Watch Out for Hungarian Deer.

Just imagine you in this scenario with me;

I was driving down the road on a cold fall night and have my whole family with me. My 4 year old daughter, 9 month old son, wife and a teammate who I was giving a ride home. The sun just went down and I just exited the freeway heading down a country road in the middle of nowhere. Everything is quiet and my family is in the back asleep or dazing off. I stare off into the reach of my headlights as the lines pass one by one. Cruising along at exactly the speed limit, 110 km (68.35 mph), when out of nowhere this runs into the middle of the road;

One one-thousand, two one-thousand… BAM! The deer hit the front rolls up the hood and smashes straight into the windshield with a sudden burst of cold air. Broken glass, crunching medal and tire screeching are the only sounds I hear as I slowly open my eyes and see a deer the size of a horse flying off the car and onto the side of the road. It twitches for a few seconds and dies.

The result;

Looking down I see blood pouring onto my pants and then the thought comes… my family. Looking in the back seat I see if everyone is ok. Two kids are screaming but my wife assures me everyone is fine. With blood on my shirt and pants I had no idea if it was my blood, the deer’s blood, or someone else’s. Lucky for me it was mine, so I went into Rambo mode and took my shirt off and tied it around my head. Trying to assess the situation I could not figure out what the taste in my mouth was. As I’m spitting I realized it was deer hair.

I go around to the back to get my kids out of the car and glass was everywhere. My son is screaming with glass all over his hair and clothes, same for my daughter. As I am getting my son out of his car seat a notice a huge pile of deer feces, yes shit, right next to his car seat. It just missed him. Everyone gets out of the car and we do our best to dust off the glass.

Luckily two things happened. I had a brief instant of clarity and flashed back to my driver’s safety course… just hit it, don’t swerve. If I would have pulled the wheel we would have rolled into a deep ditch on either side. Second, there were cars that stopped and helped us out. They called an ambulance, directed traffic and even gave my daughter some candy. Needless to say we were all pretty shook up and tried collecting our things scattered everywhere when the ambulance arrived.

We took the ambulance to the hospital in Kaposvar. On the way we again noticed the glass all over us. My daughter had it in her underwear, I had it in my ears and my teammate Soma had it in his eyes. It was absolutely everywhere and we found it in apartment all over for the next few months. The worst part, for my wife, was after picking off the glass we begin to notice something else in our hair and on our clothes. Deer Ticks. They were all over us.

Now needless to say it was a traumatizing experience. Luckily we walked away from it because we could have very easily died. I had a big cut on my forehead from… the deer hitting my head? The glass hitting my head? The GPS flying? No idea but besides a few cuts on my wife and I, we were all safe. So phew right? We’re all safe, we can put that behind us.

Well not quite. I continued playing and our team was doing well. Moved up to as high as 6th in the standings and I managed to score a season high 31 points at Szolnok a few days after the accident. A few months passed then in January I get a letter in the mail. The police found me liable for the deer/accident even though I was going exactly the speed limit. Because they found me liable they are going to take my license away for three months. Not only that but I am responsible for paying for the deer that I just killed with my car ($150- $5,000).  That’s right pay for the deer. To top it all off the insurance company would not cover the costs of the car because there was a deer warning sign next 7 kilometers on the road. So because my contract stated that if I’m found negligent in an accident I would be liable for the damage I now owe the club a substantial amount of money. Awesome.

Now if this happened in your home town this would be a pretty big deal. But compounded on the facts of the accident, we were in a foreign country where the Police on the scene didn’t speak English, the paramedics that arrived didn’t speak English and I have NO clue what any letter that comes in the mail says when it’s in Hungarian. Thankfully my teammate Soma was there to not only make sure my wife was in the back seat safely (thanks Soma) but to speak to everyone at the scene. The crazy thing is we randomly ran into Soma at the mall in Budapest and I asked him if he wanted a ride home rather than taking the train (we lived 2 hours from Budapest and there are several major malls in the area). It was fate that Soma was there but I’m guessing he wished he would have taken the train.

So this incident has left me fearing every brown bush on the side or the road, cringing any time I see a car wreck on TV and I’m pretty much terrified of deer (don’t be surprised if I become an avid deer hunter… with something besides a car).  And I am not kidding you this deer was at least 12 points and was taller than the car. Look at the minimal damage to the front end in that picture compared to the top of the car. IT WAS HUGE! So here in Helsinki I don’t drive a car…. I take the tram.

Watch out for deer in Hungary!

