A, B, Z’s
Zabian Dowdell may not have made it to the NBA, but he’s doing just fine overseas.
After four seasons at Virginia Tech, Zabian Dowdell worked hard on his game and it showed. He improved his scoring average every year, going from 10.8 ppg as a freshman up to 17.4 ppg as a senior and became the seventh leading scorer in the schools history along the way.
Out of Pahokee High School in Florida, Zabian Dowdell wasn’t as highly recruited as other players who land in the ACC. Dowdell, however, proved that its not about your ranking coming into college; its about making the most out when you get your chance to shine.
After four years of stellar basketball that quieted recruiting experts, Dowdell now had to please a whole different kind of scout; NBA GM’s. Heading into the 2007 NBA Draft, Dowdell had all the confidence in the world and just wanted somebody to take a chance on him, which unfortunately didn’t happen.
Right now life is good for Zabian Dowdell. After his disappointing Draft night, Dowdell didn’t wait too long to land back on his feet, as he suited up for Sluc Nancy, a French team in the Euro League, for the 2007-08 season and averaged a respectable average of 10 ppg on the season. Currently the smooth-stroking, playmaking guard is playing for Unicaja in the Spanish ACB (and Euro League), which is looked at as the second best league in the world next to the NBA.
SLAM: Who did you play AAU with growing up?
ZABIAN DOWDELL: I played with Team Breakdown for a couple tournaments and I also played with Coast to Coast a couple tournaments but they were both an hour and a half away from where I lived so it was hard trying to go back and forth and as a result I missed out on a lot of AAU basketball.
SLAM: In college, you’re scoring went up every single year. What can you accredit your increase in PPG to?
ZD: The biggest reason my scoring went up each year in college was because every year I had more responsibility on the team.
SLAM: What did you expect going into the NBA Draft? How did it all unfold for you? Describe some of the emotions that you went through.
ZD: Going in to the Draft I felt like I was just as good as anybody in the Draft and the only question was when I was going to get picked not if I was going to get picked. I ended up not getting drafted at all and I was a little disappointed but I was still confident that I’d be there one day.
SLAM: What was life like after the NBA Draft up until now? What were your goals and how did you want to go about achieving them?
ZD: Life has been great for me. At the end of the day I still get to do what I love just in a different country. As far as goals are concerned I just want to be the best that I can be, if I do that everything else will fall into place.
SLAM: You just recently came to Unicaja in Spain. What is life like here? How have you adjusted to the playing style? Do you plan on playing here (Europe) in the future?
ZD: It’s pretty similar to the states to be honest. The playing really wasn’t the biggest thing coming in it was the conditions I was coming in under. I was out for about 3 months with an injury and I never really got to train before coming in and physically I wasn’t where i wanted to be. I still plan on playing in the NBA so as of now i’m working toward that.
SLAM: You are 25 years old. What are some of your long term goals, playing wise? Do you want to get back to the NBA or do you have another plan?
ZD: As a player I just want to play at the highest level possible and to be respected by the other players. You can’t ask for too much more than that.
SLAM: There is life after basketball. What kinds of things do you see yourself getting into after your basketball career is over?
ZD: I’m already into a few things dealing with the internet now. I am the founder of Sports Media Ventures, LLC and sportsagent411.com, which is a comprehensive sports agent/athlete directory connecting individuals and business professionals with sports agents and athletes.
SLAM: What advice do you have for young people who are working hard to make it to the professional ranks? What kind of things should they know about the game?
ZD: I think the 2 most important things for younger players looking to make it to the pro ranks is work ethic and confidence. They both go hand-in-hand.