Kaleb Warner landed a chance to show off his professional basketball skills abroad – WOU Athletics

MONMOUTH, Oregon – Settling in one place for even a year has been a challenge for Kaleb Warner throughout his college basketball career. In fact, the Seattle, Washington native visited four different states after leaving high school, but ended up finishing his college career and graduating from Western Oregon University, which suited him perfectly. He was then able to make the trip abroad to pursue his dream of playing professionally which is now on the verge of becoming a real dream this coming season.

While Warner played basketball abroad last season, he played it primarily as a club sport. Having to find various jobs abroad while pursuing your dream. All that hard work paid off as he was able to sign with Gelderland, who plays in the same Dutch basketball league as the former teammate. Dalven Brushier just signed to play this year as well. The path was certainly anything but easy, but throughout his stops Warner impressed. As a true freshman, he played in Division I Pacific in California, seeing action in six games. He then moved to North Idaho College where he averaged over seven points and three rebounds per game, shooting over 43 percent from the field and over 36 percent from a three-point distance. A visit to Division II awaited him as a junior when he went to Kansas City to play for Rockhurst where he led the team with over 15 points per game and finished second on the team with an average of four. rebounds per game. It shot over 45% from the ground and over 38% from downtown. Then came his senior season at Monmouth where the 6-foot-7 forward was one of four players to play all 33 games of the 2018-19 season. He averaged over 11 points and slashed 129 total rebounds, hitting double-digits in 18 games.

“The trip was as difficult as it sounds. Going to so many schools was mentally stressful and spiritually stimulating, but having a caring and loving support system around me I was able to graduate from a great school. I was also able to create a path to continue playing the sport that I love, ”Warner said.

Adapting to so many different schools and programs throughout his college career would make the challenge of trying to play overseas almost like second nature. Not only did his college career help him move abroad, Warner had the added help of a family who lived in Europe to ease the transition.

“The only experience that has made this adjustment easier is having family here. Being abroad is difficult because you don’t understand the language and the culture, so how to live life is different. Personally, I love it. the culture and the language is super tough, but it’s nice to experience it, ”Warner said.

Adjusting to life abroad has evolved for Warner and continues to get better every day. While he had already visited the country, it was a new change to be in other places where he played last year for Dreamfield in Nijmegen in the Netherlands. Being focused on the goal at hand has allowed Warner to push for the ultimate price.

“I have adapted to living here by getting to know my surroundings. I have visited the country before, but never in the region where I have been able to play. In addition, being in a country where English is not too difficult to live with. makes the fit easier, ”Warner said.

COVID causing the shutdown in mid-March, this has prevented Warner from leaving the country and returning home, which has given him even more time over the past year to get used to living in the Netherlands .

“Living in a new country always has minor language issues and food options, but I quickly adapted since my mom lives here. It allowed me to visit the culture and the country before. I missed my dad and friends at home, but I’m looking for something I’ve really worked for for about a decade, so being healthy is always a priority and having my mom here keeps the house from going. doesn’t feel too far away, ”Warner said.

Warner really had to keep thinking about the dream in his first season abroad. While playing for Dreamfield, the team were a promotional team and were not technically considered professional basketball. That didn’t stop him from putting up some impressive stats that helped him grab the attention of other pro teams when he averaged 21 points, eight rebounds, three assists and three steals.

“Well my first year playing for Dreamfield in Nijmegen was for the promotion team, which is the league under the Dutch Basketball League and is not considered professional basketball. So I Really just played a year abroad finding various jobs.With the club’s aspirations to reach the highest level in Dutch basketball and our success as a promotion team, it has helped me get some great looks. ‘other clubs,’ Warner said.

The goal was always to play at the highest level possible once his career ended at WOU. It was an added bonus when he was able to travel to Europe to go to an area he knew quite well.

“I wanted to play professionally since I was in college. I really wanted to end up anywhere in Europe and especially Western Europe where I am so it’s a match made in heaven!” Warner said.

It will be yet another adjustment for Warner for this coming season playing for Gelderland in the Dutch Basketball League, which will be another level above what Warner played last season. But given her track record of adjusting to seeing a lot of previous situations in new places before, this seems like another in her back alley.

“As I didn’t play at the highest level in the Netherlands, which is the Dutch Basketball League, playing in the promotional division was a challenge with the rules and the way the players played there. Looking forward to the chance to play for an American coach in Matthew Otten, which adds to the similarities I have had in the States, ”Warner said.

Gelderland is one of the newer teams, which has been around for five years and has played in Gelderland, a province of over 2 million people located in the central / eastern part of the country. Gelderland recently began the process of transitioning to the Dutch Basketball League which started in mid-May and will allow them to transition to the league this coming season. Currently the team are training and playing at Bemmel, a place that will be familiar to Warner as this is where the Dreamfield promotional team also played last season where he played for coach Otten. Knowing that everything is starting to sink in the fact that he is officially heading into professional basketball for a living, Warner is ready to take the opportunity.

“Being my first year getting ‘paid to play’ is just a wonderful feeling. I’m beyond words because when you dream of life and experiences it ‘could be’ and then they happen . All of this just lets you know that the hard work and dedication you’ve always thought about doing, even when you don’t want to work, but do and get rewarded? That’s a good feeling! ”Warner said.

While the team name is changing this year, it’s basically the same situation for Warner other than moving leagues and getting paid to play.

“In short, it’s the same club, but just at a higher level this year. I can play for the same coach, in the same city and in the same country, but now I can play on the biggest basketball stage. ball in Holland. I can play veteran pros and work to make a name for myself, “Warner said.

While there have been a lot of unknowns for the coming seasons with plenty of sports, Warner is set to start playing here shortly with his new team and start all over again.

“I am very ready and eager to start. It’s a really exciting time in my life and I’m ready to run with the opportunity and make it a marathon. I’m ready to compete and walk the floor of every practice and game knowing that I belong. I don’t really have any specific expectations other than having a good group of teammates ready to fight, ”Warner said.

Warner has remained busy for the past few months in preparation for the season.

“I added new routines to my daily life such as push-ups, sit-ups to strengthen my upper body. I added sand workouts, as well as mixed weights and play as much as possible outside of the gym. basketball, ”Warner told me.

Even though he remains several kilometers away, he remains anchored from the time he spent at WOU and how much it has helped him since leaving in his daily life.

“I remember the great teachers, the great strength trainer, the great athletics department and a group of brothers that I will never forget playing WOU. I decided to attend WOU because that Oregon is my mother’s home state and I have a lot of family on my In addition, it was important that my grandmother attended my games and that my father drove about four hours from Seattle for me. watch in my last season, Warner said.

Having proven that he can play with the best, Warner will now see what comes next as his career continues to improve every day.

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