With the NBA regular season in doubt, NBA players are hedging their bets by signing opt-out contracts with overseas clubs. From Turkey to Russia, Italy to Israel, overseas leagues are filling up with NBA talent.
Now is a perfect opportunity to branch outside the NBA and locate NCAA fans' favorite alumni players who have made careers playing basketball overseas.
First up: North Carolina Tar Heel alumni:
Arguably one of the best pure point guards to wear the Tar Heel Blue, Ed Cota was not drafted to play in the NBA. Undeterred, he has foreged a very successful basketball career overseas. In 2001, Cota led Telindus BC Oostende, of Belgium, to the Belgium National Championship.
From 2002-2004 Cota joined a Lithuanian league, playing for Zalgiris Kaunas. For two consecutive seasons in Lithuania, Cota led the Euroleague in assists, led his club to back-to-back Lithuanian National Championships, and played in the 2004 Lithuanian All-Star Game and the 2005 FIBA Europe League All-Star Game.
As a former 2000 ACC Rookie of the Year and 2001 ACC Player of the Year, Joseph Forte was drafted 21st overall in the 2001 NBA Draft. However, legal troubles (weapon charges, drug charges) and attitude problems soon forced Forte out of the league.
How do you remember Joe Forte?
Forte found himself in Greece, playing for Apollon Patras. In 2007, Forte led Apollon Patras to the Italian Championship. From there, Forte barnstormed around Europe, playing for Russian team UNICS Kazan, Fortitudo Bologna in 2008, and Snaidero Udine, another Italian Serie A team in 2009.
Frasor, four-year player and member of the 2009 national championship side, battled injuries his entire time at UNC. After going undrafted in the 2010 NBA Draft, Frasor joined BC Levski Sofia in the Balkan League. In his first season as starting PG for BC Levski, Frasor lead the team to the Bulgarian Cup.
Currently, Frasor plays with Achilleas Kaimakliou, a team in Cyprus.
From the 2004-2005 National Championship Team, Melvin Scott was yet another undrafted Tar Heel fresh out of college. However, he played with K.R. Basket Reykjavik in Iceland's Premir league. Currently, Scott plays in Dublin for a club in the Eurobasket league.
A team member of Scott's on the 2004-2005 National Championship Team, Terry was drafted 44th overall to the Orlando Magic in 2007. Since, Terry spent several years playing in Greece's 1A league, their top league.
In late 2008, Terry signed with Virtus Bologna, and led his club to the quarterfinals of the FIBA Euro Challenge.
Known for his ridiculous range, Shammond Williams held UNC records for most three point field goals (career, season and game), highest free throw percentage (career and season).
After being drafted 34th overall in 1998 by the Chicago Bulls, he played in Russia and obtained Georgian citizenship. Williams played for the Georgian national team and most notably was the 2005 MVP in the Euro Challenge All Star Game.
Currently, Williams signed with Sutor Basket Montegranaro in Italy.
Other Notables Playing Overseas: Jawad Williams, Alex Stephenson, Deon Thompson, David Noel, Wes Miller, Will Graves.