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Sports

Basketball: Ex-St. Charles East forward Stephens signs contract with Spanish pro team

Stephens, fresh off NBA Summer League stint with Orlando Magic, turned down "exhibit 10" contract with Dallas Mavericks

Former St. Charles East star Kendall Stephens, who transferred to Nevada after three seasons at Purdue, will be in action this week in the NCAA Tournament. The Wolfpack play Texas in the first round.
Former St. Charles East star Kendall Stephens, who transferred to Nevada after three seasons at Purdue, will be in action this week in the NCAA Tournament. The Wolfpack play Texas in the first round.

Kendall Stephens is headed home.

At least, one that he had for an estimated five or six months anyway.

Stephens, the former St. Charles East and Nevada standout forward, confirmed to the Kane County Chronicle on Monday he has signed a one-year professional basketball contract in Spain.

The organization, Monbus Obradoiro of the ACB League, announced the deal officially on Sunday.

Stephens' father, Everette, played overseas for several years. Kendall was about 3-years-old when the family lived there.

Everette Stephens played in the NBA for the Indiana Pacers and Milwaukee Bucks. In college at Purdue, Everette Stephens, a 1,000-point scorer, played four seasons and guided the Boilermakers to consecutive Big 10 titles in 1987 and 1988.

"I'm pretty excited," said Kendall Stephens, who was born in Australia. "I think Spain is a great culture. Talking with my parents who lived there, they had some good things to say about it. I think the style of play kind of fits me."

"I'm pretty open to kind of seeing the world – especially while I'm young – I think it'll be a great experience."

Stephens thinks he'll have opportunities to possibly start, but expects having to earn any role in training camp and practice.

"Spain ended up getting in contact with my agent [Doug Neustadt] and then negotiations happened...[we] ended up making a deal that I think both parties liked," Stephens said.

Stephens played most recently with the Orlando Magic during the NBA Summer League. Stephens said he then turned down an opportunity with the Dallas Mavericks under an "exhibit 10" contract, which means he would've played with the team in training camp before being eligible to be sent down to the G-League.

"It was a good experience," Stephens said of his NBA exposure. "I can kind of take a little bit from that to get me ready for what I'm about to enter this year."

Stephens' former college coach, Eric Musselman, posted on his personal blog "Our coaching staff is extremely excited that Kendall signed to play with Obradoiro. The league he is joining is arguably one of the top leagues in the entire world and will be a great fit for him."

Stephens, a 6-foot-7 wing, enjoyed quick success with Nevada after transferring away from Purdue, where he played in 90 career games. After having to sit out the 2016-17 season due to transfer rules, Stephens and the Wolf Pack fought to a Sweet 16 appearance in last spring's NCAA tournament with wins over Texas and Cincinnati before falling to Loyola (Chicago).

The 6-foot-7 Stephens made 126 3-pointers, ranking fifth across the NCAA last season. Stephens also set Nevada and Mountain West conference records, passing former BYU standout Jimmer Fredette's 124 made back in 2010. Stephens was fourth on the team with 13.1 points per game, and shot 43.2 percent from three, 21st nationally.

"[European basketball] is pretty fast-paced," Stephens said. "It's kind of getting to where the United States is now. Lot of threes, I think it's made for inbounding the ball quick [and] getting out and go."

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