Perhaps predictably, there was a lengthy list of pros and cons to being a stranger in a strange land this past year for Josh Scott.
After putting together one of the most impressive careers in the history of the Colorado men's basketball program, Scott spent his first professional season toiling away in Macedonia.
There were plenty of on-the-court lessons for the 6-foot-10 Scott, from learning how to work with a four-person coaching staff that delegated responsibilities almost equally to a style of game that forced Scott to continue honing his mid-range jumper instead of relying on a consistent number of post touches.
And, of course, there were plenty of off-the-floor lessons too, from a language barrier to learning the nuances of being a professional to living in a politically-charged country in which the politics were foreign. (Think the political atmosphere in the U.S. is toxic? Former Macedonia prime minister Nikola Gruevski and many of his former high-level cabinet-type posts have been charged in a sweeping voter fraud scandal.)
Back at CU this week to train with Team Colorado for the $2 million winner-take-all The Basketball Tournament, Scott reports the adventurous year provided a unique learning experience.
"Basketball-wise I thought I played well, but the team didn't do so well," Scott said. "Your rookie year is certainly a grind. It's definitely a different lifestyle. In Macedonia, they're all about family and friendship. Once you get into one of their circles they keep you close. Very friendly people and they like their sports.
"Food, I ate a lot of chicken. You don't have fast food on every corner. It's crazy there politically. I learned a lot about politics too, living in another country."
Scott is expected to provide a critical infusion of both youth and paint prowess for Team Colorado, but the squad of former Buffaloes standouts will have to make solid strides toward a repeat run into the title game in order for that to happen.
While Scott has been training with Team Colorado and hopes to help them in a few weeks, he also recently accepted an invitation to play on the NBA Summer League team of the Portland Trail Blazers (including a July 11 date against Derrick White and the Spurs). Scott plans to join Team Colorado as soon as his commitments with the Trail Blazers are complete, yet the timing will be fluid.
The postseason for the Las Vegas summer league begins July 12. Team Colorado plays its first TBT game on July 15, conveniently also in Las Vegas. If Scott is unable to join the former Buffs for the first two TBT games on July 15-16, he will join them for the Super 16 in New York beginning July 20 if they advance.
"I told them from the get-go, months ago, the summer league is going to come first," said Scott, who graduated in 2016 ranked third all-time at CU in rebounding and eighth in scoring. "They should've won last year. They're already talented, so hopefully we can take it to that next step."