23 November 2011
Former Oregon Duck Michael Dunigan has to be racking up the frequent flier miles. The big man is on the move again.
After starting the season in Italy with Junior Casale, the team announced today it has parted ways with the 6-10 center. Dunigan, who has also spent time with Hapoel Jerusalem in Israel and Estonia's BC Kalev/Cramo will now be suiting up in the Ukraine Superleague.
According to David Pick of EuroBasket.com, Dunigan has signed with Sk Dnipro Azot in the Ukraine.
Dunigan had been struggling in the Italian League, averaging just 2.8 points, 4 rebounds and 13.6 mintues per game in 5 appearances.
He spent three years at Oregon before deciding to turn pro after Dana Altman took over the program in Eugene.
Update (July 29th): From College To First Pro Contract Overseas, Next Two Weeks Is Decision Time
It's been a busy week and the end to some stressful times for two former Portland Pilots and one Oregon State Beaver.
Both Jared Stohl and Luke Sikma have officially signed deals to play in Europe next season, with teams in Germany and Spain.
Stohl - who was referred to as "best three-point shooter in the country" last season - is heading for the Crailsheim Merlins in Germany, who play in the Pro A league and finished 6th in the respective league last season.
Sikma informed Beyond the Beat that he just agreed to terms with Spain's second division UB La Palma in the Canary Islands. This summer Sikma has been keeping active on the court getting in runs at the University of Washington with a host of other Northwest names, and no doubt will put that experience and his time in Portland to use in Spain.
Former Oregon State guard Seth Tarver is also making the jump overseas. After playing last season for the Idaho Stampede in the D-League, Tarver signed in Germany to play in the Beko BBl with EnBW Ludwigsburg.
With Idaho last season, the 6'5 Tarver - who was a training camp invite with the Portland Trail Blazers - started 33 of the 49 games he appeared in and averaged 9.9 points and 4.5 rebounds per game.
"My signature is my defense, so I just have to continue to play well on defense....I have to be able to knock down the NBA three," Tarver said back in February.
"I feel like I'm getting close to the NBA cirle."
Update (July 13th):
So, it's not his first professional contract, but former Oregon Duck Michael Dunigan has found a new home overseas.
According to multiple reports today, Fastweb Casale in Italy announced they have signed Dunigan who had entered his name in June's NBA Draft. While he impressed some scouts during multiple NBA predraft workouts, Dunigan went undrafted and had returned to Chicago in hopes of landing a summer league invite by the Chicago Bulls.
Unfortunately the NBA lockout changed those plans.
Now Dunigan is heading back overseas. After three years at Oregon, Dunigan turned pro and signed with Hapoel Jerusalem who then loaned him to BC Kalev/Cramo, in Estonia. There the 6-10 center scored 12.5ppg and 8rpg in Baltic League and 11ppg and 8rpg in Estonian League.
Those NBA guys claiming they'll consider heading overseas have nothing on these young fellas.
Those guys have money in the bank. These guys are looking to catch their first pay day playing pro ball.
Now that graduation is long out of the way and the real world is upon them, those who played their college basketball around the state of Oregon - from the University of Portland, to Oregon and Oregon State - are already making moves, while others have some very big choices to make in the coming weeks as they sign their first professional contracts overseas.
It's time to make some major decisions. Time to shake off the nerves.
Former Portland Pilots center Kramer Knutson was the first to sign a professional contract and will be playing for BBC Nyon of the Ligue Nationale de Basket (LNBA), which is the top league in Switzerland and is located on Lake Geneva.
A four-year starter for head coach Eric Reveno, Knutson graduated in May from Portland after starting the most games of any player in school history (118).
“I got in contact with BBC Nyon through the coaches at Portland and have been helped by them in every step of the process,” Knutson said recently.
“Playing at UP gave me a great opportunity not only to get an education, but set me up to continue playing basketball. Even now the whole program including the coaching staff, Coach Bradford Scott and the strength and conditioning program, and athletic training staff have done everything they can to help me prepare for next year. My family is really excited for me to be able to play professional basketball and I am sure will be making a trip out to see me play.”
Over his career at Portland, Knutson finished fourth in Portland history in blocked shots (80), fifth in field goal percentage (.548) and sixth in total games played (122). He also excelled in the classroom as he was a three-time West Coast Conference All-Academic Team selection and 2011 Academic All-District VIII pick.
Pilots Center Jasonn Hannibal also graduated in May and was the next to sign his first pro contract overseas.
The 6'10 Hannibal - averaged 3.3 points and 1.6 rebounds per game during his senior year - will play in Slovenia for Hopsi Polzela. Hannibal said he has to fly home to Canada and will leave Portland "in about a weeks time", before he reports to the team on August 1.
Fellow former Pilots Luke Sikma and Jared Stohl have yet to make their decisions where to play overseas, but the last few months have proven positive with offers floating in from Germany, Spain, Australia, Belgium and Turkey for Sikma, while teams in Spain and Germany have shown interest in Stohl. Sikma led the West Coast Conference in both double-doubles (14) and rebounds (10.5) and finished tied for 12th nationally in rebounds per game.
With Stohl, the Pilots ranked second nationally in team three-point percentage (.417), and Stohl ranked No. 17 overall in three-pointers made.
These next two weeks will be very telling for both players.
"It's just all talks at this point. I won't get real concrete offers for a week or so, but I'm to find out where I'm goin though," Sikma told Beyond the Beat.
"My agent says there's a lot of interest."
Joevan Catron knows that story all too well. The former University of Oregon forward continues to play the waiting game.
The Illinois native is back home working out and has no deal in place Catron (pictured above) confirmed. He too should have a deal finalized overseas in the next two weeks. During his senior year at Oregon, Catron earned second-team all-conference honors and led Oregon in scoring, rebounding (6.3 rebounds per game), and field goal percentage (49.5 percent). He also took home "Most Valuable Player" honors during the Ducks' CBI Championship series against Creighton University.
Oregon State grad Calvin Haynes has received interest from a team in Israel, but no agreements have been reached. One source close to the Oregon State program believes Haynes is weighing his options but is eager to make a decision before August, as some teams overseas begin getting together for workouts and training camp then.
While Haynes was bumped from his starting job at Oregon State under head coach Craig Robinson, he left Corvallis with his name in the record books. He finished his career with 1,226 points, which ranks the 16th most in Oregon State history, played 122 career games, the sixth most in school history, and his 133 three-pointers made and 397 three-pointers attempted, both rank in the top ten in school history.
Now for Haynes, like a handful of others who played college basketball in Oregon, they have some serious life decisions to consider.
Time is ticking and there is more than just basketball to consider - leaving behind friends and family and venturing into the unknown can all be overwhelming. Yet that's simply part of the process.
Such is life when signing your first pro contract overseas.
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