Around the Planeta
Published 10:06 pm Tuesday, September 3, 2013
Former Nansemond River High School and Chowan University basketball standout Quinton McDuffie will soon be headed to Russia to play professional basketball.
He signed a deal yesterday with the Planeta-Universitet Ukhta basketball team, which plays in the Superleague, the second-tier league in Russia.
“This is a blessing to me,” McDuffie said. “This is one of the biggest things that I have ever accomplished besides signing with a university.”
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He said playing pro basketball had been his goal for a long time.
“Ever since I was younger and I was able to understand the game of basketball, I always wanted to reach the highest level that I could possibly play on, and deep down inside, I knew that I could play in the professional ranks,” he said.
The deal came to pass through the agency representing McDuffie, Hardaway Sports and Legal Representation. His agent, Trey Steele, had been lining up opportunities in different locations, including the Dominican Republic.
McDuffie said he had been to a couple of different camps and events, trying to get noticed, and part of the process leading up to this deal was “just being patient and waiting.”
Chowan head coach Brett Vincent, who coached McDuffie in his senior year, expressed his excitement for his former player. He also commented on why the Russian team picked him up, highlighting McDuffie’s scoring ability.
“I’m sure that’s what they noticed when they watched him on film,” Vincent said.
Vincent had a front-row seat to McDuffie’s offensive skills last season, when McDuffie led the team with 14.6 points per game and was named to the 2013 All-Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association Men’s Basketball Team.
Vincent said McDuffie can score both away from the hoop and near it, which is a versatility teams in Russia and Europe look for. He said since there is a wealth of tall players in the leagues over there, the 6-foot-5-inch McDuffie is “probably going to have to play on the perimeter a little more than he’s used to.”
“But he’s very capable, he’s an intelligent basketball player; he’ll adjust,” the coach said.
McDuffie said he is aware of this need to adjust, noting he is getting scouted as a small forward, which can involve both inside and outside play on offense and defense.
He also acknowledged the major off-court change coming up on Oct. 1 when he moves to his new home, just outside of Moscow.
“It will definitely be a big culture shock and a huge adjustment, but I think I’m prepared for it,” he said.
He has been outside the U.S., before with visits to the Dominican Republic and Mexico under his belt, “but as far as going that far overseas, no, this will be my first time,” he said.
His mother, Lynette McDuffie, said because she used to be in the Navy, “I don’t have any issues with him playing outside the country. However, it’s going to be hard for us to go over there and support him.”
She also said she had some concerns about him being in Russia, given the country’s relationship with war-ravaged Syria. However, the family’s primary reaction to his latest accomplishment was overwhelmingly positive.
“We were just really excited for him,” she said.
McDuffie has some remaining coursework at Chowan, which he will complete online during the basketball season. He will remain in Russia for the season until May.