The last time Jeff Adrien had his name associated with Russia, it was back when he drove around the 6-foot-10 Moscow grown Yaroslav Korolev before dunking through Mark Tyndale during summer league a couple years back.
Now Adrien is hoping to throw up a few more of those posters in Russia.
On Friday, he signed with BC Khimki for the remainder of the season and will resume his overseas career after a quick stay in the NBA this season with the Houston Rockets.
Knocked for being an undersized big at 6-foot-6, Adrien's arrival couldn't come at a better time. Khimki competes in the Russian League, VTB United League and Eurocup and qualified for the Top 16 in January and that's where Adrien really comes into play for Khimki -- the final season push toward attempting to reach the Eurocup (3-1 in their four-team group) quarterfinals and finals, which takes place on April 14 and 15.
Not a bad insurance policy at all.
Knowing Adrien's game from his time with the Golden State Warriors, his D-League stints with the Erie Bayhawks and Rio Grande Valley Vipers, and even the games he played during the lockout with Italy's Benetton Treviso, the former UConn Huskies product isn't afraid to mix it up in the paint. That part of Khimki's game plan has been missing ever since Timofey Mozgov returned to the Denver Nuggets after playing for Khimki during the NBA lockout.
Adrien will make his debut on Saturday against Spartak SP in Russian League play.
He replaces Marijonas Petravicius who left the team and joins four guys with NBA experience on Khimki's roster -- Chris Quinn, Sergey Monia, Zoran Planinic, and Mickael Gelabale. But throughout the season and as they compete for Eurocup, Khimki has been a team in constant roster flux. Gone are the NBA lockout stints of Mozgov and Austin Daye. Quinn has been the team's second leading scorer at 20 points per game and Gelabale hasn't panned out like they'd hoped. Maybe now the addition of Adrien will be enough to push Khimki along for the long haul.
Adrien started the season with Benetton Treviso before joining the Rockets after the lockout, but after appearing in 8 games for Houston, he was waived in early February and replaced by Greg Smith. Adrien had better luck in Treviso and looking back, shouldn't have exercised his NBA out-clause. Adrien left the team after averaging 13.3 points, 9.0 rebounds and 1.1 steals per game in Seria A and posted 13.6 points and 8.4 rebounds per appearance in Eurocup.
Adrien actually started his overseas career with CB Breogan in Spain in 2009-10 after graduating from UConn and earned a spot with the Golden State Warriors out of summer league, but his stay in the Bay was short lived (2.9 points and 3.3 rebounds in 10 minutes per game, with 15 appearances).
Being waived however isn't the kind of experience that's going to keep Adrien down though. He found a home in the D-League and earned D-League All-Star honors and made a quick impact in Italy during the lockout.
Toughness -- that's Adrien's game. And that is not easy to come by overseas.
Now he's bringing that physical play to Russia and Khimki for the rest of this season.