Basketball • Former Wolverine hopes his solid play leads to spot on one of league's big clubs
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Gran Canaria, Spain • Former Utah Valley scoring sensation Ryan Toolson has seen his basketball journey team him up with former Utah State Aggie Jaycee Carroll and now Spencer Nelson in the Asociación de Clubs de Baloncesto (ACB) in Spain.
Toolson has had two separate stints in Turkey and played in the Italian league before signing a one-year deal with to play alongside Nelson (14.8 points per game) with Gran Canaria for the 2012-13 season.
Off the court Toolson has adapted well. His LDS Church mission in Guatemala years ago prepared him for the Spanish language and "living-wise it can't get any better," said Toolson, after his recent contest against Carroll and Real Madrid.
"I live on a tropical island," adds Toolson with a laugh.
Situated in Las Palmas, Gran Canaria, the former UVU Wolverine is living on the small Spanish islands off the coast of Morocco, surrounded by sandy beaches where the annual weather teeters between 64-75 degrees. Toolson, who is still pictured on the UVU website, is hoping to mirror Carroll's journey from Gran Canaria to a bigger club in the upcoming seasons.
"Absolutely, that's the plan. I actually got some better offers in other countries but with [Carroll's journey] in mind, my family and I decided to go to Gran Canaria and try to take that really big step up."
Toolson is sacrificing money, minutes, shots and points playing on such a deep, solid team, but he has still managed to rank 12th in scoring in the ACB with a 13.4 scoring average and is sixth in 3-point field goal percentage (46 percent). And if his solid play continues Toolson will surely receive a few offers with bigger clubs in the ACB next season, which may mean he'll see his minutes and scoring dip even more.
But, with a family to look out for and salaries lower than the NBA, Toolson can't ignore the financial boost.
"It's not like the NBA where I have tons of money saved and can retire when I want, so I kind of have to go where the better the money is."
Although Toolson acknowledges he wants to win and contribute on a good team, at this point in his career and life "money talks more than minutes."