The Pro-File – Eric Kibi, The Close Out
We are back with another edition of The Pro-File and come from Germany with Ottawa’s Eric Kibi who talks about professionalism, finishing the season strong and coming home soon right here …
Eric Kibi is an Ottawa native who has been playing basketball away from home since high school. He left the Capital to finish high school in New Mexico leading the state in rebounding as a senior eventually receiving All State honors. He would end up at Jacksonville College where he would again earn accolades, honorable mention all conference as a freshman and then a First Team nod as a sophomore leading the team in scoring (16.5) and rebounding (9.0) and to a junior college regional tournament appearance. He would play one season at Arkansas-Little Rock before transferring to then Division II Abilene Christian for his senior season in 2011-12 where he averaged 8.2 points and 5.7 rebounds in 20 games. Eric would play his first pro season in Germany for Halstenbek/Pinneberg and then play his second for the Ottawa Skyhawks in the NBL Canada. He’s currently applying his trade in Germany once again for Rendsburg where’s he’s averaging 21.4 points, 15.1 rebounds, 1.1 assists, 1.4 steals in 32.9 minutes in the team’s 18 games …
It’s Eric checking in once again for my last entry. Hope everyone is doing good and just as excited as I am that we’ve hit this crazy time we call March Madness. So much quality basketball has come up these last few weeks. It takes me back to my days in college when we made the NCAA tournament my junior year at Arkansas-Little Rock with a losing record.
We were ranked 2nd last in our conference going into the conference tournament so obviously the only way we were going to punch a ticket to the dance was to win four games in four days against higher seeds that we hadn’t beat all year. I don’t even know how we did it but we managed to string together four upsets in a row with each game being decided by less than three points and the last game by one when our captain and Sun Belt Conference Player of the Year Solomon Bozeman hit a 3-pointer at the buzzer to send us into the Tournament. That was a great experience that I will always cherish and still I wear my ring everyday with such pride. Hope all my fellow Canadians this year enjoy the experience as well because it’s a once in a lifetime thing that no one can take away from you. These will be some of the best days of your life because the pro game is very different. Be proud, be aggressive but also be humble.
As far as my season out here in Germany it’s been very up down – we’ve lost two in a row then won two a row then once again lost two in a row – but at the same time I know everyone is working very hard to close out the last few games strong. Since the last time we spoke, with our two victories we were able to win the battle against relegation and avoid it. This is a very big accomplishment for our team since it was BBC Rendsburg’s first year in the league, especially not being one of the big spenders in our league when it comes to paying for a lot of imports. The last few games in Europe are always hard because you’ve been here for so long and that feeling of being almost home starts creeping in. Though that feeling is inevitable it’s important to lock in and finish even stronger and finish the job you started. Individually I’m satisfied with my season. Of course there are things I wish I could of done better but I also feel like I improved a lot from last season. Whether we like it or not, stats always speak for themselves. Rebounding has always been a huge part of my game and I see it as a huge accomplishment that I’ve led all of Germany in that category because there are some great players playing here. All the glory to God for that.
My time in Germany for these last nine months off the court has been up and down as well but it’s up to you to adjust if you’re going to make it work. In Europe the culture is so different that there’s always things that test your character off the court. Even some aspects of the game are treated differently than back home and sometimes the knowledge of the game might not be as high as coaches in North America but once again one of the best skills you can have as a pro is the ability to adjust to any situation, no excuses. Like any other job sometimes you might not see eye to eye with management but you still have to come to work and be a professional no matter what the situation is.
With this now being the end of my third year, every year gets harder to be away from loved ones so when this time hits it’s such a relief to be so close to going home. There’s nothing like family because at the end of the day they are your support system and never judge you. I feel thankful and blessed everyday that I get to do what I love everyday for a living but this is still a job and you are still judged and treated by how well you perform. The people you work for, you respect them and their authority but they are not family. This is a business and they won’t hesitate to send you home or fine you whether you agree with their perspective on things or not so it’s always important to be a professional no matter what the situation is on or off the court. The lack of professionalism can be so frustrating at times in Europe but you learn in every situation.
This season has made me wiser and more aware. I appreciate the opportunity I was given here in Rendsburg because getting a gig is always hard and they believed in me. I’m happy that as imports we were able to help the club reach their goal of staying in the league. I wish the people here in Rendsburg nothing but success in the future. Being able to make it here, lets me know I can make it in any situation in the future. Never complain, ignore the negatives, stay focused and keep it moving because people will always test you to see where you’re at mentally during adversity. Thankfully I’m still here standing. I’m thankful I was able to build friendships that will last me a lifetime and learn the game from one of my older and more experienced teammates, Peter Marcic.
I’m already looking forward to getting back to Canada to rest up, enjoy my homeland and start getting ready for season four. God-willing my agent will be able to secure something early on in the summer to relieve the stress, ha.
Thanks for reading my entries and until next time my fellow hoopers.
Don’t hesitate to hit me up on social media this summer
A big shout to Eric for taking the time to talk about his experiences in pro ball with us here on The Pro-File. You can check back here for more on his adventures in Germany or you can catch him on Twitter or on Instagram for the daily, real-time updates.