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Thursday, November 3rd, 2011 at 11:05 am  |  46 responses

DaJuan Summers Didn’t Enjoy Playing in Italy During the NBA Lockout


Summers left his Italian team after just four games, despite having signed a two-year deal, and like many who’ve gone overseas after playing in the NBA, the experience was a shocking one. From Yahoo! Sports: “San Antonio Spurs forward DeJuan Blair played just four games in Russia before mutually parting ways with the team. Orlando Magic forward Earl Clark signed a contract to play in China then left without even playing in a game. Detroit Pistons forward DaJuan Summers is the latest NBA player coming home early from an overseas job. He left his Italian team after only four games. Any other American NBA player considering making a similar job to Europe or Asia during the ongoing lockout might want to talk to Summers first. ‘I would tell them to be prepared for any and everything because it’s a different world than what you are used to,’ Summers said … A Baltimore native, Summers had never been to Europe until making his first trip to Italy. In fact, outside of a trip to China to play in a charity game for Yao Ming last year and traveling to Toronto to face the Raptors, he hadn’t spent much time outside the United States. The team gave Summers and his girlfriend and son a nice three-bedroom house in Siena’s countryside. But though Siena is a popular Italian tourist destination, Summers had trouble adapting to living in a small town – and he thinks team officials picked up on it. ‘Kind of slow-paced,’ Summers said. Summers was also given a Volkswagen by the team, but he quickly learned the difficulties of driving in Italy. On his second day in town, his car was rear-ended as he drove to practice. He was taken to the hospital, and his inability to speak Italian made it difficult for him to get help until someone realized he played for the local basketball team. By then, Summers’ girlfriend had already received a call from a team official alerting her that Summers hadn’t made it to practice. She was happy to eventually learn he had suffered only whiplash in the accident. ‘I got hit by a small SUV on my blind side of the passenger side,’ Summers said. ‘When I got hit, I ended up on the other side of the car in the backseat. That’s how hard I got hit. I was just shocked. I never have been in an accident like that.’ … Summers averaged about 18 points for Siena in the preseason. But the team was missing four players and its coach (Simone Pianigiani), all of who were involved in the European championships for the respective countries. Once Siena had its full roster together, Summers’ role changes. In his regular-season debut, he scored three points in 12 minutes. ‘That was my first red flag,’ he said. ‘In the preseason I was playing close to 30 minutes every game. But when the real games started I was getting 14, 15, 16 minutes. It was weird. I couldn’t understand it.’”

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  • http://Www.fiba.com Darksaber

    The culture shock and the bad car accident (plus the sudden drop in PT) i totally get.
    But a nice house in Siena’s countryside?
    That has got to be the most incredible 1st stay in Europe you can imagine. Talk about la dolce Vita.
    Eff the slow pace, that’s like a dream come true. (at least for me it would be) The food, the sights, the weather, i really hope he doesn’t regret his decision at some point.
    Reading daily about more NBA Players leaving their oversas teams, welcome to the reality of bball abroad.

  • Tano

    Siena’ s not a problem for foreign players…ask Bo McCalebb. But Summers isn’t good as everyone expected to be, and is so ignorant too.

  • Waggle

    Getting paid to live in Italy and play basketball? Yeah, sounds horrible. Suck it up and do your job. Or tell the players union to drop to 50 bri already.

  • dave

    i believe the reason why summers left is, the team let him go because of poor performance in the Serie A..he avg. 4 points and 1.3 rebounds in three games…so siena terminated his contract…

    http://www.eurobasket.com/Italy/basketball.asp?NewsID=246761

  • Valerio

    Sorry DaJuan if you didn’t have good time here, the team is the best one in Italy and one of the best in Europe, I think they know how to handle a player….maybe it was you to can’t handle the change.
    Of course Siena is a small city, the car accident etc etc…..but I read that u complained about the size of the hotel rooms, the comfort of the beds and the flights….damn are u a lady, a superstar or what?

  • Riggs

    my highschool friend plays in italy and other than feeling homesick he says its one of the best experiences in his life so far. so i dunno wtf blair is talking about…

  • Riggs

    summers*

  • http://www.slamonline.com Wayno

    I feel like Summers should be a more productive player than he is. He seems to have all of the tools to succeed.

  • don

    primadonna

  • EtheKnickFan

    Adjusting should only be difficult when you have to struggle or didnt want to move. Italy? His girl aint ish either, wifey said the shopping alone woulda made her regulate and get me straight. Free apartment? That makes living almost anywhere easier. Countryside? Kid’s just too young to know, and I’m a big city boy. Paid to play? sighhh. Thats like paying me to watch bball. Shiiiiiiiieeeeet I’d be getting my rosetta stone on during the flight.

