It has now been 10 years, a full decade, that I started my blog about young European basketball talent. In 10 years, a lot can change in a basketball career. Players considered as prospects 10 years ago are now seasoned veterans or not playing basketball anymore. But also in life, a lot can change in 10 years which is why I have decided to put europeanprospects.com on hold.
When I started the website, I would have never imagined to what extend it had an impact on my life. In 2005, blogs were starting to emerge, but neither Twitter nor Facebook were around. I started to share my thoughts just for fun as I thought that there would be an interest in information about European basketball in English written by a European. It is hard to imagine right now but back then, that was an innovative concept, especially given that I was focusing on young players and not the main competitions. Discussions were mainly going on in message boards where some die-hard fans published bits and pieces on different local hopefuls. Except the major US websites, there was no central point where you could find information on European draft hopefuls.
It looked like my content attracted the attention of several people; right from the start I got in touch with a multitude of different individuals involved in a business that I had no idea about. Scouts, GMs, Agents,… I knew that these people existed but I was never in touch with anyone before but some very open-minded people started to email me to exchange not only contact details but real infos. This was a major motivation for me and I started to travel around to see players compete and meet these person in real life. The time consumed by the website grew especially as I started another project with Tobias and Julien who wanted to change the Internet world of European Basketball. Ballineurope.com was born and I stopped to count the hours that I spent in front of my PC next to my daily job and involvement in the local basketball scene as player and coach.
For different reasons, ballineurope.com was sold after a few years and my full concentration was back on europeanprospects.com. With the emergence of Twitter but also a growing number of websites that covered the same topics, I had to intensify my work in order to remain a top-class address for scouting reports. I started to question myself if this can develop into a full time job and possibilities to fully get into the “business” emerged. I started a NCAA approved Recruiting Service that helped me to finance the growing expenses for travel while still running the site fully on my own, both for the content and the technical aspect. The connections grew accordingly and the workload as well. I decided though to keep europeanprospects.com as a free-time activity in order to remain independent and be able to write whatever I think was correct and not be driven by some outside motivations.
However, there have been some events in my life that changed my view on things and the time I could spend on the road and in front of my PC reduced. I had the feeling that I was not as aware as I wanted to be on all the emerging players which put a lot of mental pressure on me as I wanted always to have top-notch and exclusive content. The multitude of people that spread news and scouting reports made me think about the necessity of my website though as information that was nearly not available at all 10 years ago can now be found in abundance. A second happy event this year then brought me to the decision to put the website on hold as I barely have any time anymore to produce content. Even if I could travel to Italy this summer to cover the U20 European Championship, I still could not finish the Scouting Reports two months after the event which is a clear sign that it does not make sense to continue the same way.
By putting the website on hold, I avoid to say that I stop europeanprospects.com. I might publish some articles when I find the time to write in the future, while I will also continue to post on Twitter, even with a probably slower frequency. I have to stop though the NCAA approved Scouting service that I already launched for the season 2015-16 and all the clients that have paid will be reimbursed and contacted directly. It is simply impossible for me to offer the service in a way that I would consider as worthy to pay for and that’s why I will not continue it despite a growing demand.
It has been a crazy ride the last 10 years. Lots of great trips to places I would have never seen without basketball. I now have connections; for some of them, I can even call them friends (not in a Facebook sense); from around the world, people I would have never met without the Internet. I will certainly miss long nights of discussions about who is the most talented left-handed stretch four coming out of Latvia (is there anyone?), who will be the next Dirk, Pau or even Pavel, or what is the best seat at La Ghirada or the quality of the WLan in the arena. Or answering classical questions like “Who is going to win?” and think about what is the best way to avoid rip-off taxis or enjoy the best local (or Armenian) food. In all those years, I really liked the great help I got from so many people (unfortunately not from everyone involved in European Basketball for whatever reason) in the different countries that tried to support me in any way they could. I want to say THANK YOU ALL.
I don’t know if I will ever find my way back to Basketland, La Ghirada, l’Hospitalet or even Kaunas. I will certainly still be available to talk basketball and prospects to anyone who wants to but my presence at the different events will be minimal. I hope I could spread some interesting information about European Prospects over the last ten years and who knows what will come in the future.
THANK YOU – MERCI – DANKE – HVALA – ACIU – PALDIES – GRAZIE – GRACIAS – TAK – SPASSIBO