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McGruder Enjoys Life Overseas

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K-State's Rodney McGruder dunks against TCU at Bramlage Coliseum in Manhattan, Kansas on March 5, 2013. (Scott D. Weaver/K-State Athletics)

April 21, 2014
By Kelly McHugh

Former Wildcat men's basketball star Rodney McGruder (2009-13) is enjoying life, and basketball, in Hungary.
 
In his first season with the A-Division's Atomeromu Se Paks, McGruder is already a team leader in both scoring as he's averaging 14.6 points per game on 48.9 percent shooting, and in minutes averaging 28.3 per game. He has seen action in 22 games this season, and has scored in the double figures 19 times with a season-high 27 points.

While McGruder is now living seven time zones ahead and more than 5,000 miles away from Manhattan, Kan., in Paks, Hungary, it didn't take him long to adjust to the new European style of play.

"Before coming over here, I was worried about the language barrier and how well I would or would not be able to communicate with my teammates and coaches," said McGruder. "It has been a lot easier to adjust than I thought it would. Pretty much all of my teammates and coaches speak English, at least enough to be conversational and understood. Something that I have learned through traveling with this sport is that basketball is basketball no matter where you are in the world."

Atomeromu Se Paksis is 25-5 on the season so far and leads the A-Division with just one game - against Szolnok on April 23 - to go.

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"Right now, I am very comfortable with my team and feel secure in my role," continued McGruder.

During his time at K-State, McGruder led the Wildcats through a magical 2012-13 Big 12 Championship winning season. In 2013, he capped off his Wildcat career earning both All-American status and All-Big 12 First Team honors, and left the program in the Top 10 of 14 different career categories. He joined two-time All-American Bob Boozer as the only Wildcat to rank in the Top 10 in career scoring (1,576 points, seventh) and in rebounding (654, seventh). 

Though halfway around the world, McGruder said the lessons learned while on the court as a Wildcat are priceless and have been an important factor in his first year of professional success.

"I learned a lot at K-State and everything that I learned through my four years with that program has made me the player that I am," he explained. "Each coach had something different that I took from each of them that I carry with me today and in my future."

While McGruder has excelled through his first season overseas and is settled in to his new town, there are a few things that the Washington D.C., native said he misses about living in Kansas.

"I miss the family feel of, not just the university and my team, but the town as well," he continued. "I also miss my family being able to come to town, this is the longest my parents have been without watching me play in person."

And on his teammates, a group of guys who became more than just teammates to McGruder, he said, "Those guys and I formed a brotherhood at K-State, that doesn't just end after graduation. All of us stay in touch and text each other on a day-to-day basis."

Other Wildcats currently playing basketball across the world are:

Denis Clemente, K-State 2008-10 
Plays for the Pioneros De Quintana Roo; Cancun, Mexico 
Playing for one of the top teams in the LNBP Division of the Mexican League with a 30-10 record... Averaging 12.8 points on 47.8 percent shooting, including 36.5 percent from 3-point range, with a team-high 3.7 assists and 2.7 rebounds in 25.6 minutes per game... Ranks third on the team with 77 3-pointers... Scored a season-high 26 points twice this season... Has played for teams in Italy, Slovakia and his native Puerto Rico.
 
Tim Ellis, K-State 2002-04
Plays for the London Lightning; London, Ontario
Playing for London of the National Basketball League in Canada... Averaging 7.8 points on 51.5 percent shooting with 6.1 rebounds, 2.4 assists and 1.3 steals in 31.8 minutes per game... Scored a season-high 26 points vs. St. John M.R. (1/19)... Has played for teams in the CBA as well as internationally in Iceland and Iran.
 
Lance Harris, K-State 2003-07 
Plays for the Ural Ekaterinburg; Ekaterinburg, Russia 
Playing for Ural in the Russian Superleague... Averaging a team-best 14.9 points on 52.9 percent shooting with 4.6 rebounds, 1.6 assists and 0.9 blocks in 27.2 minutes per game... Also ranks third in rebounding... Scored a season-high 27 points vs. AltajBasket (3/7)... Has played for teams in Italy, Ukraine, Greece and Bosnia in his 7-year pro career.
 
Jarrett Hart, K-State 2002-04
Plays for the Calgary Crush; Calgary, Alberta
Playing for Calgary of the ABA... Averaging 3.3 points on 45.5 percent shooting with 1.9 rebounds and 1.1 assists in 15.3 minutes per game... Has played for teams in Cyprus, Greece and Russia in his 10-year pro career.
 