  • http://www.fiba.com Darksaber

    *test, test*
    is this effing comment section on?

  • http://www.fiba.com Darksaber

    this is some bull…
    can’t post anything intelligent but an outburst shows? Comment problems on Slamonline: how 2002.

  • AlexT

    And in other news, for all you raptors fans (I am one)and those in toronto, VC and Tmac are on Off The Record tonight in toronto to address some of the things that went down when they left toronto.

  • http://www.fiba.com Darksaber

    @Valerio: bravo. wrote something similar earlier, too bad the site swallowed it up.

  • http://slamonline.com The Black Rick Kamla

    @EtheKnickFan there’s a difference between doing what you’ve dreamed of doing ever since your were a boy, playing NBA basketball, and playing and living in Europe. I’m sure under different circumstances these guys would love their stays abroad, but under the conditions where they’re “settling” for less than what is ideal (compounded with the relative youth of a lot of these guys), you can’t expect them all to really appreciate the cultural experience that is basketball abroad.

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    Everybody is ignorant about something.
    Like I’ll bet Summers is far more versed than Tano on how to survive and flourish in Baltimore.

  • http://slamonline.com The Black Rick Kamla

    ^^From a spectators perspective, lets say you were given front row tickets to every game the NBA Finals (luxury accomidations and flights all included), and lets say just for fun the matchup is Lakers vs. Heat right….then they were taken away from you and replaced with kinda decent tickets to watch one of the better teams in Europe and a paid stay in modest accomidations therein………..I’ll take it right, I’ll be thinking about the NBA Finals during every minute of whatever game I’m watching out in Europe though…I probably won’t get to move around too too much and see the sights, because I’m not there on my own time so of course I won’t come away with the full cultural appreciation of the country…….basically I’d want my friggin NBA tickets back. Similar scenarios, agree or disagree?

  • http://www.bulls.com Enigmatic

    F*ck that.
    I was 19 years old when I stepped foot in Japan, didn’t know a soul in the country.
    If they had let me go home after just a few days, I would have. But I came to LOVE it there.
    Spent two years in Okinawa, and every day I dream about going back.
    These cats are just too damn close-minded.
    Making a committment then quitting?
    While getting paid and getting hooked up with a house, car, etc?
    I feel no sympathy for them whatsoever.

  • http://www.bulls.com Enigmatic

    These cats are just too closed-minded.
    I was 19 when I when I was stationed in Okinawa. Hated it.
    Two years later, did not want to leave.

  • sk6

    Here in the US a lot of players have the hanger on / entourage type of guys that are always around to kiss their A$s. You go over to Europe and all of the guys telling you how good you playing aren’t there. As they say Youth is wasted on the young; ask him in a few years if he isn’t playing in the NBA if Italy is an option.

  • http://wikipedia.org Eddie1

    @The Black Rick Kamla Please no more analogies. These players are just whinin’. Dfish need to swallow his ego and make the deal. 50-50 my homies!

  • http://dillanleuyahoo.com Holy Baller

    I’m still trying to figure out how the f*ck he got hit from behind and ended up in the back seat.

  • Lz – Cphfinest3

    Holy Baller, he for sure wasn’t wearing a seatbelt for that to happend. And that my friends is the first (of many based on this article alone) sign of Summers being a pretty stupid guy.

  • Bimmer

    Who is this guy? Name sounds familiar but I don’t remember him.

  • LA Huey

    I like BRK’s analogy.
    Also, Enigmatic. I was born and spent my 1st 7 years in Okinawa. I love living in the States but I miss so much about my homeland (beautiful beaches, inescapable heat, pre-typhoon weather, summer festivals…).

  • http://slamonline.com Ugh

    I didn’t speak the language, got in a car accident and they cut my minutes!
    First world problems, dude. First world problems.

  • http://thetroyblog.com Teddy-the-Bear

    I don’t know how spending a year in Italy can be “too slow” for people. What is he expecting? What is “so fast” and exciting about living in America that makes living in a free house in the countryside so boring? You’re getting paid to live in a house and play ball!

  • http://thetroyblog.com Teddy-the-Bear

    @ LA Huey: Were your parents in the military like Enigmatic?

  • Lan

    Mr Summers can’t handle the world outside the NBA it seems.

