William Buford will begin his professional basketball career overseas.
The former Libbey and Ohio State star will play this season in Santiago, Spain for Club Obradoiro in one of Europe's top leagues after he decided it would be a long shot to make an NBA roster as a rookie. Buford, who was named Mr. Ohio as the state's top basketball player in 2008 and started four years at OSU, played for the Minnesota Timberwolves' in the NBA Summer League.
"I just thought this was a great opportunity," Buford said during his introductory news conference. "I thought trying to make it to the NBA this year was kind of a risk, so I figured why not come to the best league besides the NBA."
Terms of Buford's deal were undisclosed. Obradoiro is a member of the 18-team Liga ACB — the top men's basketball league in a six-tiered Spanish system. League alums include current NBA players Ricky Rubio, Pau Gasol, Marc Gasol, Serge Ibaka, Jose Calderon, and Andres Nocioni.
Buford, one of two Americans on Club Obradoiro along with former Purdue star and Timberwolves second-round draft pick Robbie Hummel, said playing in the NBA was his ultimate goal but called his latest venture "the opportunity of a lifetime."
"I'm just excited and ready to work hard, come in and try to earn a spot," Buford said.