Jordan Henriquez, K-State 2009-13 
Plays for the Rio Grande Valley Vipers; D-League
Playing for the D-League affiliate of the Houston Rockets... Averaged 3.0 points on 44.3 percent shooting with 2.4 rebounds and 0.9 blocks in 8.5 minutes per game... Saw time in 29 games... Scored a season-high nine points twice, while he grabbed a season-best nine rebounds vs. Idaho (1/22).  
 
Curtis Kelly, K-State 2009-11
Plays for the Vanoli Cremona; Cremona, Italy 
Playing for Vanoli in the Serie A Division of the Italian League... Averaging 8.2 points on 61.9 percent shooting with 4.7 rebounds and 1.0 blocks in 20.6 minutes per game... Ranks second on the team in rebounding... Scored a season-high 23 points vs. Cimberio VA (12/29/13)... Has seen action in all 26 games, alongside former Texas Tech standout Jarrius Jackson... Has also played for several teams in Israel.
 
Cartier Martin, K-State 2003-07
Plays for the Atlanta Hawks 
Has played 51 games for Atlanta after starting the season with the Chicago Bulls... Averaging 5.4 points on 41.9 percent shooting with 1.8 rebounds in 14.2 minutes per game... Scored a season-high 16 points vs. Portland (3/5)... Has played for five different NBA teams (Charlotte, Golden State, Washington, Chicago and Atlanta) in his 6-year pro career.
 
Jeremiah Massey, K-State 2003-05
Plays for Amchit Club; Lebanon
Playing for Amchit in Division A of the Lebanese League... Averaging a team-best 22.3 points on 62.7 percent shooting with 9.0 rebounds, 5.3 assists, 3.1 steals and 1.0 blocks in 35.5 minutes per game... Scored a season-high 33 points vs. Bejjeh (2/27)... Has played for teams in Germany, Russia, Spain and Greece during his 9-year career.
 
Jacob Pullen, K-State 2007-2011
Plays for Regal FC Barcelona; Barcelona, Spain
Playing for one of the top teams in the Liga Endesa Division of the Spanish League with a 20-7 record... Primary back-up to Marcelinho Huertas, one of the top point guards in Spain...  Averaging 6.7 points on 47 percent shooting, including 42.9 percent from 3-point range, with 1.3 assists in 9.6 minutes per game... Ranks second on the team with 33 3-pointers... Scored a season-high 42 points vs. Bdr Valladolid (3/8/14), which included a Spanish-record 12 treys... Has also played for teams in Italy and Israel.
 
Jamar Samuels, K-State 2008-12
Plays for CZG Veroli; Veroli, Italy
Playing for Veroli in the DNA-Gold Division of the Italian League... Averaging 11.8 points on 54.8 percent shooting with 5.6 rebounds, 1.1 assists and 0.9 steals in 30.1 minutes per game... Ranks first on the team in rebounding, while is second in scoring and minutes... Scored a season-high 24 points vs. Fileni BPA Jesi (12/15/13)... Has seen action in all 29 games.... Has also played for Penas Huesca in the Spanish League.
 
Dominique Sutton, K-State 2007-10
Plays for Ikaros; Kalitheas, Greece 
Playing for Ikaros in the A1 League of the Greek League... Averaging 9.3 points on 49.4 percent shooting with 7.0 rebounds, 1.6 assists and 1.4 steals in 27.1 minutes per game... Ranks first on the team in rebounding... Scored a season-high 22 points vs. Panionios (3/23)... Has also played for teams in France and the Dominican Republic as well as Tulsa of the D-League.
 
Bill Walker, K-State 2006-08
Plays for the Sioux Falls Skyforce; D-League
Playing for D-League affiliate of the Miami Heat... Currently the No. 4 seed the D-League Playoffs... Averaging 14.7 points on 44.7 percent shooting, including 35.6 percent from 3-point range, with 5.6 rebounds, 1.8 assists and 1.2 steals in 29.5 minutes per game... Has six double-doubles... Has 12 20-point and two 30-point games, including scoring a season-high 31 points twice... Ranks first on the team with 98 3-pointers... Along with stints with the Celtics and Knicks, he has played for D-League teams in Austin and Maine as well as internationally in Venezuela.
 
Akeem Wright, K-State 2005-07
Plays for Advice First Waikato Pistons; Hamilton, New Zealand 
Playing for the Waikato Pistons of the National Basketball League of New Zealand after stints playing Ukraine and Spain this season... Averaging a team-best 17.7 points on 34.3 percent shooting with 5.3 rebounds, 3.0 assists and 1.7 steals in 36.7 minutes per game... Has also played for teams in Canada and Israel.

 

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