The University of Oklahoma had a great season last year, making it to the Final Four of the NCAA tournament. It wouldn’t have been possible without standouts Buddy Hield, Isaiah Cousins and Ryan Spangler.
Buddy and Isaiah obviously got drafted and are on their way to promising professional careers, but what happened to Ryan Spangler?
Well, he’s been working in silence. Going undrafted, but was invited to play on the Thunder’s summer league team in Orlando, Florida. Spangler worked out for Oklahoma City prior to the NBA Draft.
In Ryan’s position, not getting drafted, he presumably joined OKC’s summer league squad with other intentions than to actually make that NBA roster. Trying out for a stacked team like Oklahoma City makes it pretty obvious that he wouldn’t actually make the team. He was looking for a spot on the Oklahoma City Blue team, or better yet, landing a deal with a team overseas. That’s what he did, agreeing to a contract with Japanese champions Toshiba Brave Thunders Kanagawa.
Spangler was one of Oklahoma’s best athletes in high school in both football and basketball, which parlayed into a very successful collegiate career, going one year at Gonzaga before returning home and playing for the Sooners for the remainder of his college career.
Although Spangler was a very respected and talented player for the Sooners, he lacks size for his position, (6’8, 245) playing the power forward position…at least in the NBA. His sub-par leaping ability would hamper him against the average NBA post player, but overseas, where players aren’t necessarily as massive, he can have a great impact on a team overseas.
Another player that has gone overseas and made a huge impact on a team is Le’Bryan Nash, former Oklahoma State standout. He just finished his first season with the Fukushima Firebonds of the Japenese b-j league, averaging 26.6 points, 8.1 rebounds, and 3.1 assists. He also earned Best Five Team honors.
Although Spangler will more than likely remain overseas, his game could develop to NBA standards and a team may take a chance on him in the future.