BASKETBALL IN EUROPE
|Final Four MVP Pops Mensah-Bonsu led Besiktas Milangaz to the EuroChallenge title in 2012, the first international title in club history|
Spanish club Cajasol Sevilla announced on Monday they have agreed terms with Great Britain international Pops Mensah-Bonsu, who played his last competitive game at the London Olympics.
The EuroChallenge Final Four 2012 MVP has signed a contract that runs until the end of the current season, as a replacement for the sidelined through injury American forward Latavious Williams.
Mensah-Bonsu was expected to make his return to action in mid-January, but the agreement with EA7 Emporio Armani Milano that various media had reported at the time did not materialise.
The 29-year-old Briton arrives in Seville on Tuesday and will undergo a medical before joining the team, under the orders of former Spain head coach Aíto García Reneses.
If all goes well, the 2.06m forward/center will make his Liga Endesa debut on Sunday, in the home game against Blusens Monbus Obradoiro.
Seville will be Mensah-Bonsu's fourth stop in the Spanish league, although his previous spells have been in line with his journeyman-like career.
He played one single game for Granada at the end of the 2007/08 season, spent some time with Joventut Badalona the following year and then joined Tau Vitoria (Caja Laboral) during pre-season ahead of their 2010/11 campaign but left the club to join the New Orleans Hornets in the NBA, without featuring in Spanish league action with the Basque club.
Something similar occurred last summer, as he had agreed with Israeli champions Maccabi Tel Aviv but never joined the team as he underwent knee surgery immediately after the London Games.
Mensah-Bonsu's eventful career curiously includes, among others, stints with all three Texan teams in the NBA - Dallas Mavericks, Houston Rockets and the San Antonio Spurs.
His finest hour at club level though came undoubtedly last season and in many ways it was the fruit of stability.
He joined Besiktas Milangaz in November and was instrumental to the Turkish club's glorious treble success.
Besiktas defeated Elan Chalon 91-86 in the final to win the EuroChallenge title behind the Briton's monstrous 26-point, 20-rebound double-double, which earned him Final Four MVP honours.
The Istanbul side completed their sweep of silverware by clinching both the Turkish Beko Ligi and Cup titles on the domestic front, with the London-born forward named best defender in the league.
Mensah-Bonsu was Great Britain's go-to player during their qualification campaign in Division A for EuroBasket 2009 and at the Final Round in Poland, where he averaged 13.3 points and 4 rebounds.
He then led the team again in the Qualification Round for EuroBasket 2011 averaging double-double figures (19.3 points and 13.5 rebounds) but missed out on the big event in Lithuania due to injury.
Asefa Estudiantes captain Daniel Clark and young guard Devon Van Oostrum, who returned on the Caja Laboral roster last week replacing former Spanish international Carlos Cabezas, are the other two Great Britain internationals who currently ply their trade in Liga Endesa.