Kemba Walker talked about promoting the EuroLeague and giving it more worldwide recognition as he arrived in Europe this week to join AS Monaco Basket, writes Antonis Stroggylakis of Eurohoops. The free agent point guard, who had been looking for a new team since the Mavericks waived him in January, agreed to a one-year deal with Monaco last month.
“I hope I can help increase the notoriety of the EuroLeague,” Walker said. “To increase the style of play and just built it up more. … It’s a big step. Something different. I’m just looking forward to the opportunity. I just want to play basketball.”
There are plenty of former NBA players in the EuroLeague, but no one has the resume of Walker, who was a four-time All-Star before a knee injury derailed his career. Even if the experience in Europe doesn’t lead to another NBA opportunity, Walker is hoping to show that he can still play at a high level.
“I’m looking forward to be in a different environment,” he said. “Learning my teammates. Meeting new people… the coaching staff, medical guys, everything. Basketball is basketball. And I’m here to win games.”
There’s more international news to pass along:
- Mikal Bridges is enjoying his first time representing the U.S. in international competition, per Joe Vardon of The Athletic. Bridges won two national titles at Villanova and has developed into an elite player with Phoenix and Brooklyn, but he considers playing for the World Cup team to be the highlight of his career. “It’s definitely surreal, just being here, having these colors on, having USA across the chest,” he said. “When Steve (Kerr) first talked to me about being on the team, I was in Phoenix then, and when he called, it was already a ‘Pinch me’ moment. And when I got the official call from Grant (Hill) asking me to be on the team, I was like, ‘Oh shoot, we’re really doing this.’”
- Clippers coach Tyronn Lue is part of Kerr’s staff after an injury cost him a chance to join Team USA as a player in 1997, notes Tim Reynolds of The Associated Press. “I think it’s an honor,” Lue said. “You grow up watching basketball, watching the Olympic team, the Dream Team, you always want to play for those teams. I wasn’t good enough, but it’s amazing to have an opportunity to represent my country in any capacity. So, coaching is what it is.”
- French guard Evan Fournier reached a milestone Wednesday by taking part in the 100th international game of his career, according to Eurohoops. The Knicks‘ guard had 10 points and two assists in a win over Japan.