July 19, 2012; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Cleveland Cavaliers forward Tristan Thompson (14) guards Minnesota Timberwolves guard Zabian Dowdell (22) during the game against the Cleveland Cavaliers at Cox Pavilion. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports
In the previous article, we started to examine former Hokie players and what career paths they took as they left Blacksburg. Last time, Hokie football stars Bryan Randall, and Kevin Jones were the focus of the article. This time, we examine two former Hokie hardwood stars.
A very popular player was a freshman on the hardwood when Kevin Jones was finishing his career on the gridiron. Zabian Dowdell was a stellar player for four years with the Hokies. In his four years, Dowdell received multiple honors such as All-ACC first team and being placed on the All-ACC defensive team.
Zabian Dowdell also led the Hokies to a birth in the NIT tournament and in his senior campaign a birth in the NCAA tournament. The Hokies won their first round game. This was the first win in the NCAA tournament since 1996 and is the last time the Hokies have been in the tournament.
Following his senior season, Dowdell was an undrafted free agent and played in the NBA summer league with the Seattle Supersonics, however he did not make the team. Dowdell traveled overseas to continue his basketball career where he played for teams in France as well as Italy.
In 2010, Zabian Dowdell played in the summer league with the Phoenix Suns and eventually he signed a ten day contract in January of 2011. Dowdell performed well and was rewarded with another 10 day contract and eventually being signed for the rest of the season.
His NBA career was short lived as the next year he signed with the Tulsa 66ers of the NBA development league Dowdell decided to leave the D-league and sign with a Spanish professional team. Dowdell bounced around Europe with different teams before signing with a team out of Lithuania, where he still plays.
Nov 15, 2013; Blacksburg, VA, USA; Virginia Tech Hokies fans cheer. The Hokies defeated the Western Carolina Catamounts 79-61 at Cassell Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports
Along with Zabian Dowdell, Malcolm Delaney experienced great success on the Hokie hardwood. Delaney, like Dowdell played four seasons for the Hokies. Malcolm Delaney was an honorable mention All-American for the Hokies and led the ACC in scoring his junior year. Malcolm Delaneydecided to enter the NBA draft after his junior year but pulled his name out at the last minute to return to the Hokies for one more year.
After his senior year, Delaney went undrafted and signed over seas with a top French professional team. The next year Delaney signed with a team out of Kiev Ukraine. In 2013, Delaney signed with Bayern Munich. Malcolm Delaney experienced great success with his German team, winning the league MVP in April. During his season with Bayern, Delaney had an opportunity to achieve his NBA dream as there was interest in his services from the Huston Rockets.
However, Delaney was unable to get out of his contract with Bayern and stayed with his team to help them for the rest of the season. Hopefully this will not be the only chance Malcolm Delaney will get to play in the NBA. I am sure all Hokie fans would love to see him get a chance to showcase his skills for a NBA team.
These two players have proven that being un-drafted is not the end to a players basketball career. Each one has had success outside of the NBA and look to continue that success. Also, these two Hokies have shown that hard work will pay off as both have had opportunities to make it back to the United States to play in the most popular basketball league in the world. Join us for the next article where we examine two more Hokie alumni and their paths to a professional career.
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