JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (August 5, 2004) - Former East Tennessee State University men's basketball standouts Jerald Fields (Gainesville, Fla.) and Zakee Wadood (Lonoke, Ark.) have announced that they will continue their playing careers in Spain later this year. The two signed professional contracts in July and will soon cross the Atlantic Ocean to begin preparation for the upcoming season.
The top professional league in Spain is the ACB, while the two developmental divisions include LEB1 and LEB2. Wadood will play for Ourense, which competes in LEB1, while Fields will play for La Laguna, which competes in LEB2. There are 16 teams in both LEB1 and LEB2.
"I think this is a great opportunity for both Jerald and Zakee," said ETSU head coach Murry Bartow. "It's obviously well deserved, and from talking to some people it sounds like they both should do well."
The Southern Conference Player of the Year in 2003-04, Wadood led the Bucs in rebounding (8.0 rpg) and blocked shots (70), while finishing second on the squad with an average of 14.8 points per game. Wadood ended his career sixth all-time with 1,382 points, and finished atop the school's all-time block list with (182).
"I'm just happy to still be playing after college," Wadood said. "I think it's an opportunity to put up numbers and see where it goes from there. My agent's told me about a lot of guys that got their start in Spain and ended up playing in the NBA. That's my dream."
Meanwhile, Fields ended last season as an All-SoCon selection, finishing second on the team in rebounds (6.5 rpg) and third in points (13.3 ppg). Fields also finished his career among the best scorers in ETSU history, placing eighth on the all-time list with 1,351 points. He also finished third in program history with 167 blocks.
"I'm going to the Canary Islands," Fields said. "It's going to be nice, but most important is that I'm happy to still be playing basketball. It's a stepping stone to get where I think I really want to go. I'm just glad Zak and I are getting this opportunity."
The fact that Wadood and Fields will be going to the same league should be no surprise to many ETSU fans, considering the two were inseparable during their college years. However, there is the chance the two will play against one another in Spain. That will be a change.
"There's a chance somewhere down the line that Jerald and I could play against each other," Wadood said. "That would be kind of odd after playing with him for so long at ETSU."
For more information on the LEB1 and LEB2 leagues, visit www.eurobasket.com and click on the link for Spain located under the Europe drop-down menu.