Three former Mormon college hoops stars — Trent Plaisted and Lee Cummard of BYU, and Ryan Toolson of Utah Valley — have signed contracts recently to play professional basketball in Europe.
Originally it was reported that Plaisted had signed to play another season with a team in Italy. It was being reported on Monday, however, that he never did officially ink with the Italian squad and instead signed to play for BC Zadar in Croatia. According to reports, Plaisted was in negotiations with both BC Zadar and Reggio Emillia (Italy) and received a better offer from the Croatian team, where he'll compete in the Adriatic League.
Plaisted, a 6-foot-11 center, played briefly for Angelico Biella in Italy last season before a back injury ended his year. His NBA rights are owned by Detroit and, recovered from his injury, he played with the Pistons summer league team in Las Vegas last month. Detroit team officials have said that they want Plaisted to spend another year overseas working on his skills facing the basket.
Cummard, a 6-foot-7 guard who played briefly with the Phoenix Suns summer league team, signed a contract last week with Alba Berlin, one of the most successful clubs in the German League. Alba Berlin has won eight German National Titles and six German National Cups. Alba won seven straight national championships from 1996 to 2003 and claimed the 2008 title. The club's most recent German National Cup victory was in 2009.
Toolson, a 6-foot-4 guard who once scored 63 points in a game for the Wolverines and finished his college career with 2,163 points, signed with Pinar Kariaka of the Turkish League. He flew to Turkey on Monday and will begin practice there on Thursday.
"I hear it's a great league," said Toolson, who led the nation last year in free-throw percentage. "A lot of great guys play in that league every year and they make great money and have a chance to come back to the NBA."
Utah Valley coach Dick Hunsaker says Toolson is making the right move.
"I firmly believe Ryan is an NBA player; however, timing is everything, and right now I'm excited for him to prove his abilities in Europe," Hunsaker said.