Montville’s Warech is making his mark in Germany

By Mark Kitchin

Morriscountyvarsityboysbasketball Not every Morris County athlete travels with a basketball and a passport in his suitcase. Montville’s Travis Warech is one of the lucky few that has parlayed his hoop skills into an international career.

The former Mustang spent a few days at home during the holidays before jetting back to Gotha, Germany where he launched his professional basketball career this fall. The 6-foot-4, 200-pound swingman averages 10.4 points and 5.5 rebounds for the team that is 8-9 in the Pro-A German league.On Sunday, he came off one of his best performances with a 20-point, 5-rebound effort in a 74-90 loss to Jena.

Although he has gained German citizenship which also provided him with a German passport (which makes traveling in Europe easier), Warech is learning about a new country and speaking a new language as well as playing basketball on a high level.

“I’m loving it so far,” Warech said. “Gotha is two hours east of Frankfort. We take a German language class once a week, myself and all the non-German players on the team. The coach’s wife teaches it. It’s not that bad. Most of the people speak English. We learn the basics. Learn how to order out of the restaurant, out of the bakery, getting a haircut. Things like that. I’m getting by.”

Gaining German citizenship, his grandmother was born in Hamburg but fled the country before World War II, was key to him signing a contract and choosing a German team. The agency he signed with in July, Scores 1st Agency, is based in Germany and is familiar with the rules and regulations of the country. Warech is not alone in his desire to continue to play competitively beyond college. There are a number of Americans playing professionally in overseas leagues.

“There are four or five Americans, myself included (on the team),” Warech said. “I also have my German citizenship. I make five Germans as well. Two Scottish kids and one Norwegian play too. One played at Central Florida, one at Pepperdine, Montana, University of Detroit. They are all D-1 guys.”

Chase Griffin is probably the most famous of his teammates. He was a shooter on some very good Pepperdine University teams.

warech 2

Former Montville standout Travis Warech, here shown in action for Ithaca College last year, is enjoying success in his rookie season of basketball overseas. (Photo by Mark Kitchin)

“Being a citizen helps the game because the rules are different,” Warech said. “Every league is different but in Germany, you need two Germans on the floor for each team at the same time so having my passport helped. It made me a little bit more valuable as a German. I play like an American but i fulfill the German quota.”

Warech was a well-known shooter on some talented Montville teams. In his senior year, he averaged 20.7 points and 8 rebounds a game. He accounted for 40 percent of the 10-13 team’s offense during the 2008-09 season. He finished up as a 1,000-point career varsity scorer and a First Team All-Morris County selection. After high school, he played for several years at St. Michael’s College in Vermont and was also a career 1,000-point scorer for the Division II school. He transferred to Ithaca College for his senior year and had a highly successful season averaging 16 points and eight rebounds for a team that finished 21-9 and went to the NCAA Division III Sweet 16.

It has taken Warech awhile to make adjustments to the European way of playing ball, but he is pleased with his progress.

Although it is not common, there are athletes from Morris County that have played basketball in Europe and in other parts of the world. Some have made careers out of it. The leading varsity scorer in Morris County history, Glenn Sekunda of Parsippany Hills, played on teams in Italy for nearly a decade. Athletes that take the risk have to adapt to living in a different country as well as playing the game under a different set of rules.

34 bb mtvparFormer Montville standout Travis Warech chats with his father Gary while watching his brother Jesse play in the Butler Holiday Tournament. (Photo by Mark Kitchin)

“The style of play is a lot different from the college game,” Warech said. “The biggest difference besides the deeper 3-point line and the wider lane is the 24-second shot clock. I haven’t been used to that a lot. You go from 35 in college down to 24. The first two weeks, when I got there I felt really rushed playing. I’ve adjusted to it.”

Warech’s family hasn’t come to Europe to see him play yet, but they have caught flashes of game highlights shown on the Internet. The 24-year-old basketball player was pleased to return to New Jersey for a couple of days to watch his brother Jesse play for the 3-1 Mustangs, which ended up capturing the Butler Holiday Tournament. Warech encourages anyone with the ability and the opportunity to take a chance on a career, playing basketball in Europe.

“There are ins and outs,” Warech said. “If there is a decent college player that can get a european passport or a foreign passport, it makes him more valuable. I’m sure most college athletes know that pro ball overseas is an ideal option. There are a lot of Americans out here.”


About mcvbb

Mark Kitchin is a boys varsity basketball writer for the Morris County New Jersey area

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