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Your Complete Guide to Playing Pro Basketball Overseas

He’s helped more than 500 players sign pro contracts overseas. Now he’s revealing his secrets.

Our complete guide on how to play pro basketball overseas

If you’re a high school or college basketball player looking to take your game to the next level, the NBA isn’t the only path. Playing professional basketball overseas has proven to be a viable option for many high-level athletes.

But how do you get there? And what are the requirements?

For ballplayers, figuring out how to land a pro contract can be confusing. Luckily, I found an expert to help demystify the process.

Justin Rubin is the founder of Pro Connect, and since 2018 he’s helped more than 500 players sign professional contracts in over 30 countries.

In that time, he’s built an extensive network of coaches, agents, GMs, and teams across the globe. He’s seen and done it all, and now he’s revealing the truth behind the process.

Here’s his definitive guide to playing pro basketball overseas.

Table of Contents

How hard is it to play overseas basketball?

A common misconception about playing overseas basketball is that everyone can do it. But it’s extremely hard to land a contract overseas!

There are thousands of players across NCAA D1, D2, D3, JUCO, and NAIA schools with a limited number of professional contracts being offered to rookies each year. In fact, most overseas teams only have a few open spots for American players each season, making it even harder to land a contract.

Players coming out of more reputable Division 1 schools are always more marketable, making it easier to land a contract as a rookie. But I have seen and helped multiple players who played D2, D3, JUCO, and NAIA land contracts overseas but they are generally in lower-level, lower-paying leagues to start out.

Overseas basketball is not nearly as lucrative as the NBA and only a small percentage of players will land high-paying jobs.

What are the requirements to play basketball overseas?

You need to have college experience (film and stats) and a track record to show these overseas teams. If you played college basketball but don’t have any film or stats to show, your chances of landing a contract overseas are unlikely.

Playing D1 will always be more marketable than D2, D3, JUCO, and NAIA. Players often ask me if they can skip college and play overseas. The answer is simply NO – you need to play college basketball to even have a chance at pursuing a professional career.

Next, you need to make sure you have your passport. You will need that passport to travel and, on many occasions, to register for an international team or league. Take care of your passport before you start making plans to go abroad.

Check if you qualify for dual citizenship in another country. Most leagues overseas only allow a few Americans (Imports) on the roster, making it harder to land a contract.

If your parents were born in another country or have their citizenship in another country, you are eligible to receive yours as well. You could also be eligible for another citizenship if your grandparents were born in another country.

Do some research on your family’s historical background as it will greatly increase your chances of landing a contract. Ancestry.com is a great way to find out this type of info. The results could surprise you!

If you do receive dual citizenship, you would be considered a native of that country making it easier to land a contract since overseas teams have more natives than imports (Americans) on their roster.

What should I include on my resume?

Every college graduate needs a resume to land a corporate job. It shows their skills and experience, plus employers can view a resume to see if the candidate qualifies for the job. A basketball resume is no different, you need to be able to show your stats from college, accomplishments, film, and references from college coaches.

Make sure you stay away from “fluff” on your resume. What is fluff? Adding extra information on your resume that’s not needed to make it look longer. Teams don’t want to hear your whole life story and they don’t want to read paragraphs on why you are better than any other player they will be evaluating.

All too often players include personal stories. This may sound cruel, but this is a business and coaches don’t want to review a resume with a long story. They want you to perform and help their team succeed.

If you do not have a resume to show overseas teams, they will not give you the time of day. If you don’t know how to write a resume or need to update your own @pro_connect offers a resume design and writing service. Make sure to contact us if you need a professional resume.

What about my highlight tape?

When putting together a highlight tape, make sure it’s not just 5 minutes of you dunking the ball. That’s not what basketball is about.

Also, you need to take into consideration that overseas basketball is way different than American basketball. Teams put an emphasis on defense, rebounding, hustling, and most importantly being a team player and getting your teammates involved. Overseas basketball is all about being fundamentally sound and playing as a team.

Highlight tapes should be 2-3 minutes max. Anything past that coaches simply won’t watch and may not even look at your film if they see it’s 10 minutes long.

It’s also critical that you have 2 full games ready to show these teams. A 2-3 minute highlight tape will always highlight your strengths, but a full game showcases your entire game both on offense and defense. How do you perform from start to finish?

How do you find an agent?

The most important part about landing a contract overseas is working with someone who has access to job openings in these leagues overseas.

Finding a FIBA agent is a critical component in landing a job because FIBA agents have the connections needed to land your first contract. If you are a standout D1 player that doesn’t have a chance of playing in the NBA, FIBA agents will come running to you. If you are not, you will have to network on your own and reach out to FIBA agents to see if they have any interest in representing you. A great way to find certified FIBA agents is to search their database. From there you can try and get in touch with an agent through social media platforms such as LinkedIn, Facebook, and Instagram.

A big problem I see in the overseas basketball community is players rushing to sign with FIBA agents without doing research on the agent or understanding the signing process.

There are great agents out there with a ton of connections but there are also bad agents with little to no connections. Some agents work for the player’s best interest while others work for their own best interests and care solely about making money.

All too often players sign with an agent, and the agent can’t find the player a job because they have no connections, leaving the player with a gap on their resume and virtually ending their overseas career before it even starts.

Agents can take advantage of players who are uneducated or misinformed about overseas basketball so it’s important to ask questions and do your research. (That’s why you’re reading this!)

We’ve also seen players have 10+ year careers overseas without ever having an agent. How does one do this? Network, network, and network some more. It is not easy working for yourself to formulate overseas relationships, but it is not impossible.

