Burlington native/Kansas University graduate Tyrel Reed will begin his professional basketball career far from home.
The 6-foot-3 combo guard on Wednesday agreed to a one-year contract with VOO Verviers-Pepinster, a member of the Ethias League in Verviers, Belgium. Terms were not disclosed.
“I’m just excited to begin this adventure,” said Reed, who along with wife Jessica, heads overseas this weekend for training camp and the start of a season that runs through May, 2012.
“It’s a great opportunity,” Reed added. “It’s not like I’m making NBA money. I don’t really know all the particulars (of salary). Regardless of money, I’m excited to know I will be able to play professional basketball. There are a lot of nerves right now. I guess you could say I’m a rookie not knowing what to expect over there — different language, different country, driving a stick shift. Little things you kind of worry about. You know basketball is still going to be the same.”
Reed noted that former KU/Gonzaga guard Micah Downs started his pro career with VOO Verviers-Pepinster. Americans currently on the team include former South Carolina guard Devan Downey, Richmond center Dan Geriot and Vanderbilt guard Jermaine Beal.
“It is a stable country, stable team. It’s a really good league,” Reed said. “There’s a lot of great basketball in Belgium. A lot of good players have played there and moved on to other jobs in Europe. I’m ready to make the most of it.”
He expects to be used at both shooting guard and point guard.
“I don’t think I’m set at anything. It’s kind of how KU is,” Reed said. “A guard is a guard, the one and the two. That’s the mind-set I’m going to have.”
There is some positive karma as he and his wife begin this new adventure.
“My team has a blue bird (as mascot). I don’t know what kind of bird it is,” he said with a laugh. “I don’t think it’s a Jayhawk, but like my sister said, maybe I’m stuck on teams that have birds as their mascot, I don’t know.”
Most experts figure KU’s run of seven straight Big 12 titles will end this season.
“I wouldn’t pick us to win, either,” KU coach Bill Self said Wednesday in Dana O’Neil’s blog on ESPN.com. “I understand where that’s coming from. This is probably the most unpredictable season I’ve faced here.”
Self said junior Kevin Young, a 6-8, 185-pound forward who played two seasons at Loyola Marymount, could prove to be the squad’s most important newcomer. Young averaged 10.7 points and 5.3 boards his soph season at LMU.
“There would definitely be more of a concern if we didn’t get Kevin,’’ Self told ESPN. “He has a chance to be one of our better players, honestly.”