among notable Americans who played in the JBL last year were former UCLA star Charles O'Bannon and Cal alums Alfred Grigsby and Brian Hendrick.

Few said he thinks the move is a good one for Calvary "in light of the ignorance of all these NBA teams. All these teams said they would draft him and then they didn't draft him. He's gotten tired of it and he just doesn't want any part of that right now. . . . I think he will eventually play in the NBA, but somebody needs to provide him at least an opportunity to make a club."

Calvary, who averaged 19 points and 6.7 rebounds last season in leading GU to its third consecutive appearance in the NCAA's Sweet 16, has traveled to Japan before, said his mother, Kathy. While in high school, Calvary played for an all-star team that toured Japan.



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