How Former Ohio State Basketball Players Fared Overseas

By Colin Hass-Hill on June 3, 2019 at 10:16 am
Aaron Craft

Two weeks ago, we checked in on the former Ohio State basketball players in the NBA and G League, and now we'll look at how those playing professionally elsewhere performed in the 2018-19 season.

Let's begin with a recent award winner.

Aaron Craft, Aquila Basket Trento, Lega Basket Serie A (Italy)

Stats: 12.3 points, 4.8 rebounds, 4.5 assists, 2.0 steals, 0.2 blocks, 53.6 shooting percentage, 39.1 3-point percentage, 63.8 free-throw percentage, 29.4 minutes per game

Season in a nutshell: Apparently, Craft is attempting to win defensive player of the year in as many countries as possible. The two-time Big Ten defender of the year won the award in the then-named G League in 2015 as a first-time professional, and he won Lega Basket Serie A defensive player of the year for the 2018-19 season. No matter where he is in the world, Craft makes it hard for whichever player he's locked up with. Craft also had a solid offensive season, shooting better than 50 percent from the field and 39.1 percent from beyond the arc. His team went 17-13 in Serie A and 3-7 in the EuroCup.

Game of the year: Craft showed off his efficiency in even his highest-scoring games of the season, hitting 9-of-14 shots for 22 points in a win against The Flexx Pistoia on Dec. 26. He added seven assists, five rebounds and three steals. 

Notable teammates: Devyn Marble (Iowa), Dustin Hogue (Iowa State)

Jae'Sean Tate, Telenet Giants Antwerp, Euromillions Basketball League (Belgium)

Stats: 10.3 points, 4.0 rebounds, 1.8 assists, 0.8 steals, 0.2 blocks, 55.9 shooting percentage, 46.0 3-point percentage, 65.2 free-throw percentage, 21.5 minutes per game

Season in a nutshell: In his first season as a professional, Tate impressed. The starting forward helped propel Antwerp, a significant underdog, to the Champions League final four. In 24 Champions League games, he averaged a team-high 13 points per game, hitting 62.3 percent of his shots and knocking down 22-of-52 3-pointers. 

Game of the year: In the first game of his professional career, Tate has a double-double against AEK Larnaca, picking up 21 points and 12 rebounds. He went 9-for-12 from the field and 1-for-2 from beyond the arc. Tate added two assists and one steal.

Notable teammates: Trevor Thompson (Ohio State), Paris Lee (Illinois State), Moses Kingsley (Arkansas)

David Lighty, ASVEL Lyon-Villeurbanne Basket, Jeep ELITE ProA (France)

Stats: 10.1 points, 3.4 rebounds, 2.5 assists, 1.1 steals, 0.1 blocks, 49.0 shooting percentage, 46.0 3-point percentage, 73.4 free-throw percentage, 26.2 minutes per game

Season in a nutshell: Lighty, who started at small forward, led ASVEL to a 27-7 record in ProA. Plus, his team captured the 2019 French Cup championship for the second time in his career. Lyon-Villeurbanne thrived on depth, with 11 players averaging between six and 12 points per game, and Lighty was important enough to play the most minutes per game on the team. 

Game of the year: Lighty only cracked 20 points once this season, and he did so with a 28-point performance in a win against Gravelines on Sept. 29. He went 11-for-15 from the field and nailed 5-of-6 triples, adding three rebounds, three assists and two steals.

Notable teammates: Adreian Payne (Michigan State), Alexis Ajinca (NBA)

Amir Williams, Atomerőmű SE, Nemzeti Bajnokság I (Hungary)

Stats: 6.0 points, 4.5 rebounds, 0.5 assists, 0.4 steals, 0.7 blocks, 71.7 shooting percentage, 0.0 3-point percentage, 69.2 free-throw percentage, 12.6 minutes per game

Season in a nutshell: Williams' professional career has taken him all over the globe, beginning in the country of Georgia in 2016. He has since played in New Zealand, Switzerland, China and, most recently, Uruguay, where he came off the bench on a .500 team. Williams played sporadic minutes, and he scored in double figures three times with Atomerőmű. 

Game of the year: In a 28-point win against DEAC on April 17, Williams had 12 points and a season-high nine rebounds. He went 4-for-5 from the field, adding two assists, a block and a steal.

