American players who make the decision to play professionally in Europe have sometimes struggled with adjusting to the different culture, and even playing style oftentimes found abroad. Current NBA D-League top prospect, DaJuan Summers was an example of a player who had trouble adjusting to small town European life. Obviously, there are vast differences between living and playing professionally in the United States as opposed to Europe, or Asia. But for Matt Bauscher, the decision to extend his playing career professionally in Europe, has been very beneficial.
Since finishing his career at Boise State, Bauscher's International career has allowed him to travel and play in countries such as; Holland, Germany, Belgium, Russia, Turkey, Italy and Greece. During that time, Bauscher has played games at the Euro-League, Euro-Cup and Euro-Challenge level, won the Dutch Cup and Dutch Championship, and was named Dutch Player of the Year in 2010.
After finishing his career at Boise State, Bauscher immediately looked at options to extend his playing career, "After winning the WAC Championship and getting All-Wac Defense and All-Wac Tournament team- my senior year was completed and I was wondering what would be next in my life. I started talking to a couple agents who thought I had a chance at playing in Europe." Bauscher signed with agent Gerrit Kersten-Thiele of Scorers First Sports Management, and a couple months later landed his first professional contract in Europe.
Bauscher has spent his entire professional career in Europe, and when asked if he has ever considered playing elsewhere Bauscher said, "I've thought about Asia and always wanted to travel to Australia, but for me and my playing style I think Europe is a great fit."
Switching gears and adapting to a completely different playing style and new set of rules in Europe has always been a challenge for players who leave the States and head to Europe. But Bauscher has managed to adjust to the differences which include; a deeper 3-point line, timeouts only allowed on dead balls, and goal tending allowed after the ball hits the rim.
According to Bauscher there is one main difference that players must adjust to. "The biggest difference between Europe and the NBA, D-League and College is the travel rule. 80% of the first step moves you see in the states are a travel out here. The player must put the ball down before he makes his first step." Despite the differences, Bauscher has been able to establish himself as a player who is "very comfortable with the pick and roll, making the right decision and being known as a smart, hard nosed player" as Bauscher describes himself.
Adjustments on the court are only a part of the transition process in creating a career playing basketball professionally in Europe. Bauscher commented on what the toughest challenge has been, "No question it's missing loved ones back home. You are away from your friends and family for 9 months a year and that can be tough. The last two seasons I've been very blessed to have my fiance with me, which makes living out here pretty easy."
Outside of a season where he played at Spokane Community College, Bauscher was able to stay close to home during his amatuer playing career. With an option such as the NBA D-League’s Idaho Stampede, Bauscher surely could try and extend his professional career on United States soil and closer to home (Bauscher is from Caldwell, Idaho which is a quick drive from Boise), but Bauscher insists that Europe is where he would like to stay. "I love Boise, it's where my heart is there is no doubt about it. I'm not sure how many more seasons I'm going to play, but right now I see myself ending my playing career in Europe and not the states."
The NBA Development League has become one of the quickest ways to get noticed by NBA teams, and also a way to play professionally without having to move overseas and live in a completely foreign culture. However, for Bauscher the league doesn’t interest him and actually never has. "I had Europe in my head since the day I graduated at Boise State. I think the D-League is a great avenue for the border line players who are very close to making an NBA roster. The players who will get a call up (10 day NBA contract) during the season. To me personally, if you aren't going to get a call-up during the D-League season than I think the best option for players is probably overseas."
Bauscher is currently with Eiffel Towers Den Bosch in Holland, and has been an integral part in helping the team to the top of the current Dutch League standings. Stories such as Baucher's can help eliminate the negative perception that may exist for American players regarding the decision to play professionally abroad. In Bauscher's case, that choice to play professionally abroad has certainly paid off.