The University of Maine men’s basketball team is sending another one of its former players to the professional ranks. A four-year all-conference player, Gerald McLemore, will be headed to Montevideo, Uruguay to start his professional career with Defensor Sporting.
McLemore was excited for the opportunity to be able to play after college, but there was some anxiousness during the process of finding a team.
“It was exciting, I didn’t know where I would be playing, I knew I was going to play somewhere, but it could have been anywhere between Turkey, Israel, and South America,” McLemore said. “I was very anxious, but I was exited after I found out where I was actually going to play. Once I found out, I let my family and friends know.”
Many UMaine players find opportunities to play overseas after graduation, with McLemore being the most recent after former Black Bear Troy Barnies signed with a Turkish team Istanbulspor last year. Performing well during college and the help of an agent came a long way for McLemore in his search for a professional team according to head coach Ted Woodward.
“Gerald was an all-conference player all four years, which is a rare feat,” Woodward said. “[He] has an agent who promoted him and looked for opportunities for him to play overseas. We’ve had a lot of players go play overseas, Troy Barnies did last year and Gerald is getting a chance this year.”
McLemore holds the school record in three-pointers made as well as foul-shot percentage, with 102 three-pointers made in 2009-2010 and 92 percent foul shot percentage in 2011-2012. He averaged 14.3 points-per-game over his career at UMaine, and finished with 1,657 points, third best in school history.
Nobody is sure how much of an impact he will make right out of the gate, but McLemore has an idea as to what positions he might be playing.
“I could be a combo guard; they will probably have me at shooting guard, maybe bringing the ball up. They are a very guard oriented team,” McLemore said.
Making the transition from life in the United States to Montevideo, Uruguay might be tough. But having already made a big move from San Diego, California to Orono, Maine, McLemore thinks this current move will be a little bit smoother, citing language and cultural similarities between his hometown and new town.
“I don’t know if it will be that hard of a transition,” he said. “I’m from San Diego; there are a lot of Spanish-speaking people being on the border of Mexico. Going to South America won’t be as hard as going to Israel. It’s definitely going to be a different transition. I know a little Spanish and I’ll have a translator, so I feel like I can make the transition a little bit easier.”
He also knows he will have a couple of American teammates.
“I talked to a couple of the players on Facebook. I know of a player from California there. It’s possible there might be one more American there, from South Carolina State [University],” McLemore said.
Defensor Sporting last won the Liga Uruguaya Championship in 2010, and holds the most First Division titles with 20.