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June 25, 2012

Tracking down former RMU hoops stars overseas

The number of players Robert Morris has sent to the NBA can be easily count on one hand with plenty of room to spare. Earl Cureton, from the halcyon days of Gus Krop, remains the sole Colonial to make it to the Association.

But many Robert Morris players have made it overseas, and some have returned stateside to play in smaller pro leagues. With the recent run of Colonials to find success after Robert Morris, ColonialsCorner scoured the globe to find out how they were doing.

A major tip of the cap goes to EuroBasket for helping parse through information for overseas players and holding database information for the last decade or so.

Active Players
1. Bateko Francisco
Last Team: Roche (France)
The Scoop: One of the Colonials' elite defenders over the past few years, Francisco has become a significant contributor while playing in his adopted homeland. Francisco has played for Roche since his career ended at Robert Morris in 2010. This past season, which ended in May, Francisco averaged 20.9 minutes per game over 32 games this past season, scoring 6.7 points per game as Roche went 23-11.
2. Maurice Carter
Last Team: Ahli Tripoli (Libya), Trotamundos (Venezuela)
The Scoop: Carter's been busy since his Robert Morris career ended after the 2004-05 season. He's played in the Contintental Basketball Association and the NBA D-League, but 2012 found him using his passport again. After previous stints in Mexico, the Dominican Republic, and Venezuela, Carter has played a handful of games in Macedonia and Venezuela the past calendar year. He last landed in Libya, though it appears that country's unstable situation has slowed its basketball league.
3. Jeremy Chappell
Last Team: Ferro-ZNTU (Ukraine)
The Scoop: Certainly the most successful recent graduate, Chappell seems to have found a home in Ukraine. After stops in France and Poland, Chappell spent a little bit of time with Hoverla in the Ukraine before signing on with Ferro-ZNTU in 2011. Ferro went 23-16 this season with the final game in May. Chappell was third on the team in scoring, averaging 14.8 points per game and 6.7 rebounds per game.
4. Dallas Green
Last Team: Guasave (Mexico)
The Scoop: The one-time "Screen Machine" has tried to make a go of it recently in Mexico after a stop last year in Little Rock, Arkansas for a stint in the new ABA. Green played 12 games for Guasave this past season, averaging 11.9 points and 7.7 rebounds over 26.1 minutes per game.
5. Jimmy Langhurst
Last Team: Sheffield Sharks (England)
The Scoop: Finally healthy after a knee injury robbed him of his senior season, Langhurst made a splash in his debut overseas. Buoyed by a strong showing with a USA National development team, Langhurst landed in Sheffield and became their leading scorer. Langhurst averaged 18.2 points per game, burying 43% of his 3-pointers. No doubt he'll be a candidate to return, if not upgrade his team, for 2012-2013.
6. Chaz McCrommon
Last Team: Erie Bayhawks (NBA D-League)
The Scoop: Possessing one of the lengthiest post-RMU careers on this list, McCrommon came as close to the NBA as anyone on this list has in recent years this season with Erie. McCrommon played 11 games with Erie toward the end of the season, averaging 8.1 points per game. His stint back stateside came after stops in Holland and France, as well as other US pro leagues like the CBA and ABA.
7. Rob Robinson
Last Team: Culiacan (Mexico)
The Scoop: Robinson used a stint in Germany and a brief run with Scranton/Wilkes-Barre in the PBL to get his career settled in Mexico. It took off for him at Culiacan, as he played 42 games and led the team in scoring at 22.1 points per game. Robinson also averaged 7.8 points per game, no doubt using his athleticism and reach to his advantage. Unfortunately Culiacan went 14-24.
8. Gary Wallace
Last Team: Tromso (Norway)
The Scoop: Along with Langhurst, Wallace is the most recent Robert Morris export to play overseas. He made his debut in Norway last season, playing in 20 games in a role he never had at RMU: Leading scorer. Wallace averaged 18.2 points and 6.7 rebounds per game as Tromso went 13-8. The season ended in March and we'll see where Wallace goes from here.
9. Mezie Nwigwe
Last Team: NoVA Hawks (EBA-US)
The Scoop: Nwigwe launched his career overseas in Libya but unfortunately had to leave the country as the Libyan civil unrest increased. He also dealt with an injury that kept him sidelined for a bit. Once he returned, Nwigwe spent 2012 in North America. He played a few games in Halifax, Canada before signing on with the Eastern Basketball Alliance.
Recently Active Players
1. Mark Anderson
Last Team: Kansas City Stars (ABA), 2009-2010
The Scoop: Anderson's last apparent appearance in a professional game came as the ABA endured multiple struggles. The Stars played just seven games in 2009-2010 before folding. His return to his home state came after two strong seasons at Robert Morris out of Coffeyville Junior College.
2. Wesley Fluellen
Last Team: Cleveland Rockers (ABA), 2009-2010
The Scoop: Fluellen's career ended at Robert Morris in 2002, and he grabbed some attention in his pre-draft workouts. But Fluellen never cracked the NBA and has had more success lately elsewhere. Unfortunately, his last appearance came during the same ABA struggles that hit fellow alum Anderson. Fluellen has also had stops with the old Pittsburgh XPlosion (CBA) and Erie Bayhawks (NBAD), as well as stops in Macedonia, Mexico, and Brazil.
3. A.J. Jackson
Last Team: Nijmegen (Holland), 2010
The Scoop: Jackson split time between three teams and three countries in 2010, the last year he was apparently active. After stops in the Philippines and Portugal, Jackson had a brief cup of coffee with Nijmegen in Holland.
4. Derek Coleman
Last Team: Osnabrueck (Germany), 2009
The Scoop: Coleman could be considered one of the lynchpins of the latest movement overseas. He and Tony Lee sort of started the push in the last 5-7 years, and Coleman certainly had some success. After stops in Holland and Canada, Coleman played the 2008-2009 season in Germany. He averaged 15.2 points per game and 5.4 assists per game in 21 games. Coleman hasn't played since, but word is he's exploring a return to pro basketball.
5. Tony Lee
Last Team: Wels (Austria), 2010
The Scoop: Lee joined Coleman as one of the recent Colonials to launch a successful career overseas, opening the door for the recent run of professional RMU players. After time in Slovenia, Poland, and Latvia, Lee last played in Austria. He played 11 games for Wels in the 2009-2010 season, averaging 6.3 points per game. Lee is reportedly back stateside, and there's no word that he plans on returning to the court.
6. Bas Rozendaal
Last Team: Leeuwarden (Holland), 2011
The Scoop: One of the few 7-footers to walk onto the court at Robert Morris, Rozendaal couldn't adjust to the college style. He hasn't been ultra-productive back in Europe, either. Rozendaal did play 38 games for Leeuwarden in 2010-2011, but he averaged just 10.8 minutes per game, including 3.4 points per game and 2.0 rebounds per game.

ColonialsCorner publisher Andrew Chiappazzi can be reached at achiappazzi@yahoo.com.

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