Notable teammates: Nick Faust (Maryland and Long Beach State), LaDontae Henton (Providence)

Othello Hunter, CSKA Moscow, VTB United League (Russia)

Stats (EuroLeague): 7.7 points, 4.3 rebounds, 0.9 assists, 0.5 steals, 0.4 blocks, 59.6 shooting percentage, 0.0 3-point percentage, 72.7 free-throw percentage, 17.4 minutes per game

Season in a nutshell: As a 33-year-old big man, Hunter is the oldest player on CSKA Moscow this season, but the 6-foot-8 center is among the starting five. His team captured the EuroLeague title in May, and it will begin the CTB United Finals in a best-of-three series against Khimki on Wednesday. Hunter has quality guards and wings for his team to rely on, so he's able to man the paint.

Game of the year: In a win against Zenit on May 23, Hunter dropped 22 points in 20 minutes by hitting 9-of-10 shots and 4-of-4 free throws. He had six rebounds, too.

Notable teammates: Sergio Rodriguez (NBA), Nando De Colo (NBA), Will Clyburn (Iowa State), Cory Higgins (Colorado), Alec Peters (Valparaiso)

Daequan Cook, Ironi Hai Motors Nes Ziona, Israeli Winner League (Israel)

Stats (Winner League): 16.8 points, 4.3 rebounds, 1.5 assists, 0.9 steals, 0.2 blocks, 39.0 shooting percentage, 36.0 3-point percentage, 82.5 free-throw percentage, 32.0 minutes per game

Season in a nutshell: Don't expect Cook to stop firing shots from beyond the arc any time soon. He shot nearly 100 more 3-pointers than 2-pointers this season as a starting wing on a team that went 15-18 in the Winner League. Given his reliance on shooting, Cook experienced plenty of swings in his production, but he scored at least 20 points eight times in the Winner League and five times in the FIBA Europe Cup.

Game of the year: Cook rained 30 points in 32 minutes in a win against Beer Sheva on Nov. 18. He hit 11-of-17 shots from the field and 6-of-10 3-pointers in the win. Cook also had five rebounds and four assists.

Notable teammates: Gerald Lee (Old Dominion), Chris Dowe (Bellarmine)

Deshaun Thomas, Panathinaikos, EuroLeague (Greece)

Stats (EuroLeague): 10.5 points, 3.8 rebounds, 0.6 assists, 0.6 steals, 0.1 blocks, 48.7 shooting percentage, 35.5 3-point percentage, 68.9 free-throw percentage, 21.9 minutes per game

Season in a nutshell: Thomas, playing for a well-regarded European team, led Panathinaikos in points per game in the Greek League portion of the season. Starting at forward and playing for the team coached by Rick Pitino, Thomas has his team in the semifinals of the Greek League. Thomas' team also won the Greek Cup in February.

Game of the year: In a May 29 win against Peristeri GS, Thomas had 21 points and 10 rebounds. He went 7-of-11 from the field.

Notable teammates: Sean Kilpatrick (Cincinnati), Nick Calathes (Florida), Georgios Papagiannis (NBA), Thanasis Antetokounmpo (NBA), James Gist (Maryland), Keith Langford (Kansas)

Jared Sullinger, Shenzhen Leopards, Chinese Basketball Association (China)

Stats: 27.3 points, 13.0 rebounds, 4.0 assists, 1.5 steals, 1.0 blocks, 54.7 shooting percentage, 40.5 3-point percentage, 77.0 free-throw percentage

Season in a nutshell: Though finding highlights – or, really, any footage – of Sullinger from this season proved more difficult than expected, there's no doubt what you'd find in them: physical domination. He had double-doubles in 13-of-15 games, dropping 30 or more points in six of them.

Game of the year: Sullinger dropped a season-high 39 points in a win on Nov. 16. He went 16-of-25 from the field and pulled down 13 rebounds. Naturally, Sullinger matched that mark by scoring 39 points again the following game.

Notable teammates: Dwight Buycks (Marquette), Kenny Boynton (Florida)

Kam Williams, Sayago, Liga Uruguaya de Basketball (Uruguay)

Stats: 17.7 points, 3.3 rebounds, 2.4 assists, 1.0 steals, 0.1 blocks, 49.6 shooting percentage, 45.3 3-point percentage, 86.7 free-throw percentage, 31.1 minutes per game

Season in a nutshell: In his first season as a professional, Williams thrived by scoring 17.7 points per game, but his team struggled mightily. Sayago mercifully finished 3-23, somehow still avoiding the bottom spot in the conference. Williams was second on the team in scoring among those with at least 10 games played. He provided the bulk of outside scoring, leading his team in 3-pointers made and had the highest percentage of makes from beyond the arc.

Game of the year: Williams had a season-high 32 points in a 22-point loss to Defensor on Nov. 5. He make 13-of-21 shots, including 6-of-10 3-pointers, adding three rebounds, three steals and two assists.

