There is life after college basketball for those who aren’t quite good enough to reach the NBA.
For instance, former Iowa standout Greg Brunner has carved out a very nice career for himself in Italy and has also played in Israel.
Knowing Cole was playing pro ball in Keflavik, Iceland, I was curious what life was like for him there and how the basketball was going. So I messaged him, and he sent the reply that follows. Much thanks to Jarryd for taking the time to do it.
Iceland wasn’t the first choice on my list of places to be. Teams in Switzerland and Germany were interested in me as well but knew of my knee trouble in the past and didn’t seem to want to take the risk, which is understandable. Taking a risk on a guy with a bum knee who didn’t have outstanding numbers in college would be a red flag to almost anybody. But not Iceland.
Iceland is a great league to use as a platform to launch into bigger and better places to play. Here, I get to play great minutes and showcase all the ability that I have, which I’ve been doing pretty well at averaging a little under 20 pts and 10 rebounds a game.
We’ve played quite a few games so far. I’d guess somewhere in the high 20′s. We’ve played 16 regular season games. We’ll end up playing 22 when it’s all said and done. 12 teams in this league and we play everyone twice. But we’ve also played in a couple in-season tournaments. The first one, we came in 2nd place and there were 4 rounds. This last one we came in 1st place and there were 6 rounds. However the stats acquired during league play are the only ones that count. But the tournaments are good for team rivalries and things of that sort.
I’m enjoying the season a lot. The play is a little different than the Big Ten and probably American basketball as a whole, but I’ve gotten used to it. There’s some things they allow here that isn’t allowed in the states and vice versa. You just gotta feel it out and see what works and what doesn’t. I’ve gotten it down pretty well now I think.
One thing I’ve noticed here is that it’s really windy and really snowy/rainy. When the sun is out, there’s always a rainbow. When it’s cold, there’s always a blizzard. You’ll never have to guess what it will be like outside. The temperature doesn’t lie. Good thing about it is the temperatures stay fairly regulated. It would be 34 degrees at 8am and 34 degrees maybe 33 at 10pm. Temperatures don’t raise and drop often in a 24-hour day.
The water and scenery is beautiful out here. There’s lots to see. Some ancient Viking things. One night we had a party to celebrate Icelandic culture and heritage and back in the day they used to eat rotten shark and sheep head and sheep testicles, so there was a buffet line of all that stuff there and it was horrible, but I tried it all. I think the natives took me in after they saw me try it all. They were impressed. They told me I could be a citizen now!
That’s about it, man. We have about 6 more games left. Earliest is this Friday. And the playoffs will start early April. Hoping to win that as well.
Through 16 games, Cole is averaging 19.4 points and 9.9 rebounds for Keflavik, which is 11-5. He had 35 points and 16 rebounds in his team’s 95-83 Feb. 13 win over KR Reykjavik. Each team in the Icelandic League is allowed to have two Americans.
This video was unearthed by Black Heart Gold Pants. It’s tremendous.