Dionte Ferguson may have to do that from time to time when he takes that 10-hour flight to Spain next month.
“Hopefully I’ll sleep the whole time,” Ferguson said with a laugh. “Have some leg room.”
Just another part of his plan to one day play in the NBA.
The Prattville graduate was looking to play overseas for a year to work on his weaknesses and be better prepared to play in the NBA Summer League next year. He’ll get that shot next month as Ferguson has signed to play with Baloncesto Agustinos Eras.
“It’s an opportunity for me to go over there and work on my craft and work on certain things coaches and scouts want to see me work on,” said Ferguson, who had a team from Luxembourg make him an offer earlier this summer.
If he plays well, Ferguson will have a chance to join a better team during the season and face even tougher competition. It’s all part of a process he believes will pay off later
“It’s a great opportunity,” said Ferguson, who had teams from Germany, Spain, Greece, Switzerland and Chile show interest.
Ferguson posted 24 double-doubles his senior year at Prattville and led South Alabama in offensive rebounds (98) and blocked shots (51) last season, but NBA teams aren’t asking a 6-foot, 6-inch, 220-pound forward to do those things on the regular.
What Ferguson has to show is the ability to handle the ball in the open court, make good decisions and consistently knock down that 3-ball be it in transition or in the halfcourt. He’s going overseas to work on those areas.
“They know I can drive the ball and get to cup and all that,” Ferguson said. “Most teams really want to see that I can handle the ball in transition and push the ball up the court and hit the three at a constant level.”
After averaging 11.5 points and 6.7 rebounds his senior season at South Alabama, Ferguson graduated in May and later that month put his skills to the test – or had his skills put to the test. Ferguson spent a little more than two weeks in Houston working with former NBA player John Lucas, who has become a go-to guy for players to develop their game for the college or pro level.
With the way they get down there, it probably felt like two years of training for Ferguson.
“We worked out three times a day,” Ferguson said. “In the morning, we did a lot of skill work, 5-on-5, 2-on-2, 1-on-1 stuff. Shooting in the afternoon. Then the last workout was usually pick up games. I got a lot of drills out of it. Ball handling drills. Shooting drills in which you work on form. It was good thing for me because I played some of the top competition.”
Ferguson found himself surrounded by talented college players such as former Alabama guard Trevor Lacey, who is now at N.C. State, Troy Williams (Indiana), 7-footer AJ Hammons (Purdue), Justin Jackson (North Carolina) and Wayne Selden Jr. (Kansas). Ferguson said former Crimson Tide guard Levi Randolph was there as well as point guard Tim Frazier of the Portland Trail Blazers and John Lucas’ son, JL III, who played for the Detroit Pistons last season.
“It was probably the best competition I played against,” Ferguson said. “It definitely showed me my weaknesses on what I need to work on. I feel I grew a lot from that. I plan on going back next year when I get back.”
Having to compete and train at that level made Ferguson truly understand what he needs to improve upon to take his game to that necessary level to compete for an NBA roster spot someday.
So Ferguson knows what he has to do overseas. If he does those things, he’ll take another huge step to forcing an NBA team to make room for him in the future.