Notable teammates: Duke Crews (Tennessee)

Jon Diebler, Darüşşafaka Basketbol, Basketball Super League (Turkey)

Stats (Euroleague): 4.3 points, 1.3 rebounds, 1.2 assists, 0.4 steals, 0.1 blocks, 35.5 shooting percentage, 36.3 3-point percentage, 92.3 free-throw percentage, 17.8 minutes per game

Season in a nutshell: During the Basketball Super League portion of his team's schedule, Diebler played a larger offensive role, averaging 8.6 points in 23.1 minutes per game. In both Basketball Super League and EuroLeague games, Diebler shot more than double as many 3-pointers as 2-pointers. The shoot-first wing knows his role, and he still plays it well.

Game of the year: Diebler had a season-high 18 points in an eight-point loss to Istanbul BBSK on March 17. He tied a season-high, going 4-of-7 from beyond the arc. Diebler added three rebounds and three assists.

Notable teammates: Jeremy Evans (NBA), Michael Eric (Temple), Toney Douglas (NBA), Markel Brown (Oklahoma State), Ray McCallum Jr. (NBA)

Anthony Lee, Prienu Skycop, Lithuanian Basketball League (Lithuania)

Stats (Lithuania Basketball League): 8.2 points, 2.3 rebounds, 0.4 assists, 0.1 steals, 0.8 blocks, 65.3 shooting percentage, 0.0 3-point percentage, 47.6 free-throw percentage, 13.7 minutes per game

Season in a nutshell: Lee played on three teams in three leagues. He ended the season with two games with Hamilton HB in the Canadian Elite Basketball League, and he played four games for Yeni Mamak in the Turkish Basketball League. Lee played most of his games – nine – with Prienu Skycop in Lithuania. 

Game of the year: In four of Lee's nine games in Lithuania, he scored in double figures, including a 19-point performance against Nevezis on Dec. 22. He made 9-of-10 shots and grabbed five rebounds.

Notable teammates: Malcolm Grant (Miami)

Byron Mullens, Levanga Hokkaido Sapporo, B.League (Japan)

Stats (B.League): 20.8 points, 10.1 rebounds, 1.9 assists, 0.6 steals, 2.3 blocks, 46.6 shooting percentage, 26.3 3-point percentage, 61.3 free-throw percentage, 33.2 minutes per game

Season in a nutshell: After stints on two G League teams during the 2018-19 season, Mullens found a home in Japan, where he quickly became Hokkaido's starting center and most productive player. Since he spent time on other teams, Mullens played only 18 games in Japan. His team, which finished with a league-worst 10-50 record, certainly could have used more of him.

Game of the year: In a 15-point loss to Kawasaki BT, Mullens came one point from his season high, scoring 38 points. He hit 14-of-22 shots from the field and 9-of-13 free throws. Mullens also had 10 rebounds and three assists.

Notable teammates: Marc Trasolini (Santa Clara)

Evan Ravenel, Fukushima Firebonds, B.League (Japan)

Stats (B.League): 21.9 points, 9.0 rebounds, 2.9 assists, 0.9 steals, 0.4 blocks, 53.8 shooting percentage, 33.5 3-point percentage, 80.3 free-throw percentage, 32.4 minutes per game

Season in a nutshell: Though Ravenel never averaged more than 4.9 points per game or shot a single 3-pointer for the Buckeyes, he has developed into a multi-level scorer in Japan. He had 21 double-doubles this season, and he made multiple 3-pointers in 18 games. Fukushima, with Ravenel starting at power forward, went 27-33.

Game of the year: Ravenel had a bunch of stat-stuffing performances, but his near 20-20 game stands out. In a 97-67 win against Bambitious Nara, he had 27 points (12-of-20) and 19 rebounds. Ravenel added six assists.

Notable teammates: Chris Brady (Monmouth), Nyika Williams (Pacific)

Trevor Thompson, Telenet Giants Antwerp, Euromillions Basketball League (Belgium)

Stats (Euromillions League): 4.3 points, 2.5 rebounds, 0.2 assists, 0.0 steals, 0.8 blocks, 55.6 shooting percentage, 0.0 3-point percentage, 64.7 free-throw percentage, 9.2 minutes per game

Season in a nutshell: Still early in his professional career, Thompson came off the bench for Antwerp. He played a smaller role on the team than Jae'Sean Tate, another former Buckeye, and played just 12 games. He also played six games for Antibes in France.

