Huff readying for Italian challenge
GRAND FORKS — Former UND standout Troy Huff’s long-term goal is to play professional basketball in the United States, but his first step on that path will take him to northern Italy.
Huff has signed a one-year contract to play for Mobyt Ferrara, which plays in the Italian A2 Silver League.
Huff is about a month away from heading to Ferrara, a town of just more than 130,000 people. His contract includes a two-bedroom apartment and a car.
“This popped up, and it was kind of something that I couldn’t pass up,” Huff said. “My agent brought the whole thing to me, and he thought it was a really good place to start. I did some research and looked at the league, and it appealed to me.”
Huff doesn’t know any Italian, but he said he has been downloading applications for his cell phone to help learn some of the common phrases.
“It sounds like a really beautiful place,” Huff said. “It’ll be a chance to see other places, too. I think it’s four hours from Rome. I’m excited to get there and check it out.”
Hitting the gym
Huff has spent the last two months working out in Arizona, where he’s been focused on getting faster and more flexible.
Huff also said he’s working on getting his shot off quicker and dribbling lower. With his size at the next level, he’ll likely shift from a small forward position to either a shooting guard or point guard, he said.
Huff is back in Grand Forks this week and plans to work out at his old high school in Milwaukee before heading to Italy in the middle of August.
“It’s all happening so fast, it’ll be here before we know it,” Huff said.
Mobyt Ferrara finished last season tied for fourth among 16 teams and advanced to the semifinals of the league’s playoffs.
Last season, Mobyt Ferrara featured Americans Julius Mays (Kentucky) and Milton Jennings (Clemson) and Huff is set to join that duo for the 2014-15 campaign, which begins in early October. Mays, a 6-foot-2 guard, led the team in scoring a year ago at 16.0 points per game, while Jennings, a 6-foot-9 forward, was second at 12.8 points per game.
“I’ll come back here next year and try the whole NBA thing again,” Huff said of a possible deal with an NBA Summer League team. “If not, it’ll open up more doors next year for opportunities in Europe. It’s not a bad thing either way, but my goal is definitely to play here someday.”
Huff, UND’s third all-time leading scorer with 2,005 points, was a unanimous first-team, all-Big Sky selection each of the last two seasons. He helped UND to a runner-up finish in the Big Sky Conference postseason tournament, one win away from getting UND to the NCAA tournament for the first time.