Read the first and the second part of Brent Petway’s career recollections as he wrote them himself for Eurohoops.
Sassari and alcohol
Coming off of two years at Olympiacos playing at a pretty good level, but not great numbers on the stat sheet because my job on the court was different, for some unknown reason my agents could not find a job for me. To me, it was strange at first, because they told me that some teams were saying that Olympiacos told them I needed surgery on my shoulder and I’m thinking to myself “how can that be when I just finished the last two months of the season playing all these games.”
My agents really lucked up and didn’t have to do any work for the first two contracts I got. I pretty much did everything. First, in Rethymno, I got that contract and they just handled the particulars, and Olympiacos sought me out because I played well against them and I was doing pretty well in Greek League. Little did I know, I would be the lowest paid on the team. The young Greeks on the roster might have been making more than me, and that’s all because my agents were scared to push for more.
They wanted to build a relationship with the club I guess. My US agent was Andre Buck and I never really dealt with him. He was just the partner. I originally was just talking to Marios Olympios and he was really cool. I thought he was a guy who really was looking out for my best interests. They both turned out to be just like every other agent I had previously, where I was nothing but a quick come up for them to get their little percentage off of the contract with little attention paid to actual situations that would benefit my play style and coaches who really wanted me.
Buck only cares about the guys that he knows from Philly and that’s cool but don’t recruit or work for players if you give a sh..t about them, is what I’m saying to agents. So they sit waiting, I presume all summer, to the point where I send the letter to fire them, then all of a sudden they have a deal on the table from Sassari. Telling me how much they want me, and they want me to be a leader on the team, their coach is gonna let me play. Sounds good to me so I’m like “ok let’s do it!”
I get there and this is no exaggeration, after the second preseason game I tell my agents “yo, I am not going to fit in with the team. It’s a different philosophy here, and I don’t fit with this locker room at all.”
We had six foreigners, six talented foreigners and they all wanted to average 20. Marquez Haynes an explosive scorer, David Logan just came back and he won the Triple Crown in Italy with this very team so of course, he was the man already and deserved to get any shot he wanted, he was proven there already. Jarvis Varnado coming from the Miami Heat, Christian Eyenga, younger and trying to level up put his footprint on Europe. Joe Alexander, one of the best one-on-one players I have seen in Europe. So you have all these guys who want the ball and the GM is telling all of them that they are going to have the ball. The problem with that is there are only so many possessions in a game. Somebody is going to be upset that they didn’t get their shots.
Not to mention Rok Stipcevic. He also wants his shots as he is playing behind Haynes. So he is trying to get his up as soon as he gets off the bench. Rok you also did some BS against CSKA telling me one thing, while the coach tells me another. Teodosic hits a three and the coach is screaming at me asking why I didn’t hedge out. Rok puts his head down like a scalded dog and doesn’t offer up any words. I’m no snitch though, so I took the blame, then again in the film session, the same possession happened and the coach says it again and I purposefully turn my head and look at Rok and he does the same thing.
That let me know this team was selfish as hell. I should have squealed like a pig and told exactly what happened but I let it ride and just never respected him for the rest of the year. Here I am coming from a ball movement philosophy type team, where communication was key to a situation where “I gotta get mine, maybe I’ll talk maybe, I won’t” type situation and I was a fish out of water. I played like absolute trash all year. There is no denying that. I can count on one hand the games I left the gym actually ok with my play.
I told my agents to get me out of there early and this is what Andre Buck told me. “You’re getting paid on time right?” My reply “uhhh yea?” He says “then chill and we will see what we can do.” I probably should have cursed him out right then and there, but I was kind of in a state of shock like “did he really just say that to me.”
Now I told the team I wasn’t happy and I wanted to leave. They said, “no we wanna keep you here.” TEAMS listen to me, you can’t force a situation to work. IF A PLAYER TELLS YOU HE DOESN’T FIT, it’s not because he wants to go home and vacation. HE REALLY IS DOWN TO THE LAST STRAW. Sassari didn’t wanna hear that, they were like: “Nope Petway you not going anywhere, we don’t care how bad you feel or how bad you play”. It was a move I’ll never understand because it didn’t help either side. Keeping me there while I’m playing terribly, and not happy. So neither party is happy, that makes zero sense to me.
How many times have I said that about clubs and their reactions? Marios told me Cantu was willing to pick me if Sassari would let me go and probably Sassari said no because if I had gone to Cantu and started playing better, they would look bad. So they just keep good-old Petway there where he is miserable and can’t make a lay-up. Literally, I was out there missing lay-ups.
I had already struggled with my confidence before. But at this point, I’m not happy, I’m not having any fun, for the first time in life I am dreading going to the gym every day. It was just all bad. Then you have these fans and media talking about you and how bad you are playing, (like you don’t already know). I went into such a state of depression it might as well have been a constant thunderstorm in my house.
Again I couldn’t let anybody see that though, so I turned to alcohol, not to the point of being an alcoholic, but it was a coping device for me at the house playing music and drinking because there was very little to do in Sassari besides eating, sleep and go to the gym. With the right situation, it’s perfect for basketball. This was the longest season for me, not in terms of months being there, but every day once we started playing games by November I was struggling to wake up and literally not kill myself. That started to be a real fight and I’m telling my agents almost every week that I’m struggling mentally there, but they don’t give a damn.
Meanwhile, to myself, I am again saying: “I’m not playing well so no other agents are gonna wanna help me out either so I’m pretty much stuck.” To put the season in perspective, two coaches resigned, saying they just couldn’t handle the team or could not control it. The GM had to take over and finish the season as the coach. I remember one instance I got hurt on a Saturday game or something so I didn’t practice Monday and Tuesday, but Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday I did the whole practice and we have an away game. Now at that point, we are six foreigners, so we are doing the whole one guy sits out thing in the Italian league.
So we are at the airport and the coach Marco Calvani, a good dude but in a bad situation for him, asks me how I feel and if I feel like I can play. In my head, I’m like “yo I just practiced three days straight with no complaints why is he asking me this now?” As usual, I tell him I’m good. Then we get to our destination, watch the film and he starts talking about the matchups and says again “we will see how Brent feels if he can play or not.” I’m saying, the coach just asked me if I could go and I told him “yea, right“. So now the wheels in my head start turning and I’m thinking, “they must want somebody else to play, so they keep bringing this shit up about IF I can play.” After the film, he calls me in again. “So Brent how do you feel, do you think you can play?’ “I was fed up at this point with the whole year and told him “Nah if you all want somebody else to play, let them play.”
I wasn’t mad or anything because as I said I looked in the mirror, knew I was playing like some garbage juice, so if you wanna play someone else and sit me, you don’t have to play these games, just tell me “Brent we’re going with such and such”. I would have been just fine with that. I left that room, got on the phone since I knew I wasn’t playing tomorrow, and got a friend to come and hang out and thought nothing more about it. I supported the team, we lost – ok it happens – get back to Sassari.
Monday afternoon the GM (who would eventually take over as coach) calls me into the office and puts down a piece of paper and a pen and says “Sign this” like he is freaking Don Corleone or somebody. I ain’t even trip, I signed that paper with no objections – I mean technically I was wrong – but he says “Oh, the coach told me you said you didn’t wanna play”. I say “why the f**k do you all ask me three different times in two days if I could play after I had practiced three full days before the game.” What was with the little mind games?
But I charged that one to the game. I did what I did, it was wrong, but at the time I didn’t feel it was wrong at all. You be the judge. That was the one time where I can say I did something unbecoming of a professional. That was a wake-up call to myself that really had stopped giving a damn about basketball and this place had ruined the game I loved so much for me.
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