Former Arizona hoops commit says playing overseas was ‘best decision of my life’

Chris Hyde/Getty Images

For years, we’ve heard about a potential “preps to pros” revolution in basketball. After players Brandon Jennings, Jeremy Tyler and Emmanuel Mudiay all elected to skip college to play professionally overseas, it left many wondering if it would become a regular path for high school basketball stars.

Former Arizona basketball commit and 2017 NBA Draft prospect Terrance Ferguson believes it will. He is the latest to test the trend of playing a year of pro ball overseas straight out of high school, in order to become NBA draft eligible. Ferguson is playing for the Adelaide 36ers of Australia’s National Basketball League (NBL) this season after completing high school last spring.

Ferguson – along with Mudiay – joined “The Sidelines Podcasts” with FS1 college hoops insider Evan Daniels last week to discuss their respective situations and while Mudiay was more even-keeled about his choice, Ferguson was said it was “the best decision he ever made.”

He also described to Daniels how the initial opportunity to play overseas arose:

“It was crazy, because I’m telling you, I was like 100 percent in on Arizona,” Ferguson said. “It was actually after the [Nike] Hoops Summit game [in April]. This agent from Australia came up to me and said ‘We want you to come over here and play in Australia, play for Adelaide.’ And at the time I was like ‘I’m not really interested, I’m all about Arizona right now.’

But after a while I had a talk with my mom, my coaches, and after a while, I talked to Emmanuel [Mudiay] about all that, his experience [playing in China after high school], how well he did. Actually, after hearing from him, [I realized] my opportunity was probably better than his, the situation I’m in is much better than he was. And I’m like ‘Oh man, I have to go over here now.’”

Mudiay and Ferguson explained how each of their situations were different. Ferguson has the advantage of living in an English-speaking country, which has helped him with the transition from high school to pro ball. Mudiay on the other hand, played in China, where there is a language barrier, as well as larger cultural barriers.

Ferguson has family support, as his mother made the journey with him. Still, he admits that the transition has been tough.

“It’s being homesick,” Ferguson said. “I’m an 18-year-old kid, all the way across the world. And after a while you just get homesick, you start missing family, you start seeing pictures, missing friends, that’s probably the hardest part, just wanting to go home so bad. But you have to fight through it, you have to stay focused.”

Ferguson also said that several current college freshmen – guys who he played against in the prep ranks – have told him that they wish they had decided to go pro, rather than playing in college. He believes it’s a decision other players will make in the future.

“Oh man, most definitely,” Ferguson said, when asked if other high school players will choose his route. “I think so many high school prospects who will have the opportunity in the NBA will most definitely come over here for a year. I mean you can’t really pass that opportunity [up]. And the way their mind-set is set up, they’re most definitely going to take this mind-set any day over college.”

Evan’s interview with both Ferguson and Mudiay is a must-listen for college basketball fans, NBA fans and anyone who wants more insight on how the preps-to-pros model works.

And the interview with Mudiay and Ferguson is just the latest on “The Sidelines Podcast” as Evan welcomes some of the biggest names in basketball to the show. Previous guests include Hall of Fame Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski, Villanova’s Jay Wright and former NBA All-Star, and current Grand Canyon coach Dan Majerle.

To listen to all episodes, click here.

And to have new episodes delivered to you, subscribe below.

SUBSCRIBE: iTunes | Google Play