In Andre Young’s second game as a pro, Young, right, scored a team-high 23 points and dished out nine assists as Den Bosch beat BC Steinsel Luxembourg, 77-51. (EiffelTowers Den Bosch/Special to The Herald)
ALBANY — NBA scouts apparently didn’t feel Andre Young was ready to play at the highest level of his sport at this point in his career when he was passed over in the draft earlier this year.
But there were plenty of other professional teams that did.
EiffelTowers Den Bosch, a European Dutch Basketball League team based in Holland, won the overseas sweepstakes for Young’s talents on the court recently and signed the 5-foot-9, 175-pound former Clemson and Deerfield-Windsor star point guard to his first pro hoops contract.
Young, whose goal was to make an NBA roster out of college, wasn’t drafted and eventually chose Den Bosch over a list of other suitors, according to Young’s agent, Adam Pensack.
“Andre is currently playing for the top team in Holland called Den Bosch. The team won the league championship last year and is the favorite to win it again this year,” Pensack wrote in an e-mail to The Herald recently, updating Young’s status after he received tryouts with the NBA’s Golden State Warriors and Sacramento Kings but was not signed.
“Andre has been playing great,” Pensack continued. “The team’s head coach and GM love Andre on and off the court and think he is going to be one of the best players in the league. Andre is working hard every day and is adjusting quickly to pro basketball in Europe. He is also enjoying his time off the court and is even making a serious effort to learn the Dutch language.”
On the 15-player roster, Young is listed on the team’s official website as the starting point guard. Den Bosch is seven games into its 2012 preseason schedule and is currently 4-3. Young had a team-high of 23 points and nine assists in Game 2.
“He really likes it over there,” Young’s father, Colie, told The Herald on Tuesday. “He’s been there since mid-August and they just started playing, and he’s really enjoying it. I’m not sure if I’ll get over to see him or not before he comes home for Christmas. It’s a pretty expensive flight over there, but we’re keeping up with him online, or Facebook, and we talk on Skype.”
Colie said Andre, who is six hours ahead of EDT in Holland and was unable to be reached by deadline for this story, has shared a couple tales of what it’s like for a young American to make such a big transition to living away from home in a foreign country.
“He’s a pretty cautious guy, so you won’t find him eating anything he doesn’t know what it is,” Colie said with a laugh. “I do know that since they gave him a car to use while he’s there, he did learn how to drive a stick shift — but he also got lost. He’s like, ‘Dad, that was no fun. You know how hard it is not speaking the language and getting lost at the same time?’ ”
Colie added that Andre’s first regular-season game coming up soon will be against his former teammate at Clemson, Tanner Smith. Smith’s team, Landstede, also plays in the Dutch Basketball League.
“They’re both in Holland at the same time, playing for different teams,” Colie said. “How cool is that?”
Pensack, meanwhile, is just glad Andre not only decided on a team he wanted to play for and live in a country that piqued his interest, but Pensack’s thrilled his client is excelling.
“Several teams were interested in Andre. We had serious interest from teams in Italy, France, and Belgium, among others,” he wrote. “(But) there were a few things that stood out about Den Bosch.”
Andre factored the following into his decision on which team to sign with, according to Pensack:
--- The team won the league championship last year and are the favorites to win it again this year
--- The team has an American assistant coach named Sam Jones from Chicago who was a professional point guard in Europe for many years. Sam provides a unique opportunity for Andre to learn from someone who has been in his exact same shoes and found a lot of success in Europe as a pro.
--- Holland is a relatively easy country for American players to adapt to compared to many other countries in Europe. Many people speak English and there are a lot of familiar restaurants.
--- Pensack Sports Management represents a player named Tai Wesley who was the Western Athletic Conference Player of the Year at Utah State in 2011 and he spent his rookie season with Den Bosch last year and had a great experience on and off the court. Andre, via word from Pensack, heard how well things went for Tai, and Andre was, in turn, very comfortable signing there.
--- The GM of the team is a former player for the Dutch national team.
Pensack’s brother, Ben, who is a managing partner of Pensack Sports Management, added that Andre chose the overseas route, rather than play in the NBA’s D-League this upcoming season, because getting a chance to travel and broaden his horizons — all while playing pro ball — was too good of an opportunity to pass up.
“The D-League was always an option and there is no question Andre could have played there and likely would have done very well,” Ben wrote. “Ultimately, though, Andre preferred the opportunity to see the world a bit and experience European basketball first hand. The money is also better in Europe, which doesn’t hurt.
“The regular season (of the Dutch Basketball League) begins in two weeks and if the team goes to the finals in the playoffs, the season will end around the end of May. We will be keeping NBA teams informed of his progress all year long with the goal of getting onto a summer league team next summer.”