Blast from the Past: Ryan Zamroz

Zamroz  lays the ball in for the Riders. Image: Ville Vuorinen

Zamroz lays the ball in for the Riders. Image: Ville Vuorinen

Ryan Zamroz had an impressive season with Leicester Riders in 2010-11 and believes his time in the BBL was a good platform for bigger things in Europe.

The 26 year-old averaged 18.4 points per game with the Riders and has gone on to excel in spells in Sweden and France since.

“I enjoyed my time with Leicester. Although I had played a season in Australia, the UK was my first introduction to Pro basketball in Europe and helped establish my career here.

“The UK is a beautiful place with a lot to see and playing with Leicester allowed me to see and experience it.  Not to mention meeting some great people there in Leicester as well!” Zamroz added.

Zamroz has kept in contact with his former head-coach Rob Paternostro and General Manager Russell Levenston, as well as Riders’ fans, and was pleased to see his former side triumph last season with a historic treble.

“I have followed Leicester’s team success since I left there and I was very excited for them this past season when they won just about everything in the BBL.  I know that Russell (Levenston) and Rob (Paternostro) work hard to find the right players and it looks like they have found a group that they will continue to be good with for years to come.”

Prior to his time with the Riders, Zamroz spent four years at Master’s College (2005-09) growing as a player every year before joining the Geraldton Buccaneers in Australia where he claimed the SBL-MVP award after averaging 28.9 ppg in 2010.

The 6’4″ guard caught the eye of Paternostro and came to the UK in high-regard and he believes his sole season in the BBL was a learning curve.

Zamroz said: “Playing in the BBL introduced me to playing against players with size and athleticism, that I had not competed against too often before. The NAIA is a very good standard of basketball, but night in and night out, I just didn’t see the standard of players I played against in the BBL.

“Playing in the BBL really helped me adapt my game to be able to score and be efficient against players bigger and more athletic than me.”

As is the way with European basketball, one season stints are very common and after a consistent year with Leicester, Zamroz managed to secure a contract with Swedish side Borås.

The combo-guard made a good impression, helping his new side to the semi-finals and finishing the season with an average of 16.2 points in 45 games

Ryan Zamroz

Zamroz in action for Boras in Sweden. Image: Christian Johansson/Papac

“So far, my experience in Sweden has been by far the most professional experience of my playing career.  The club did simple but important things in making players feel valued and like true basketball professionals.”

Zamroz believes the Pro-B in France can match that standard after making the step up following a successful 2012-13 season in the NM1 league.

Sorgues were the beneficiaries of the Italian-American’s talent after he poured in 18.6 ppg with an impressive 43.1% 3-point shooting accuracy, which has been evident throughout his professional career, having consistenly been above the 40% mark and earning the reputation as a sharpshooter from downtown.

“I was able to have a good season here in France last season in NM1 so I knew that there could be an opportunity for me to move up to ProB and again try to prove myself at a higher level.  I had some really good interest in Spain which was tempting, but all in all it was easier to take a deal in France.”

“My wife and I also had a daughter here in France last season, so we were comfortable coming back as everything is in place for the medical system for her,” the proud father added.

Zamroz joins another former BBL player Harry Disy (Worcester) at Saint Vallier and is ‘looking forward to a new challenge’ whilst again aiming to show his capabilities as a player in helping SVBD be successful. The LNB Pro-B consists of 18 teams which will be split regionally, this year, into three groups of six with 44 games played by each team.

“I am comfortable with how the coach wants to use me and what he expects from me which is always a good situation to be in.  I hope to help my team win and play well in the process.  The first goal would be to finish as high as possible in the standings and then see what we can do in the playoffs.”

The 26 year-old is not looking too far ahead at this stage but has always had the goal of playing in Italy because of his citizenship and would even consider stepping up once again in France.

“I am happy with the level I am at right now in France, but I don’t think it’s unrealistic to aim fro Pro-A or some of the leagues in Italy and Spain if I play well here and IF the right situation arises where a team needs a player with my skill-set.”

Zamroz added: “As far as the futures goes, I am not sure what the next step will be, but I know if I just give 100% to my team now, God will take care of where I end up for the upcoming seasons.”

To see who Zamroz fares in France this season check out the French LNB website and you can also follow the adventures of Ryan and his wife Stacy over at http://www.ryanandstacyzamroz.blogspot.fr/

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