Danish Star Returns to Europe

20 February 2004
By Jeff Taylor, PA International

Denmark's national team coach Allan Foss has welcomed Christian Drejer's decision to quit the American college game and return to Europe.

A former Danish league star, Drejer was in his sophomore season at SEC juggernauts Florida when he finally gave in to the temptation of professional basketball and signed a contract to play for Barcelona.

The departure has rocked the Gators, who are fighting to earn an NCAA Tournament berth, but the player will now be paid a nice packet and Foss can more easily keep tabs on his star player.

Players often can't make it back to Europe in the summer for international games because they attend summer school, or have commitments with their college teams, so Drejer will also find it easier to play for Denmark.

"It definitely makes things a lot easier for us (Denmark) because it's easier for him to play in the qualification round for the semi-finals of the European Championships in September," Foss said to PA International.

"Christian's young, and we're happy to have him here. He's definitely our greatest talent."

Drejer, in international competition as a youngster for Denmark, more than held his own against some of the Europeans who have made it to the NBA and Foss sees no reason why he still can't make it to America's elite league.

"It's a dream of Christian to go to the NBA, and it always has been," he said. "Especially if you look at the young guys like Tony Parker making it."

Parker, the French national team captain, is the point guard for the NBA champions San Antonio Spurs.

"At the younger age, he was just as good if not better," Foss said.

"It's up to him make the most in Barcelona. Are they expecting him to be a leader? I hope not. (But) I know Spanish basketball, they are well organised and should know how to use him."

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