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

by November 03, 2011

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.'”