Through hard work and a supportive inner circle, Samme Givens is set to embark on what he called a “once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”
The former Drexel big man signed recently to pay with Aris Leeuwarden, a pro club in Holland.
“I’m very excited,” Givens told Philahoops on Thursday. “This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to play overseas. I’m just happy to further my career playing basketball, doing something I love to do and getting paid for it. I’m happy and blessed.”
Givens left his mark on Drexel, leaving as one of just three Dragons to finish with more than 1,000 career points and rebounds. He also set a determined example that forever will leave his mark on the campus at 33rd and Market Street.
An undersized big man at 6-foot-5, Givens wasn’t going to attract the attention of NBA scouts. But Aris Leeuwarden representatives saw the same thing in Givens that Dragons fans – and Drexel opponents – witnessed night in and night out at the DAC.
“I went to a camp in Las Vegas and they came and talked to me,” said Givens, who averaged 11.6 points and 7.9 rebounds last season. “They liked how I play, my style of play. They weren’t scared by my height because I play big.”
Givens will leave for Holland on Aug. 25 to get ready for the preseason, which begins Sept. 8.
Aris Leeuwarden of the DBL is widely considered the Netherlands’ highest level of professional basketball. Givens will be joining an Aris Leeuwarden squad that is in the Eredivisie, the better of the DBL divisions. The DBL has eight teams with Eiffel Towers Den Bosch winning the championship this past season.
“I heard that the quality of play is improving over the years,” Givens said. “It’s a respected league. That’s always good to go to a place that people respect the play, that I’m not going to a bad league or anything like that.”
To get there, Givens is thankful for encouragement he has received.
“Just having support and good people around you and believing in yourself,” Givens said of what it took for him to reach this level. “You have your ups and down, but you have people that believe in you and give support you need. I have a good mother and great family that supports me in everything I do and I have a lot of friends who come to my games.”
-Philahoops staff writer Kevin Rossi contributed to this report.
-Aaron Bracy is the editor of Philahoops. Reach him at email@example.com, at Twitter @Aaron_Bracy or facebook.com/philahoops.