AL HAMNIK: Luke Harangody taking his game to Kazan

2013-08-10T17:15:00Z 2013-09-16T18:34:20Z AL HAMNIK: Luke Harangody taking his game to KazanAl Hamnik Times Columnist nwitimes.com
August 10, 2013 5:15 pm  • 

Two of the best ways to see the world are with the military and as a professional basketball player.

The NBA is a great life for superstars but your above average players often find themselves living out of a suitcase overseas and needing an interpreter.

No apology required.

The money is great. The team you sign with often provides a fancy car and a cool apartment -- free of charge -- near the downtown night life.

Luke Harangody may have to search a bit longer for his Camelot after recently signing with UNICS Kazan in Russia, but he's still playing pro ball, so life is good.

Not as great, of course, as being drafted by the Boston Celtics, then being traded to the Cleveland Cavaliers. Those were two memorable but frustrating seasons.

The 6-foot-8 power forward, a former three-time Notre Dame all-American who prepped at Andrean, is best known for a motor that never stopped. He could shoot the 3 and was fearless in the paint, but he lacked quickness and a knee problem slowed him even more.

The Cavs sent him to Canton in the NBA D-League and eventually waived him. Harangody then hooked up with the Fort Wayne Mad Ants and dominated, averaging 20 points and 12 rebounds a game last season.

But knee problems sidelined him from the D-League playoffs.

I always figured Luke Harangody would make it big playing in Europe, where he would fit in better on a team of role players.

Russia, though, may be a challenge with its 10-hour time difference, language barrier and bleak landscape.

One of Harangody's American teammates is Andrew Goudelock, who played briefly with the Lakers. Otherwise, you're trying to strike up a conversation with the likes of Kostas Kaimakoglou, Evgeniy Kolesnikov, Vladimir Veremeenko and Ian Vougioukas.

Wonder if they have nicknames?

Good luck with that.

Other American players have made it in the Euroleague -- Anthony Bonner, Acie Earl, Dickey Simpkins, Shammond Williams, Mateen Cleaves, Travis Best and Sam Clancy Jr. -- to name a few.

If they can, Luke Harangody will hit it out of the park.

Recent college stars like former Purdue teammates Robbie Hummel (Spain) and JaJuan Johnson (Italy) took their game overseas while still keeping that NBA dream within grasp.

Remember Duane Ticknor? He coached the Gary Steelheads from 2002-05 when the CBA was going strong and has packed his suitcase once again after stints throughout the Datokas.

The man put in 17 years with the IBA, CBA and most recently the D-League's Fort Wayne entry -- and he's finally hit the jackpot.

Ticknor will join David Joerger's staff as an assistant coach with the NBA's Memphis Grizzlies.

Basketball is a great tour guide if you've got the time and patience.

This column solely represents the writer's opinion. Reach him at al.hamnik@nwi.com

Copyright 2014 nwitimes.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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