The graduating seniors of the Stony Brook men’s basketball team may not have achieved the NCAA Tournament berth they hoped for, but a couple of them have found their childhood dreams realized in spite of this. Guard Dave Coley and forward Eric McAlister have both signed pro contracts to play overseas during the past month, Coley in Slovakia and McAlister in Denmark.
Coley has signed with BK Iskra Svit, which competes in Slovak Extraliga, Slovakia’s top basketball league. The news was first broken by Coley’s former head coach Steve Pikiell in a tweet congratulating Coley on his deal. Coley later confirmed to me that he had indeed signed the contract.
“My agent and I took our time and weighed out what’s best for right now in taking the next step in my pro career,” Coley said over text message. “I have a lot of trust and faith that he would find the best possible solution for me.”
Coley will be playing alongside fellow U.S. imports Travis Wallace from Florida A&M and A’Darius Pegues from Campbellsville University.
“First and foremost I have to thank god for allowing this to happen,” Coley said. “I felt great and blessed that I actually have a chance to play professional basketball, especially because it’s something I love to do.”
Iskra Svit finished third in the nine-team league last season, with a record of 20-12.
McAlister signed with Denmark’s Team FOG Naestved, who finished 12-15 in the 2013-14 season.
In a release on the team’s official site, Naestved’s head coach Bogdan Karaicic said of McAlister, “I have had a good [talk] with Eric, and we have been in [talks] with his coach from college, who gave a very good recommendation. He is a hard worker and very dedicated person.”
Alongside the piece was a promotional video featuring some of McAlister’s highlights during his time in a Seawolves jersey.
“My agent kind of took care of everything. It actually went pretty quickly. They spoke to me, they spoke to coach Pikiell, they dealt with my agent, and it felt like the right place for me,” McAlister told me in a phone conversation. “It felt great. It was definitely the goal for a long time and it’s nice to finally achieve it.”
Asked of any lasting pieces of advice from his coaching staff or teammates at Stony Brook, McAlister said “Especially with the coaches, everything that they’ve taught me since I’ve gotten here will definitely stay with me as I go over there. You know they did a great job with the team as well as individual players. As for my teammates, the confidence that they gave me especially this past year will definitely carry over.”
However, one thing his Seawolves family has not been able to help out with has been the language barrier, with McAlister noting, “Yeah I’m trying, but [learning Danish is] a lot more difficult than I thought. But I’m working on it.”
One victory at a time.