If you want to know more about me visit my website www.joshwilsonbasketball.com, check out my highlights on YouTube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ApGzS3h-csQ, or check out my basketball academy at www.rootsbasketball.com

Season update; Finished the last game with 29 points on 7/7 from 2 3/6 from 3 and 6/8 from the line. By far the best game of the year for me personally. We also won which is big because it’s the team we’ll most likely play in the playoffs. Highlights of the game- http://youtu.be/n_5eoHbabbo

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Washingtonians Hooping in Hungary

 

The basketball world is a small one. Every new teammate seems to know someone you do. Whether it’s a college teammate or someone you played with in high school you can usually come across a common person that has crossed your paths. This can be a great advantage for every hooper in landing your next job or gaining information on a country or team. The vast network that connects us all is a powerful tool that should be harnessed by every player. It’s all about networking.

I try and help out any player that has crossed my path and gained my respect. If I hear of a job or my team needs a player, Ill do my best to track down someone. So far I have been able to get my college teammate Stephen Sir (195-G-82, college: N.Arizona) on my team in Germany (the best shooter I have ever played with or seen) and now my friend Nik Raivio(192-G-86, agency: Priority Sports, college: Portland) on my current team, Kaposvari KK. We all need a shot, our chance, the big break. If you are in the position to help a hooper you respect, you should do so. Wouldn’t you want someone to do the same for you?

This year I am fortunate enough to play with two other Washingtonians. I myself played for Mark Morris High School in Longview, WA while Nik Raivio played for Mountain View in Vancouver, WA and Michael Fey (213-F/C-83, college: UCLA) played for Capital High School in Olympia, WA. Tell me when that has happened before? Three players from the same state all on the same team is crazy. Olympia is only an hour drive from Longview and Vancouver is only 30 minutes. Now we are all hooping in a little city in Hungary. Mike and Nik can ball too, check out their stats. Since my last post we won a tough overtime game where I had 33 point and 6 assists, Nik had 26 points and 5 rebounds, Mike 17 points and 10 rebounds. Not too shabby for the Great Northwest. The victory put us in position to move up to 5th but unfortunately we lost to Falco on the 28th. We are tied for 6th and ready to make a run the second half of the season. Heads Up: We are 6-2 since Mr. Fey showed up.

My immediate network is killing overseas right now; Ruben Boykin (201-F-85, college: N.Arizona) (Greece A1), Kyle Landry (207-C/F-86, college: N.Arizona) (Russia) and Stephen Sirall groomsmen in my wedding and putting in work. My other friends and former Lumberjacks Zarko Comagic (201-F-85, college: N.Arizona) (Poland), Kristian Kuhn (208-C-87, college:N.Arizona) (Germany), Cameron Jones (193-G-89, college: N.Arizona) (NBDL), and Mike Trinh. Omar Krayem (185-G-86, college: Cal.Baptist) (Sweden), Longview legend and LCC star in Sweden averaging 20 pts and 6 assists. Kurt Cunningham (205-C/F-87, college: Boise St.) (France) and Daniel Werner (203-F-87, college: Florida) (Italy) from last years team also moved up to great leagues and are showing they belong in the top leagues in Europe. All these players are in high places and know GMs, agents and coaches throughout each league. These are all people I have played with. I didn’t even mention any of the ones I have played against. Send your video out and have your friends put in a good word. What’s the worst that could happen?

This blog may seem random but there is a point; use your network to better yourself and help your friends. Not every agent can be trusted and not everyone will be honest about the quality and legitimacy of the team/country you’re going to. Before getting yourself in a bad position ask someone who has been there before if it’s a good idea. There are MANY things that you should take into account before making a decision on where you’re going, not just dollar signs. Veterans have seen most of Europe so don’t be afraid to ask. Facebook and other social media platforms are a great way to connect with players and agents. Use all the tools necessary to give you the best chance at a good job. Lastly, you should introduce yourself to as many agents and coaches as possible. You never know where your next job may come from.

If you want to know more about me you can watch my highlights on YouTube (http://youtu.be/ApGzS3h-csQ) or follow me on twitter @jdubball21. Check back in a few days for next the blog. Josh Wilson (188-PG-87, agency: Hightower Law Firm, college: N.Arizona)


Blog #3

After finishing my last blog I hoped on my last flight from Warsaw to Budapest and drove a two hour drive to my new home in Kaposvar, Hungary. My family and I have just settled into our new home and everything is great so far. I was on a two week tryout period and have successfully made the team for this season. My goal is to catch everyone up to speed on what’s going on in Hungary. I have a ton of interesting stuff to write about not only from a basketball standpoint but everything pertaining to life as an expatriate. My wife and I just found out that we are having a boy this March and I couldn’t be more excited! I think it will make for some great writing material.

