LARAMIE, Wyo. — Josh Adams’ basketball career nearly came to a premature end a year ago, when he suffered serious injuries in an August car accident.
This summer, his time in the NBA Summer League came to an early end. This time, however, it was for a good reason.
“Unfortunately, I guess not so unfortunately, we shut it down early due to the signing of the contract,” said Adams, who played with the Dallas Mavericks in the Las Vegas Summer League. “It was tough for me to kind of sit there, especially after I played OK the first game and was picking it up the second game. I felt like I could’ve had a chance to impress some more people, but I impressed the right people.”
Adams, the owner of Wyoming men’s basketball’s single-season scoring record, signed a two-year deal with the Turkish team Anadolu Efes, it was announced last week.
He played in two games with the Mavericks in Summer League, posting a combined stat line of 11 points on four-of-eight shooting with an assist and two rebounds in 34 minutes.
“They saw what they needed to see and were able to offer me on the spot, so I’m very happy with how it went,” Adams said of his new team.
Last summer, Adams played with the Denver Nuggets in Summer League after going undrafted and did enough to earn a two-year contract from Avtodor Saratov of the Russian VTB United League.
“That was my first time overseas,” Adams told the Casper Star-Tribune (http://bit.ly/2uHFFH0). “So going to a place like Russia was a bit of a shell-shocker. Anyone that’s spent any time over there will tell you that Russia is not Europe. Eastern Europe is a whole different world. It was a culture shock. It was a lot different. The location was a challenge for me, but I’m blessed to do what I love, travel the world and get paid for it, so I can’t complain too much.”
Before he got to Russia, however, Adams was injured in the car accident. He recovered in time to play 13 games with Avtodor Saratov at the end of his first professional season, averaging 12.1 points per game.
“It was huge,” Adams said. “Especially for not just my own confidence but to kind of instill (confidence in) all the leagues around the world, whether it’s NBA, Euro League or any other team over there, kind of re-instill that confidence.”
Despite the accident, Adams feels he is back to where he had been physically, even outperforming some of his previous vertical measurements before going to Russia.
His new league is another step forward.
“I made the jump from Champions League to EuroLeague, and EuroLeague, as we all know, is the second best league in the world, right behind the NBA,” Adams said.
Anadolu Efes also plays in the Turkish Super League, where it has won a record 13 championships.
Adams plans to move to Istanbul next month, undergoing a physical Aug. 18 and beginning practice Aug. 21.
His time with the Mavericks allowed him to reunite with his former Wyoming head coach, Larry Shyatt, who is now a Dallas assistant.
“It was great,” Adams said. “I think our relationship is a little bit different now. He’s said it before, and if you were to call him, he’d tell you the same thing I’m about to say. He was a lot more intense at Wyoming, being a head coach, and I think our relationship now was built a lot more on respect and the fact that we’ve known each other for a long time, so we know what each other’s about, so I think there’s a very strong, unspoken bond.”
Wyoming’s 2016-17 season was its first since the departure of Adams and Shyatt. The Cowboys went on to finish seventh in the Mountain West under first-year head coach Allen Edwards before ultimately winning the College Basketball Invitational.
“What was really special for me was I know early on Coach Edwards was taking a lot of heat and a lot of the fans were very public about their disappointment (in the regular season),” Adams said. “I kind of took offense to that, because it’s his first season. Coach Allen has done more for me and more for that program than people realize.
“So I took a little offense to it, and to see him come back and win the CBI championship, it was kind of like a ‘You showed them’ moment. I’m happy he did it. He’s a great coach.”
As the Cowboys move into the second year of the Edwards era, Adams is ready to show what he’s got in Turkey — especially since he felt both his time in Russia and with the Mavericks ended just as he was heating up.
“Obviously I showed people what they needed to see and have a great opportunity ahead of me now,” he said.
Information from: Casper (Wyo.) Star-Tribune, http://www.trib.com