  • http://Aol QG

    To each his own…..etc etc

  • Valerio

    I totally agree with your #1 post Darksaber!
    That’s what Summers said in a interview with yahoo:

    ““Back home you got to score, make plays and be able to spread the defense,” Summers said. “But here it’s more [emphasis on] defense. It’s more like a college feel. The paint is jam packed. Guys play harder, but it’s not more physical. That’s a misconception.”

    Well….didn’t he know that the european basket isn’t like the nba’?
    I mean…..it’s normal to need time to adapt…..I don’t know who didn’t want to spend that time (he or the team, who replaced Summers with the european scoring champ…..) but damn you are a (not-so-good) pro so you can’t complain about the accomodation!!!

    ps: sorry for my bad english

  • http://www.bc-tw.blogspot.com BC-TW

    This is just further proof of how Americans are so spoiled to the point that they turn down what amounts to free money and free room and board to play a game just to get back to the “comfort” of America, where they do not have a paying job. Why couldn’t Summers just accept the decrease in PT as long as the checks kept coming? Has he no advisers at all? Didn’t his agent have anything to say about the matter? It’s not like his life was in danger. He should have had a driver also acting as a translator. But apparently he’d just prefer to go back to B’More’s corner to kick it. This is why I don’t miss the NBA, they’re all idiots.

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    I read another story where the team was talking about cutting him. Seems like both parties had buyer’s remorse.

  • LA Huey

    @Teddy, Pops was military. Met my mom on the island.

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    According to the actual article cited here, Summers got cut after the team wasnt’ happy with his performance.
    He didn’t quit, even though his paycheck was lighter than promised.
    Let’s at least discuss the actual facts.

  • hub

    check out his stats. nba bench players with no basketball iq just aren’t good enough for a european top team – fact.
    http://195.56.77.208/player/?id=SUM-DAJ-88&year=2011

  • http://thetroyblog.com Teddy-the-Bear

    @ LA Huey: That’s awesome! Do you have family/relatives there still?
    @ Allenp: See, you’re presenting me with facts, which requires critical thinking, which requires me not forming a knee-jerk opinion. Shame on you.

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    I know. I’m a bastard.

  • http://www.bulls.com Enigmatic

    @LA Huey – that’s dope!
    Yeah, a part of me still considers Oki “home”.
    The food, the drinks, the beaches, the people.
    Oh man, the people. Nicest people on the planet.
    I remember feeling about 5 inches tall one day when I first started driving over there, another car nearly hit me, and I did the typical American thing, honking my horn and flipping dude off and all that.
    It was an older Okinawan guy, and he responded by putting his hand up and bowing his head, which means “please forgive me”.
    They are the most humble, nice people you could ever meet.
    I remember moving back to the states, one of my first days back I’m at the mall and accidentally bump into someone.
    I’m still in Oki mode and I was like “please forgive me”.
    Dude was all up in my face like “look where the f*ck you going”.
    I just stared at dude, sighed and walked away like “I miss Oki”. lol

  • http://www.bulls.com Enigmatic

    LA Huey – what part of Oki did you live at?
    Me and the wife had a place out in town, in Okinawa City by the Kadena Air Force Base.
    But I worked at Camp Foster in Chatan-Cho.

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    Is it a good place to visit? It sounds very nice. My only impression of the place is Karate Kid II, but y’all make it sound like a really great place.

  • http://www.bulls.com Enigmatic

    It’s dope as hell, Allen.
    It’s like Japan’s version of Hawaii, it’s where mainland Japanese and peeps from all over Asia go for vacation.
    it’s a really nice place to visit, in my opinion.
    Funny you mentioned Karate Kid II, cause Karate really is huge on the island as well.
    In fact, Karate actually originated on Okinawa.

  • LA Huey

    Enig got his education about the island when he was there. Didn’t just sit around and soak up the rays. Good on you, man. I’m from Chatan-Cho. I have an aunt, some cousins, and a grandpa (coolest dude in the world, maybe in history) that still live there. I haven’t been back since ’01 and really need to change that before my Oji moves on.

  • http://www.bulls.com Enigmatic

    Oh, I did plenty of sitting around, soaking up the rays, and drinking Orion and eating Cocoichibanyas too. lol

  • http://slamonline.com Ugh

    @Allenp – Discuss the actual facts? This is the internet! You’re being ridiculous!

  • http://www.facebook.com/terrance.burney Terrance Burney

    I SEE GREATNESS IN
    Dajuan Summers!!!!

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