Welcome to another edition of “Where Are They Now?” For the unfamiliar, we at Sheridan Hoops track down the stars of yesteryear and inform you, the reader, of where it is they have ended up.
From ex-NBA standouts to college basketball award winners, we’re determined to find every player you shouldn’t have forgotten about. Not only are many of these players still contributing at a high level, but they’re upholding the standard that fans once set for them when they were in the American spotlight.
Just remember—the NBA isn’t the only place for stars to shine.
Before they made their move to the ACC, the Boston College Eagles were a Big East powerhouse. A major reason for their success was a 6’1” point guard named Troy Bell.
In four years with the team, Bell won two Big East Player of the Year awards and was honored with two second-team All-American selections. For all of the individual praise, the more rewarding aspect was the fact that Bell led BC to a significant amount of team success.
Boston College won the 2001 Big East regular season and Tournament titles, thus propelling the team to national notoriety. Bell’s uncanny ability to come up big with the game on the line was a major reason why.
He led the Big East in scoring in 2001-02 and 2002-03—yes, folks, he out-scored Carmelo Anthony. With his profile high, Bell entered the 2003 NBA Draft with a growing fan base. This helped push Bell get selected by the local Boston Celtics with the 16th overall selection.
Unfortunately, his Boston reunion was short-lived, as the Cs traded him to the Memphis Grizzlies. After playing just six games in the NBA, Bell moved overseas.
Bell has played for multiple teams in Italy, France and Germany since 2004. He received his European start with the famed Real Madrid club, which helped set him on the path he now follows. Bell proceeded to play for Skyliners Frankfurt of Germany before returning to the U.S. for a stint in the D-League.
Since then, Bell has been all around Italy. In fact, he’s made six different stints throughout Italy since 2007. Fortunately, Bell’s unparalleled ability to light up a scoreboard has followed him regardless of where he goes.
Most recently, Bell was called up to Serie A with Pallacanestro Reggiana. The former BC star is receiving quality playing time and producing accordingly.
2. Nik Caner-Medley
Less than a decade ago, Nik Caner-Medley was one of the most respected players in all of college basketball. He was a consistent contributor on a Maryland Terrapins team that was always in the ACC title conversation, making noise when tasked with defeating higher-ranked opponents.
Caner-Medley’s ability to work it inside or step out for a three was a major reason why the Terrapins were so successful.
Coached by Gary Williams, Caner-Medley was your quintessential hard-nose Maryland player. He dove for loose balls, embraced the challenge of scoring on taller defenders and was exceptional at drawing contact on the low block—more importantly, he was superb at finding a way to finish.
For perspective into how hard Caner-Medley worked, note that the final game of his career came with 16 points, eight rebounds, four assists and three steals. This kid was a true grinder and he did everything he could to help his team win.
Since graduating in 2006, Caner-Medley has put together a phenomenal international career. Not only has he found a way to contribute on various teams in numerous countries, but he became one of the best players in the Spanish ACB league.
As a member of Valencia, Caner-Medley was fifth in scoring and first in rebounds during the 2010-11 ACB season. As a result, he was a four-time MVP of the Week and made an appearance on the All-ACB First Team at season’s end.
Unfortunately, Caner-Medley was unable to win the Eurocup title as his efforts fell short in the Finals against Khimki of Russia. Even still, NCM received praise for his monstrous season, both in league and Eurocup play.
This helped Caner-Medley draw the interest of international power Maccabi Tel Aviv.
That’s where the former Maryland Terrapin is now. Oddly, his numbers and playing time have been capped, despite the immense success he’s experienced elsewhere.
Chances are, Caner-Medley will turn it around—recent history says so, at least.
Last week, we covered Vermont great Marqus Blakely. This week, we touch upon the man who is, arguably, the greatest player in the history of the school.
NCAA Tournament hero Taylor Coppenrath.
From 2001 to 2005, Coppenrath was a three-time America East Conference Player of the Year. The one year he failed to win the honor, he won the America East Rookie of the Year award.
To put it simply, Coppenrath is one of the greatest players in America East history. But that’s a topic for another day.
In one of the most legendary games in NCAA Tournament history—notice a trend?—Coppenrath led the Catamounts to a 60-57 upset of Syracuse. Vermont was a 13-seed, while Syracuse was a heavily favored 4-seed.
Before favorites dropped left and right—a product of the one-and-done—Vermont’s upset of Syracuse was viewed as one of the greatest of all-time. This merely added to Coppenrath’s legend as one of the best of his generation.
Since his college career, Coppenrath has gone straight to Europe and contributed at a reputable level. He’s been in Spain since 2007 and continues to provide double-digit scoring and quality rebounding numbers.
As it presently stands, Coppenrath is playing for Lucentum Alicante of the Spanish LEB. He’s averaging 13.7 points and 5.7 rebounds in 24.8 minutes of action during league play.
He may not be a European legend as he was in Vermont, but Coppenrath is faring quite well.
4. Ike Diogu
For fans of NBA 2K, Ike Diogu is a powerful player that knows how to attack the basket and finish with authority. For NBA fans, Diogu was a quality contributor who played for six teams in as many seasons.
For those who truly remember Diogu, however, we all know why he was the ninth overall draft choice in 2009—he’s a downright monster who efficiently dominated the college game.
Diogu finished his three-year career at Arizona State with all of the hardware that you could ask of him. With a 7’4″ wingspan, wide frame and overpowering strength, Diogu dominated the Pac-12 en route to two postseason awards and one All-American selection.
Those awards were the Pac-12 Freshman and Player of the Year awards.
In three years with the Sun Devils, Diogu averaged 21.4 points, 8.8 rebounds and 1.7 blocks per game. He posted those numbers on a slash line of .572/.387/.786—efficient and dominant.
Unfortunately, Diogu never saw consistent playing time in the NBA.
After six seasons, Diogu finished with averages 6.0 points and 3.1 rebounds in 12.4 minutes per game. He made 18 starts, played in 225 games and shot 50.9 percent from the floor. Even still, Diugu was limited in playing time.
This past Summer, Diogu played for the Nigerian national team at the 2012 London Olympics. He averaged 16.6 points and 10.8 assists while in London, thus prefacing his currently successful international tour.
Diogu has played in China and Puerto Rico over the past year, eventually finding a home with the Guangdong Southern Tigers. With the team, Diogu has re-discovered his elite level of play and is dominating both on the glass and scoreboard.
It’s simply more of the same from this former Sun Devil.