The former Mississippi State basketball standout, who recently signed a one-year contract with TBB Trier of the Basketball Bundesliga (Federal Basketball League), a German professional league, doesn’t talk like a man who is leaving behind all that’s familiar to him in pursuit of a dream.
The 6-foot-3 guard from Shelbyville, Tenn., which has a population of about 16,000, has his eyes on the NBA. But he’s a 170-pounder who doesn’t post big scoring totals.
He tried out twice for the Memphis Grizzlies prior to the NBA Draft, and they told him some overseas experience could do him some good.
So Stewart signed with Trier. The town was founded around 16 B.C. and resides in the western part of the country.
Stewart’s first trip outside the United States was a few weeks ago, when he got introduced to the team and the town.
“It’s a small place, so it’s not bad,” Stewart said Thursday. “I like it.”
Trier, 10-24 last season, is coached by Henrik Rödl, who Stewart said expects him to contribute right away. Rödl played his college ball at North Carolina for Dean Smith and then professionally in Germany, and he was also a member of the national team.
His team’s style will be familiar to Stewart, because it’s predicated on up-tempo play and defense. In MSU coach Rick Stansbury’s book, tough defense and rebounding lead to easy transition buckets, and Stewart was his best defender.
“I talked to the coach, and he said he watched us play, and he said it’s going to be a lot of up and down and shooting,” Stewart said. “It’s going to be a quicker tempo.”
Stewart left MSU as its all-time leader in 3-pointers made. He also ranks first in 3-point attempts.
This past season, Stewart averaged 11.8 points and 3.6 rebounds per game, and he shot 35.1 percent from 3-point range (37.4 percent overall).
Jarvis Varnado, his teammate for four years in Starkville, was drafted by Miami and is fighting for a roster spot. Stewart hopes to get his own NBA shot someday soon.
He’ll be back in Trier on Aug. 14 to report for preseason camp.
“I’m going to get over there and get better,” he said. “The plan right now is to help the team how I can, and whatever happens after that, happens.
“I’m just looking forward to the opportunity.”
Contact Brad Locke at 678-1571