Ofori joins Spanish side
author: John Loeppky | editor-in-chief
Sweet uni / ederación Vasca de Baloncesto Euskal Saskibaloi Federazioa – Provided by Brian Ofori
Former Cougar turns pro
Former University of Regina basketball player Brian Ofori’s sporting travels have taken him to some far away lands. First, there was his time in Montreal, then a spell at the University of Prince Edward Island, his Cougar days, of course, and now a season in Spain playing for Juaristi Iraurgi Saski Baloia in Azpeitia – in an area of the Basque country.
Proving that Cougar connections run deeply, Alex Igual facilitated the former Cougar forward’s movement to Spain Ofori signed his contract in early summer with Pablo Miguel of Helping Ballers, before committing to his current club in August and then signing his official contract in mid-September. LEB Silver, the third division is where he is currently plying his trade and the biggest barrier for most newcomers to European leagues, using a language other than English at work and home every day, is less daunting than he had presumed it would be.
“It’s going a lot easier than I had anticipated, to be totally honest with you. I had taken some Spanish classes at the U of R in my first and second year.”
Basketball, however, is a universal language, which is going to be a requirement for a roster of new athletes hailing from all areas of the globe.
“In my household alone we have one guy from Australia, one guy from the United States, and then me, a Canadian. We have another dude from the U.S., we have a player from Russia, and then the rest of them are from Spain.”
“I’m slowly starting to adjust. It took me a while, first of all, just to get over my jetlag. The air here is different, which is kind of weird to say, but it is… I’m in the mountains out here in the Basque country.”
“Right now I’m just playing my role, doing what I’ve got to do.”
Ofori said his role, not unlike his job playing for the Cougars, is to “Defend, rebound the ball, if I have the opportunity to score, I’ll definitely take it.”
“All the teams we’ve played so far, they all have a similar play[ing style] where there’s no isolation play it’s more, move the ball, move the ball, take the best possible shot, the best opportunity.”
Ofori said that one of his best takeaways from his time in U SPORTS was that of time management.
“[It] certainly helped me in terms of organizing my time. Time management is huge, you’ve got to be able to do that throughout university, especially more so as a student-athlete.”
“As a student athlete, I had two or three jobs, I still had to go to practice, still had games, still had classes, so to have the ability to manage my time in a way that I can get everything done and still have time… that was definitely the biggest attribute.”
Ofori said his goal is to travel while he still has the opportunity as a professional athlete.
“If I play this season out in Spain, we’ll travel across Spain. Then, hopefully over the summer there’s a couple of leagues out in South America or in the Caribbean, so hopefully I can get down to the Dominican or Ecuador and get to play for a few months over the summer and then next season, hopefully, [if] I do good enough this season, I can go sign in Italy, for example. Then, so on and so forth throughout my career, just travel the world and see what’s out there, learn different cultures, taste different foods, meet different people, different experiences, and see what’s out there.”