 A common question I often get is what is the average day like for an overseas professional basketball player? While I can’t answer for everyone I can make an attempt to paint a picture of what my day was like in Germany and now here in Hungary. Typically you have two practices a day, one in the morning and one a night. You usually lift weights sometime in between and that’s all your basketball obligations for the day. So that might take up oh, 4-6 hours. That leaves around 8 hours to do whatever you feel like. In Germany sometimes we’d only have 1 practice a day and weights on your own so I was really not busy. This can actually be a huge problem for guys coming from college. College is unbelievably hard. You go from 8am to 10pm everyday nonstop. So going from that to the pros leaves you a little… BORED. Some guys handle it well, some don’t. Spare time for some usually entails XBOX, movies, Skype, and lots of Facebook. I’m guilty of movies and maybe sometimes Facebook but I’m not really a fan of the rest.

 With my experiences here practices are great, the perfect amount of time. You get in work hard but don’t feel completely drained. This is important for me personally because I like to feel that I still have the energy to work on things on my own. Keep my shot hitch free and try to sharpen my ball handling skills. In college it’s near impossible to get in that extra work. You have rehab, a test in the morning, and you have to get to the cafeteria before it closes. I think college coaches would be wise to chill out on being so crazy. Your players need to be rested and have the opportunity to improve themselves because they want to not because you forced them to. There is a huge psychological advantage to working hard and getting better because you want to not because you were told to. In the pros if you want to make more money and move up you have to do well. The only way I know how to do that is by practicing. I’m thankful I’ve been in two places in the pro’s that allow me to do this.

 I try to get out of the house and walk around as much as possible. It usually ends up being an interesting story. On several occasions I’ve been stopped and talked to for what seems like hours. I still have no idea what they were getting at. They usually end up mad as I said no sprechen deutsch. It’s amazing how well you can communicate without having a clue what the other person is saying. Lots of pointing usually gets the trick done in about any store. My favorite part of having some free time is seeing all the beautiful sites of Europe. Last year my manager Nico took me on trips to The Cinderella Castle (the one Disney is modeled after) in southeast Germany, Berlin, and the Dachau concentration camp. As a history major in college I am constantly blown away at the sites and history. In Ehingen I was driving one day and parked in front of this little building downtown that said it was built in 1692. That one insignificant building was older than the United States. Hard to imagine.

I think the hardest part about it for most Americans is not the basketball practices or games. Not your coach or teammates. But when you’re here by yourself sometimes you feel entirely alone. This is especially true in the beginning. You don’t really know your teammates well enough to kick it with and you have all this time that you are not use to. You can’t always call back home because the time difference, most people are at work or school. It can be a hard thing so far from home. My wife and I found out the hard way that there is only so much time you can spend starring at a computer. I guess my advice to anyone over here who feels that way… get married. Alright well maybe that’s a little far but it’s been awesome having my wife with me. I hang out with her and my daughter all day go play hoops twice for a couple hours and come back to a home a cooked meal. Pretty sweet. It’s much better than last year’s frozen pizzas, peanut butter and jellies and endless amount of pasta (the only thing I know how to cook).

 I personally try to take advantage of the spare time. With technology now anyone can go to school for about anything from anywhere. I am currently working on a Masters in Business Administration and very slowly on a Masters in Education. I like moving toward something and I know basketball won’t last forever. Going to school now works great for me. Other than basketball, school, hanging with the family, and adventuring out, I read and watch movies. I don’t think it can get much better than that.

 I’m not sure if that gives the best image of overseas hoopers but it’s what I do daily. I love my job. I finished out last year averaging 14.6 points and dishing out 6.0 assists a game. My team finished in fourth place two spots away from moving up a division. I would have loved to have been a part of giving Ehingen the chance to play at a higher level but we fell just short. I have nothing but good things to say about the Ehingen Steeples program and I wish them the best. I know they’ll move up to Pro A real soon. In my next blog I’ll let you know about my summer maybe some of my workouts and everything leading up to coming to Hungary.

 To learn more about Josh Wilson visit his website: http://www.joshwilsonbasketball.com

 

You can also check Josh Wilson’s game out here: YouTube – Germany highlight tape 2009-2010