You might wonder, where have some NCAA Basketball stars disappeared after their college careers.

The truth is many of them couldn't make it to the NBA and left to play overseas.

BasketNews will be looking at NCAA stars who continued their careers in Europe.

Jimmer Fredette

Credit BNS

When President Barrack Obama has this to say about you: "Best scorer in the country, great talent", you know you're having a great college career, to say the least.

In his 4 years at BYU, Jimmer Fredette broke an insane amount of records and became a national phenomenon. While his NBA career didn't pan out, he re-established himself as a star in China, reminding everyone of Jimmermania with his multiple 70+ point performances.

Fredette eventually landed in Europe, joining the Greece powerhouse Panathinaikos Athens for a year and averaging 13 points in the EuroLeague.

Fredette did not find the smaller role appealing and returned to being a star in China the following season, where he continues to play to this day.

Alex Poythress

Credit Nikola Krstic/MB Media/Getty Images

The former Kentucky Wildcat Alex Poythress played with such current NBA stars as Karl-Anthony Towns, Devin Booker, and Jamal Murray. Still, despite his solid freshman and senior seasons, the forward did not impress the NBA teams enough in 2016 and went undrafted.

After a few years of trying to make it to the NBA, Poythress decided to follow in Fredette's footsteps and joined the Chinese Basketball Association.

After a year in China, Poythress moved to Europe, where he has established himself as a desirable asset for many EuroLeague teams.

Kyle Wiltjer

Credit FIBA Media

After winning the NCAA Championship in 2012 as a Freshman but not getting enough playing time, Kyle Wiltjer joined Gonzaga, where he instantly became the team's go-to scoring option.

After graduation, Wiltjer hasn't established himself as yet another NBA Canadian and instead decided to move on to Europe.

So far, the EuroLeague has proved to be too great of a challenge for Wiltjer, where in his debut season, he put up a little under 5 points a game.

Currently, he is playing in the Spanish ACB league averaging 10 points and enjoying the great weather of Tenerife.

Peyton Siva

Credit Vangelis Stolis

While Peyton Siva's college stat line doesn't stand out (8.4 PTS, 2.4 REB, 4.7 AST), the playmaker became an essential piece of the Louisville Cardinals during his stay there until 2013, collecting two Big East Tournament MVP trophies and helping the Cardinals win the championship.

Late 2nd-round draft pick Siva tried himself out in the NBA but found much more success on the other side of the Atlantic.

The 31-year-old guard settled in Germany, becoming the main playmaker of German powerhouse ALBA Berlin.

He took a short detour to New Zealand in 2021 but returned to the top European competition to represent Panathinaikos Athens at the end of the season.

Trajan Langdon

Credit RIA Novosti-Scanpix

Let's roll it back to the 90s when Trajan Langdon was a college star at Duke, averaging 14.5 points per game.

Langdon was one of the top prospects of the 1999 NBA Draft, getting picked 11th overall by the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Unfortunately, the first Alaskan NBA player could not adapt to the league and continued his journey abroad. Most notably with CSKA Moscow, where during his 5-year stint, he collected 2 EuroLeague championships and a Final Four MVP award.

Currently, the American works in the Pelicans' front office as the General Manager.

Aaron Harrison

Credit EuroLeague Basketball

Harrison, together with his twin brother Andrew were teammates with Poythress at Kentucky. Perhaps it was the fact they became the first twins to ever play for Kentucky, and that's why the pair generated quite a bit of public interest.

As we saw later, the hype was only between the fans but not the NBA scouts. Both Harrison brothers went undrafted, and shortly after a few attempts to get to the league through the G-League, Aaron decided to play overseas, joining Galatasaray Istanbul for two years.

So far, the EuroLeague proved to be too great of a challenge for him since his stats at Olympiacos Piraeus took a major dip (6.5 PTS), so he returned to the EuroCup and was playing well again in Turkey (16.0 PTS).

Nick Calathes

Credit ZUMAPRESS.com-Scanpix

The Europeans who have been following the EuroLeague might be surprised to see Nick Calathes on this list.

He has become a true star in Europe and was the face of Panathinaikos for many years before he joined Barcelona in 2020.

Many forget that the Greek-American had two great years with Florida Gators, racking up 16 points and 6 assists per game. He led Billy Donovan's coached team in scoring while leading the conference in assists per game.

Calathes vision and ability to create for others worked much better in Europe than in the NBA, so the former Gator became one of the best point guards in the EuroLeague leading the league in all-time assists.

Luke Maye

Credit FIBA

Luke Maye's career at North Carolina is probably best remembered by his game-winning triple against Kentucky.

He was far from being the most important on that team, but without his 3-point shot at the buzzer, UNC wouldn't have moved on to the Final 4 and later won the championship.

Maye had really strong Junior and Senior seasons following the victory in 2017 (9.9 PTS, 6.7 REB) but went undrafted in 2019.

For the last few years, he's been trying his luck in Europe and, as of 2022, finished his 2nd year in a Spanish ACB club BAXI Manresa, reaching the final of the Basketball Champions League.

Derrick Williams

Credit Vangelis Stolis

Let's talk about the No. 2 pick in the 2011 NBA Draft - Derrick Williams. Arguably, Williams had a decent stint in the NBA, obviously not fulfilling the expectations but playing 428 games in the league.

The reason Williams got drafted so high was his 2 years at Arizona, where he averaged 18 points and 8 rebounds, but perhaps his biggest upside was the speed and skill for a 6'8 240lbs forward. He even drew comparisons to LeBron James.

As we know today, Williams could not break out in the Timberwolves, bouncing around the league for a few years and eventually ending up in Europe.

Derrick Williams' athleticism and style of play worked well in the EuroLeague, where he has been a solid piece for Valencia, Bayern Munich, and most recently Maccabi Tel Aviv.

Ed Cota

Credit Getty Images-Craig Jones

There's a reason why LeBron chose Ed Cota as his favorite UNC point guard of all time.

Cota became the first player ever to reach 1000 points, 1000 assists, and 500 rebounds. He also led the NCAA in assists for 4 seasons in a row, finishing 3rd overall in NCAA all-time assists.

After going undrafted, Cota moved abroad and played there for 8 years, most notably with Zalgiris Kaunas in the EuroLeague.

Similar to his college days playing for Tar Heels, the point guard became a fan favorite in Kaunas and left a mark on the team's history (10.0 PTS, 3.5 REB, 4.8 AST).

Full story:

Show comments
Thank you for reporting a comment

Add comment

We have the right to remove comments which are offensive, contains abusive language, or violates other rules of the website