Nate Adrian Signs To Play Professionally in France
The West Virginia kid is going to have to learn some French – Nate Adrian is headed to Bordeaux, France, to play professional basketball.
The former Mountaineer forward recently signed a contract with JSA Bordeaux.
He barely has had time to pack his bags, as he flies out Saturday for the city of a 249,000 people in southwest France, which is just a few miles from the Bay of Biscay and less than 100 miles from the border of Spain. It is much further from Paris, as it’s nearly 600 miles south of French capital.
Adrian’s new team is slated to begin practice on Monday, and its regular season will run from mid-September through mid-March. At that point the playoffs begin, and those could last another two or three months. There is a three-week break at Christmas midway through the season, so Nate will have a chance to come home for a short vacation at that time.
This is a big move for the 24-year-old who has never called anywhere but West Virginia home. Most of his life he’s been a resident of the Morgantown area, though his family did live in Fort Ashby when he was very young. Adrian will likely be the only American on the Bordeaux team, which is comprised mainly of French nationals.
“I’m really excited, but also a little anxious,” admitted Adrian. “This is a new whole new experience for me, but I’m really excited about the opportunity.”
The 6-foot-9, 245-pound forward was the consummate do-it-all player for the WVU after coming over from Morgantown High. He played in every one of West Virginia’s 140 games during his four-year career (2014-17), starting 75 of them. A fan favorite, he scored 792 career points, grabbed 516 rebounds, handed out 198 assists, came away with 134 steals and had as many floorburns as any Mountaineer. His WVU squads earned NCAA Tournament berths in each of his final three seasons, winning at least 25 games in all three, and advancing to the Sweet 16 twice – 2015 and 2017.
As a senior, his final game for WVU came in a heartbreaking 61-58 loss to eventual national runner-up Gonzaga.
For a while, that looked like it would be Adrian’s last competitive game. He had retained an agent and had some overseas pro interest after his college career concluded, but was suffering from a shoulder injury he had sustained late in the 2016-17 season that made shooting difficult and painful.
And more importantly, his father, Kevin, was dealing with some very serious medical issues at the time.
Thus Adrian put basketball on the backburner, dabbling in various business endeavors in Morgantown. He also worked as a color commentator on some of West Virginia’s TV broadcasts.
Over the past two years, though, his shoulder got better and his father’s health improved.
Adrian remained active after his college days, often working out at the WVU Basketball Practice Facility with an assortment of current and former players.
Then his workouts got more serious this summer, as he and some other Mountaineer alums joined up on the “Best Virginia” team for The Basketball Tournament.
“I started to get the itch again getting ready for the TBT,” noted Adrian. “I felt pretty good and decided to give it a try.”
He put in a call to his agent, who made some contacts. Bordeaux offered him a contract, and within the space of a couple of weeks, he was packing his suitcases for whole new experience.
Bordeaux is a member of France’s NM1 league and last year accumulated a record of 24-17. The NM1 season is split into two stages, and Bordeaux was third in Group B in stage one (15-9) and fourth overall in stage two (9-8). Then in the playoffs, Bordeaux advanced to the quarterfinals before falling to Boulogne. Three of Bordeaux’s five starters from last year’s club are slated to return this season.
“I don’t know any French,” Adrian admitted with a chuckle. “I’m going to have to learn in a hurry.”