Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Early entries: Beware of cow tongue

Newly hired Duke assistant coach Nate James was served cow tongue as a professional player in Russia.

When he played in Hungary, the food was so bad that he said he found an Italian restaurant and ate spaghetti there every day for six months with former Duke teammate Casey Sanders.
In Japan, he ate rice and noodles for seven months straight.

“You had to get really good with chopsticks,” he said Wednesday as he met with the local media. “If you asked for a knife and a fork, they looked at you sideways.”

James said he has played for eight teams overseas and had well-traveled advice for players considering leaving college early. Sixty-nine underclassmen – including North Carolina’s Danny Green, Wayne Ellington and Ty Lawson – have applied for the draft.

Some won’t sign with agents and will return to school. Some may not be first-round picks and could end up overseas.

Having been there, James said they’re better off staying in school than playing in a cold gym in Bosnia. Overseas, he said, they could end up sleeping on mattresses with springs that poke them in the back.

James taped his own ankles overseas and sometimes had to go to restaurants to get ice to treat minor injuries.

“The money may be good,” James said. “But you may not be happy.”

– Ken Tysiac