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Neitzel signs deal with German team

July 31, 2008

Neitzel

Former MSU guard Drew Neitzel wanted the opportunity to be a starter on a professional basketball team.

That’s why he chose to sign a one-year deal with the Artland Dragons of the German Professional Basketball League.

Neitzel said he received offers from bigger teams in Germany, along with teams in France and Italy, but the other teams didn’t offer Neitzel an opportunity to start immediately.

“I was receiving offers from big-name teams but I would have been a backup point guard and that’s not how I wanted to start out my career,” Neitzel said.

“One of the main reasons I decided to go (to Germany) was because I will get a lot of minutes and a lot of experience. The exposure I get will help get my name out there for the future.”

Neitzel’s agent, Doug Neustadt, said Neitzel only signed a one-year deal with the team because he plans on returning to the U.S. again next summer to vie for a spot on an NBA roster.

“It’s one of his plans to have a good year in Europe and try the NBA again next season,” Neustadt said.

“He had offers outside of Germany but he thought this was the best overall situation.”

Neitzel played in all five games for the Minnesota Timberwolves during the NBA Summer League and impressed despite receiving limited playing time.

Neitzel said the Timberwolves wanted him to come to their training camp, but that the team couldn’t guarantee him a spot on their roster.

“The Timberwolves re-signed their backup point-guard and there were going to be other guys trying out for the last spot at camp,” he said.

“It was going to be risky, and I didn’t want to take that chance and end up getting cut and not having a job.”

Typically, European teams fill up their rosters by August which put pressure on Neitzel to make a decision because the NBA doesn’t start finalizing rosters until September.

If he would have been cut from an NBA team, Neitzel said it likely would have been too late for him to play in Europe.

This season, the Artland Dragons qualified for the ULEB Cup, which will allow Neitzel to travel and compete against some of the best European teams.

“I’m going to get to see some other countries and see some good competition,” Neitzel said.

“It should be a really good experience.”

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