By: David Barr, Special for The Sports Rabbi
Just like everyone else in the World, Virtus Segafredo Bologna small forward Kyle Weems is trying to make the best of the global pandemic plaguing our world. At home in Bologna, Italy – Weems has already sent his wife Jacque and his two sons Kyrie and CJ back to the United States and Kansas City. It has just been plain scary in Italy where Coronavirus has struck the hardest.
“It’s very quiet,” the talented American who is playing his eighth season in Europe said. “For a while last week, we were able to train in groups of three at our private practice facility but now that has stopped due to the steady climb in cases and deaths. Pretty much has just been to the grocery store and back home for around a month now with for sure at least 2 more weeks.”
As with everyone in a time of uncertainty there are varying ideas and opinions of what is best and when to try and return to normal. Players around the world are in a constant state of waiting – wondering what’s next. Some like CSKA Moscow’s Mike James have been very vocal in their displeasure of having their lives put on pause. Weems is very solid in his thinking.
“My personal opinion is I think the only obvious answer is to be done with this season. The amount of deaths and new cases here in Italy has honestly been scarier and scarier as each day passes. You have no sympathy or care for others if you honestly think we can have another jump ball this season after the number of ones lost here.”
Strictly talking basketball – the delay in the season could not have come at a worse time for one of the most talented and hottest teams in Europe. Virtus Segafredo Bologna currently sits atop the table in the Lega Basket Serie A and are tied for the best record in Euro Cup 7 competition. The season also saw the Black V take home runners-up hardware at the FIBA Intercontinental Cup. All of this, a year after winning the Champions Basketball League.
“It’s been great playing here. The fan base is great, we have a great coach (Sasha Djordjevic) and a great group of guys that all have been leaving their egos at the door and have come ready to work each and every day.”
Those teammates include arguably the greatest point guard in European history in Miloš Teodosić and his backcourt mate Stefan Marković, “Playing with Milos has been an awesome experience. Not too often can you say you have played with one of the best to ever come across the Euroleague and it’s so easy to play with him. His vision and basketball IQ and overall playmaking ability and him just being able to make his teammates better is something I’ve never seen before and he definitely draws a lot of attention and makes our lives easier.”
Personally, Weems is having a great season in both domestic and EuroCup 7 averaging 11-points per outing and four boards. He has been a model of consistency with numbers extremely similar in all competitions. His 32-point outburst on Christmas, 2019 in just 22-minutes versus Fortitudo Bologna is one of many highlights for a player who excels on both ends of the court.
“I just feel really comfortable here. I play with some really talented guys and some great passers like Markovich and Teodosić. I’m also blessed to be able to play for a coach like Sasa who gives me slot of freedom but is always helping me be a better player every single day. Of course, getting out of rhythm at this point of the season is not ideal if things were ever to start back up but honestly – I don’t see it.”
Weems, who is in his first season in Italy after stops in Germany, France and Turkey has been impressed with the LBA who has super athletic players with great IQ’s and the fans are some of the best in all of Europe. Seeing that talent each week as well as the top tier teams in Euro Cup – the pause has left him with a hole missing the game that he loves.
“This break has for sure made me miss the game and the competitive edge I enjoy even with everyday practices. But with all of this has been hard to even miss it completely because of the severity of the situation. Honestly I miss my family that I haven’t seen in a month more than I miss the game right now.”