Edmon Lara, 6’5″ Small Forward from Trinity University NCAA DIII, left on a two day tryout with a team in Portugal. Edmon attended the Euro Professional Program for 3 Weeks in January 2024. We asked him about his background and how his adaption has been in Europe so far. Check out the article to hear what he has to say about his experience overseas.
When did you first pick up a basketball?
I hadn’t started playing basketball until a little later than most people and that’s in 8th grade. And I never had anyone to really look up to but I did see how exciting the game was because I was lucky enough to be a part of a program that won a state championship
Who were your role models growing up? What kind of knowledge did they pass on to you to make you the player you are today?
I started watching basketball and saw Dwayne Wade and he inspired me a bit too both on and off the court. I made sure to always stay open minded so when it came to learning the game I never really had one person to inform me of the game I learned for older players that were better than me, coaches from showcases and my own coaches that lead us to 2 state championships in highschool. I obviously started later than all of my teammates but although I lacked the skill at the time I made sure to get my weights in and shoot and make 800-1000 shots a day before and after school either out shooting machines.
Where did you play college basketball? How was your experience in college?
I was the team captain junior and senior year at Miami Christian where I won my second state championship and although everything was good there at home I had other issues so I didn’t go to college right away I ended up having to work and get my dental assistant’s degree and then went to play 1 year at Trinity in Florida and then my second year transferred to Albany in NY.
I never had that guidance to help teach me and direct me on what I was doing so I kind of had to try and figure it out myself. Along the way God helped me but I was young and made many mistakes which I’m actually grateful for because I’m ready now to help others that need that guidance and especially getting the wisdom and knowledge for my kids in the future.
Did you receive interest from agents after college? Did you attend any camps or showcases?
I was practicing with several G League teams bouncing around until I got injured and from there I thought my playing career was done. I started training and coaching made a good living, bought a house and was “set” but I was in a deep depression and couldn’t really find my motivation day after day to be productive and just live. Then I found God again and He started training me and pressuring me and I left my house and found myself in Charlotte and practicing in the Greensboro swarm G League facilities in 2023
What made you decide to attend EuroProBasket? How was your experience?
I found out about Europro by doing some research because the Gleague wouldn’t take me after my injury so God led me to leave. So coming to a foreign land where everything was different and all I have is my shoes to lace up and my God to praise I was never uncomfortable. Actually it was a relief as I finally had a bed and better food to enjoy! Then learning a whole new way of playing and having to challenge myself to adjust my game to how I have to play here has been really exciting and I’m constantly monitoring what I’m doing to make sure I can be the best I can be. So it’s definitely been worth the investment and everything I had to do to get to this point.
What was the process to receive your first opportunity to play in Portugal?
From the minute Brad told me I had an interest everything changed, you get filled with this excitement and joy that’s unexplainable if you embrace the grind. And the process is extremely quick! Almost like next day get your stuff and get out there quick, so be ready.
I always said you don’t gotta get ready if you stay ready but I can’t lie through everything I was doing to prepare either weight lifting, skill work and open runs I wasn’t aware that the conditioning was being lacked so I had a real wake up call in that aspect but again, embrace the grind! Because if you do you get what we all strive for and that’s the experience, I got off the plane in Portugal on a bus to my teams city and the president was there waiting for me, took me to get some brunch at a cafe ate some things I’ve never seen before but it was so good!
From there he drove around everywhere showed me the city center, where things are like hospitals, monuments etc. then took me for lunch and that’s when the exciting things start because I met a few of the guys and they were about to go shoot around so I went with them, showed a little bit of what I can do, checked out the facility, met the coach watched the younger team play and then the president took me to the mall and we ate dinner, some Portuguese restaurant, had steak rice and eggs smothered in some sauce that was delicious! Then he finally dropped me off at the hotel. Really nice hotel by the way I’ll give it a 4.5 out of 5!
What adjustments did you have to make to live and play abroad and what advice would you give to players interested in playing overseas? Would you recommend EuroProBasket to players interested in getting started overseas?
Being here so far has been nothing short of spectacular and I have to say be open minded, be in great CONDITIONING shape not just strong and skillful! And be ready to show what you can do FOR your teammates. You either make it harder for everyone else if you’re selfish or make it simpler by being open minded and understanding and accepting!
If you have those traits and not just wanna play because you’re told you’re good enough and you’re out there trying to score 25 and shooting 15% then probably try something else. But if you’re for the grind and want to grow and get better and have a great attitude and WANT to experience and not selfish then the program (EuroProBasket) is definitely something to try! The staff there is beyond helpful, they care for every single person individually. It’s crazy because that kind of genuineness really is rare.