Game of the year: Thompson dropped 15 points in a season-high 28 minutes in a 79-67 win against Leuven on April 6. He made 6-of-13 shots and grabbed six rebounds. 

Notable teammates: Jae'Sean Tate (Ohio State), Paris Lee (Illinois State), Moses Kingsley (Arkansas)

Amedeo Della Valle, AX Armani Exchange Olimpia Milan, Lega Basket Serie A (Italy)

Stats (Series A): 7.4 points, 1.5 rebounds, 1.3 assists, 0.7 steals, 0.2 blocks, 41.6 shooting percentage, 36.4 3-point percentage, 91.2 free-throw percentage, 16.8 minutes per game

Season in a nutshell: The native of Italy has carved out a professional career in his native country after leaving Ohio State. His team, AX Armani, finished with the top record in Series A, going 23-7. However, it was upset and eliminated from the Italian League semifinals on Sunday.

Game of the year: Della Valle tied his season high of 21 points in a 110-91 win against Fiat TO on March 3. He made 8-of-11 shots, including 5-of-8 from beyond the arc. Della Valle added four assists, four steals and four rebounds.

Notable teammates: Dairis Bertāns (NBA), James Nunnally (NBA), Kaleb Tarczewski (Arizona), Curtis Jerrells (Baylor), Mike James (NBA)

William Buford, G.S. Lavrio B.C., Greek Basket League (Greece)

Stats (Greece A1): 10.0 points, 3.3 rebounds, 1.5 assists, 0.7 steals, 0.0 blocks, 47.8 shooting percentage, 43.4 3-point percentage, 86.4 free-throw percentage, 22.6 minutes per game

Season in a nutshell: Coming off the bench, Buford had steady performances, never scoring more than 17 points, but scoring at least 15 in five of 15 games. His team struggled, however, going 8-18 in the Greek Basket League.

Game of the year: Buford had 15 points in a one-point loss to Kymis on April 20. He made 6-of-11 shots and grabbed six rebounds.

Notable teammates: Doron Lamb (Kentucky), A.J. English (Iona), Jeff Withey (Kansas)

Zisis Sarikopoulos, Tsmoki-Minsk, Belarus Premier League (Belarus)

Stats (VTB United League): 10.1 points, 6.7 rebounds, 1.2 assists, 0.8 steals, 0.8 blocks, 61.4 shooting percentage, 0.0 3-point percentage, 64.2 free-throw percentage, 24.2 minutes per game

Season in a nutshell: Starting at center, Sarikopoulos played his first professional season for a team not based in Greece. He had consistent minutes, giving him opportunities for six double-doubles.

Game of the year: Sarikopoulos had a season-high 20 points (9-of-10) in 19 minutes in a 30-point win against Grodno-93 on April 30. He also grabbed 10 rebounds.

Notable teammates: Brion Rush (Grambling State)

Lenzelle Smith Jr., Hapoel Eilat, Israeli Winner League (Israel) 

Stats (Winner League): 12.3 points, 3.8 rebounds, 5.6 assists, 1.6 steals, 0.1 blocks, 45.9 shooting percentage, 30.5 3-point percentage, 73.3 free-throw percentage, 32.5 minutes per game

Season in a nutshell: Though Smith played just 15 games in Israel, he led his team in minutes per game. Eliat went on a seven-game winning streak in the middle of his stint with the team and finished with a 22-11 record in the Winner League. Smith had a season-high of 26 points.

Game of the year: Smith nearly pulled off a triple-double in a 99-83 win against H.Jerusalem on Nov. 17. He had 16 points, nine rebounds and nine assists. 

Notable teammates: JP Tokoto (North Carolina), Elijah Bryant (BYU), David Cohn (William & Mary)

Ron Lewis, Fos Provence Basket, Jeep ELITE ProA (France)

Stats (Jeep ELITE ProA): 15.3 points, 3.5 rebounds, 3.4 assists, 1.1 steals, 0.1 blocks, 41.0 shooting percentage, 37.6 3-point percentage, 70.8 free-throw percentage, 31.5 minutes per game

Season in a nutshell: Though his team struggled with a 9-25 record, Lewis played well in the starting five at 34 years old. On a team of strong outside shooters, he took more long-range attempts than anyone on his team and led Fos Provence Basket in points.

Game of the year: Lewis hit 5-of-10 3-pointers en route to scoring 24 points in a 90-81 win against Levallois on Nov. 23. He added five rebounds and four assists.

Notable teammates: Tyler Roberson (Syracuse), Malik Hairston (Oregon), Jarvis Varnado (Mississippi State), Marcus Dove (Oklahoma State), Tariq Kirksay (Iona)

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