Once you make a name for yourself, overseas teams will find you. Do we suggest this route? No. But it is not impossible to play overseas representing yourself. Also, when you sign with an agent they get 10% of your contract during the duration of the season. By representing yourself, you keep that 10% you would normally give up by being represented by an agent.

How can I find opportunities to play basketball overseas?

This is where your agent/agency comes into play.

If they are a good, reputable agent they will already have pre-existing relationships with teams, coaches, scouts, and GMs in different markets around the world. They also reach out to teams constantly and formulate new relationships to find job openings and ultimately position you to land a contract.

Players can also network on social media to find job openings by researching overseas teams and finding the head coach, assistants, and general manager. A lot of teams tend to go through an agent when looking for a player, but some teams will respond if you sell yourself and prove you are a good fit for the job!

Eurobasket.com is a great way to find teams and leagues from different countries around the world. Some teams will even list the name of the coaches on staff so you can use that info and try to contact them through social platforms such as LinkedIn, Facebook, and Instagram. You may send 50 messages and get 48 no replies but those 2 replies can be the difference maker in you landing a contract!

Another way to find opportunities is to follow @pro_connect on Instagram, we post job openings from all over the world and if you sign up for our program, we can place you and help you start or continue your pro career overseas.

How do you try out for an overseas basketball team?

It’s rare for teams to host overseas tryouts. They evaluate you on your film, resume, and your college experience. I have seen some players pay their way overseas and work out for a team to earn a contract, but it is very uncommon.

Sometimes a team will fly out a player and have them participate in training camp or a tryout format to watch them compete for a contract, but that is also not the norm.

Another way to “try out” is to sign up for a tour which requires players to invest money to compete for a contract. What is a tour? Players pay to travel to a country and compete for weeks at a time against other pros already playing in that country. During a tour, you play in front of teams, coaches, scouts, and GMs in that market.

If you play well these teams can evaluate you in person and offer you a contract if they think you are a good fit.

How can I prepare myself mentally and physically to play basketball overseas?

Preparing for the physical aspect of overseas basketball is easier than preparing for the mental aspect.

Most players coming out of college are already in good shape so it’s important to constantly keep up your agility and endurance leading up to your first contract. Some coaches will want to practice two times a day for multiple hours on top of strength training so make sure you are in the best shape of your life.

When doing drills, make sure everything is at game speed! This will make it easier for you to adjust the pace of the overseas game because when you train like you would play in a game everything will come naturally.

Preparing for the mental aspect of overseas basketball can be difficult for many rookies but here are a few tips that can help:

  • Learn the culture: Basketball culture can vary greatly from country to country. Take time to research the country where you’ll be playing and try to learn as much about the culture as possible. Understanding the local customs, language, and traditions can help you adapt more easily.
  • Be mentally prepared: Playing basketball overseas can be challenging, both physically and mentally. You need to be mentally prepared to deal with the challenges that come with living in a foreign country, such as homesickness, cultural differences, and language barriers. It’s essential to have a positive mindset and a strong work ethic to overcome any obstacles.
  • Be adaptable: Be ready to adapt to different playing styles, rules, and coaching methods. Be open to learning new techniques and strategies that may be different from what you’re used to. This will help you become a better player and teammate.
  • Take care of yourself: Living overseas can be stressful, so it’s essential to take care of yourself physically and mentally. Make sure you get enough rest, eat a healthy diet, and stay hydrated. Practice self-care activities like meditation or yoga to reduce stress and anxiety.

What are the living conditions like for basketball players overseas?

Living conditions for players overseas can vary widely depending on the location, level of competition, and the team’s budget.

In some cases, players may live in comfortable apartments or houses with different amenities. However, in other cases, players may have to share cramped living quarters or live in substandard housing. It’s extremely important you do your research on where you’ll be staying because that will be your new home for the next 8-10 months.

What are the financial considerations when playing basketball overseas – such as salary & living expenses?

Salaries vary widely depending on the location, level of competition, and the team’s budget.

Some of the top players in Europe make millions while some entry-level players are making less than $1,000 USD per month.

On top of a salary, teams will generally cover living expenses such as rent, wifi, and meals, along with flights and health insurance. Lower-budget teams do not always cover every expense so it’s common to see players paying for a plane ticket or meals.

What are the best overseas basketball leagues to play in?

The best overseas basketball leagues outside of the NBA (not in order) are as follows:

  • Euroleague
  • Eurocup
  • Champions League
  • Australian NBL
  • Greek A1 League
  • France LNB Pro A
  • Adriatic League
  • Italian Lega Basket Serie A
  • German BBL
  • Russian VTB League
  • Turkish BSL
  • Spain ACB

What’s next?

If you’re looking to take your talents overseas, consider reaching out to Pro Connect.

Our platform is catered to undervalued or overlooked players who lack the resources needed to play overseas or end up in messy situations with their FIBA agents leaving them without a job.

Our network consists of coaches, scouts, teams, and GMs in overseas 30+ countries internationally. Players can sign up to utilize our platform which gives them access to all international job openings that come our way.

Once a player signs up, they’ll receive a personal profile which will be submitted with their film and resume for every job opening that meets their skill level and position. We are here to disrupt the agency model that a ton of players seem to struggle with. The process is transparent which is why we have signed over 500 players through our platform since its inception in 2018 and are considered the most reputable service for players looking to sign a contract.

Editor’s Note: Massive thank you to Justin Rubin for sharing his hard-earned wisdom with us! This information is immensely valuable to any player exploring the possibility of playing overseas basketball.

Have a question? Drop a comment below or explore more no-nonsense tips in our Athlete Hub.

Written By

Division III baseball alum (McDaniel College) and founder of Joker Mag. Sharing underdog stories to inspire the next generation.

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