He doesn’t know a lick of Russian yet, but Brandon Paul has taken steps toward learning the language he will hear predominantly for the better part of the next year.
“My dad randomly has a few Russian tapes at home, so I’m ready to gradually get into that,” Paul said.
The former Illinois guard on Friday agreed to a deal to join Russian Club Nizhny Novgorod in the VTB United League, passing on the opportunity to make an NBA roster through training camp.
Paul was invited to join the Timberwolves, for whom he played in the Las Vegas Summer League, for training camp, in addition to a few other franchises. The 6-foot-4 combo guard declined the overtures.
“It was definitely hard. It took me a little while to come up with my final answer,” said Paul, who leaves late this month. “I thought financially it was the best decision for me and the best way to make sure I get some good development and play a lot and to get to travel the world a little bit.”
Paul averaged 7.7 points in 14.3 minutes during six summer league games with the Timberwolves in Las Vegas.
“I thought I played well and that put me in a place to be successful for this upcoming season and going forward in my career,” Paul said.
During the NBA summer stint, Paul picked the brains of his teammates with Minnesota who have played abroad.
“I talked to a lot of guys on my summer league team just seeing what their experiences were,” he said. “I work out with a lot of guys back home who play and have played overseas and they gave me a lot of input about it. In the long run it will do me some good as I start working toward the NBA next year.”