Last month, RidiculousUpside.com published an exclusive interview with Brian Kortovich, a basketball journeyman who has been playing overseas for years. Traveling across the globe to strut his stuff, an NBA opportunity has continued to evade him.
But Kortovich hopes this year is the one he happens to shine brightest. Since citing a desire to use the NBA D-League this coming season as his stage, the guard has worked diligently this offseason to open the eyes of various league executives.
As NBA teams opened its doors this month to not only players on guaranteed contracts, but training camp invitees as well, many D-League teams also gave such hopefuls a similar unique opportunity.
Making the trip to take part in multiple workouts, Kortovich's D-League tour started earlier this month when he ventured to Philadelphia, where the Sioux Falls Skyforce held open tryouts.
The guard didn't have to go far following his first stop, staying in the state to participate in a workout with the Erie BayHawks just a short time later. In front of BayHawks' brass, Kortovich impressed. Playing well against some steady competition, the guard made it through to the final scrimmages of the tryout, where Erie handpicked only the most impressionable standouts from the tryout to play in a fast-paced contest of five-on-five. It was clear they wanted to have a closer look at Kortovich.
It certainly didn't hurt that the staff also had some familiarity with the sharp-shooting guard, either. Having participated in preseason ball with the Knicks in 2010, Assistant General Manager (and G.M. of the BayHawks, New York's D-League affiliate), Allan Houston, already knew all too well about Kortovich, and appreciated what he could do on the hardwood.
The BayHawks G.M. liked Kortovich so much following his time with the Knicks, that he was quoted as saying, "Brian is a tough competitor who knows the game and has a great stroke. He has seen the level of energy and commitment that it takes to play at the highest level. I love his passion."
While Houston and other executives may already be able to recognize (and perhaps know how to utilize) Kortovich's skill set, he isn't done just yet trying to make an impression. The journeyman is set to fly out to Reno this weekend to take part in yet another tryout, this one with the Bighorns.
Kortovich has what it takes to compete and hold his own at the highest level. Anyone who has seen him play and make it rain from around the gym completely understands that. Recognizing that the D-League is his best possible shot at catching someone's eye for a chance in the NBA, Kortovich has done his part in the weeks leading up to the NBADL Draft to make sure noteworthy decision makers can see for themselves what he has to offer.
But for anyone still unsure of his credentials, they don't have to look much further than to Joe Abunassar, who runs the IMPACT basketball facility in Las Vegas. After watching the guard compete against some of the NBA's more talented players, Abunassar said, "Brian has a tremendous work ethic and really can shoot the ball. His quick release makes him a big threat from the perimeter at any time. He can shoot with the best of them!"
Whether he ultimately signs or gets drafted by a D-League team, Kortovich is still likely to be somewhere running the floor in the minors, all the while shooting the lights out. Such an accomplishment will simply be the next logical step in what has become an honorable and dedicated journey to The Association.