Area native Harley Fuller recently finished up his second season playing professional basketball with 9 de Julio, an Argentinean team based in the city of Morteros.
The team competes in the Torneo Nacional de Ascenso, which is the second division of the Argentine basketball league system. After a successful campaign in 2012-13 that saw 9 de Julio fall in the quarterfinals of the playoffs, Fuller helped lead the team to the semifinals in 2013-14 before falling to the eventual champions in a best-of-five series.
"We were only one or two games away from making it to the nationally televised championship," said Fuller. "It was successful, but obviously we would like to win championships like anybody else."
Broadalbin-Perth graduate Harley Fuller instructs campers as they participate in a drill July 23 at Broadalbin-Perth High School. (The Leader-Herald/Bill Trojan)
Fuller, a Broadalbin-Perth graduate and former Division I basketball player at Florida International University, spent his first two seasons of post-collegiate ball in Germany before settling in with 9 de Julio.
"I love Argentina. I'm someone who really enjoys the culture," Fuller said. "Some guys, when they play overseas they kind of just shelter themselves, and they're in their room a lot and not really getting out and enjoying the country. I spend a lot of time just checking out the areas and different cities and getting to know people."
Fuller arrived in Argentina this past October, one month ahead of the season's start date in early November. After a month of team building and double sessions in preparation for the season, 9 de Julio got off to a quick 5-0 start. The squad built on its hot start and rode the wave all the way to the semifinals of the playoffs. Fuller had an efficient season, tallying 12.4 points and 5 assists per game on his way to achieving a personal milestone.
"I broke the 1,000-point mark for the last four years so that was something that was kind of cool," Fuller said. "I would take a championship over any of that stuff, but that was something I was pretty excited about."
According to Fuller, being one of a handful of Americans on an Argentine roster dictates that he is looked to for more of a scoring punch than he provided in college. With the personal growth the point guard has experienced in his four years away from the States, he is happy to embrace the role.
While Fuller has called Argentina home for the past two years, he is exploring other options for the 2014-15 season. He has been in contact with first league coaches in England and Ecuador, but will let his agent handle most of the work while he runs his basketball camp this summer.
"It's kind of like a waiting game every single year," Fuller said. "My agent always tells me to be patient, but that's the hardest part for me because I'm not a patient person. Everything always heats up in July, and then more than likely I'll be heading somewhere in Europe this year."
Wherever he ends up, one thing is for certain. According to Fuller: "I'm a point guard, so the winning part for me is more important than anything."