Andrew Dikas: “Join Europe Basketball Academy only if you are serious about playing professionally in Europe.”

Ten questions and answers with American player Andrew Dikas that Europe Basketball Academy recently placed on a professional team Orli Prostejov in Czech Republic NLB league.

Where you started to play basketball and if you may explain your basketball background?
I started playing basketball as a kid around the age of 10 years old in Miramar, Florida. Mainly just for fun. I also played every other sport I possibly could. I started playing organized basketball in local leagues at the age of 12. Then, from 6th grade to 8th grade (middle school) I played for my school team. At that point I as playing basketball, football, soccer, and baseball. I decided that I enjoyed playing basketball the most and began to focus solely on that sport. Throughout my high school years, I played at Nova High School in Davie, FL. I managed to get a few small college offers but decided to play on scholarship at Voorhees University in Denmark, South Carolina. I played there for two years and completed my last two years at Brewton-Parker College. After my senior year, I played in the WBA Summer Professional League in Atlanta, Georgia. Then briefly in the ABA with the Jacksonville Giants. From there, I sign a one-year deal with The Norrkoping Dolphins in Sweden. After that, I signed a two-year contract to play in Slovenia. I also had the opportunity to play in Turkey, Italy, and Mexico as well.

What problems to get in the European market you faced before you came to play in Europe first time?
Lack of exposure was the biggest problem in my case. Coming from a small Division 1 NAIA school made it very hard to play in Europe.

Why did you decide to join Europe Basketball Academy?
I decided to come to Europe Basketball Academy because many players on social media spoke well of it and that it was a well-organized program. Many other players also found success with the program. I also understood it would be beneficial to already be in Europe working out, so teams knew you were there.

Did you attend some camps in the USA and if you did can you explain the difference between those camps and Europe Basketball Academy?
Yes, a few. I played great at those camps but never heard back from the program coordinator about jobs. No one at the camps did. They were mostly "money maker camps."

What is the difference between playing in Europe and where you played before coming to Europe?
Style of the game. Everyone is in better shape. Just about everyone on the court can shoot the ball well. From PG to Center. Each game is like a war. One game per week usually.

How did the days look for you at Europe Basketball Academy?
Typical days at Europe Basketball Academy were kind of busy. For me, my days usually began around 6:00 am. Sometimes earlier and sometimes slightly later. First practice/training usually started at 8 or 9 am. A few other players and I would usually leave around 6:30 to workout and or stretch at the fitness center before practice. Then we go to first practice and usually back to the fitness center to recover. We ate lunch around noon and go home to rest and prepare for second practice which began at 3 pm. Afternoon practice usually ended at 5 pm and then we go back to the fitness center to recover or do extra conditioning. With me being an older player, I often spent a lot of time at the fitness gym doing additional training, stretching, and recovery. At 7 pm we ate dinner and then for the rest of the evening we had personal time. On every Thursday and Friday of the week, we tested for free throw shooting, mid-range and three point shooting, conditioning, fitness, quickness, and agility. At Europe Basketball Academy, I learned how important it is to be in shape, take care of your body, understand defensive and offensive tactics, and just what is needed to play professional basketball in Europe. I learned the importance of individual skill and work ethic, but also how much of a team game it is in Europe.

Your advice to players that are considering joining Europe Basketball Academy?
My advice for players considering to attend Europe Basketball Academy is to come only if you are serious about playing professionally in Europe. Come injury-free and ready to work hard every single day. The coaches and staff are very knowledgeable, trustworthy, and have an enormous amount of experience in dealing with players of all levels. They will access your strengths and weaknesses and help you improve.

Share some interesting situations that you experienced in the academy that you will remember and that made a strong impression on you.
I would say in our off time just joking around with all the other players and enjoying ourselves as well as we lived close to the beach. You will meet a lot of interesting people from all over the world at the Academy.

Where you ended up after you attended Europe Basketball Academy?
Czech Republic NLB League in the club Orli Prostejov.

Finishing comments?
Europe Basketball Academy is a great place to start your career or try to pick it back up if you have played in Europe already. Academy location is in Barcelona, Spain which is a major area for professional basketball. The staff is professional and excellent at what they do!

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