Banks gets opportunity to shine in Summer League

Interview: Last year's BSL leading scorer Adrian Banks will play for Memphis Grizzlies in the NBA's Summer League.

Adrian Banks for Barak Netanya 370 (photo credit: Asaf Kliger)
Adrian Banks for Barak Netanya 370
(photo credit: Asaf Kliger)
It’s a whole different game when Adrian Banks steps on the court in this year’s NBA Summer League in Las Vegas.
Last year’s BSL’s leading scorer is in the process of adjusting to a new style of play, in competing with NBA players. While Adrian is known in Europe for his ability to score points, he understands that in Vegas he is more of a role player, and needs to contribute in different ways in order to impress coaches.
Banks told The Jerusalem Post that, “I think for me the challenge is to showcase other skills I have, not scoring, but defense, hustle, supporting teammates, and just showing people that I can be a professional, both on and off the court.”
Banks played college basketball at Arkansas State, and then took his game to Belgium and most recently Israel, where he starred for Barak Netanya.
Banks acknowledged that growing up in Memphis, and being a well-known scorer in Europe helped him gain recognition from the Grizzlies organization.
“Being the leading scorer this past year had a lot to do with it as well, plus I’m from Memphis so I have always been familiar with the Grizzlies and their summer workouts.”
In the Summer League, teams generally expand their rosters to get a chance to look at more young athletes; however, they usually limit the number of minutes that each player receives.
Banks has been lucky to play in both games so far, but has only managed to tally four points, one rebound and one assist in about seventeen minutes of play.
Though his numbers are not where he would like, Banks is still optimistic about his opportunity to play.
“Playing time is very slim, leaving a small window to be able to perfor.
For me, getting the chance to play against the big names guys is pretty cool, it’s a test every time you step on the court.”
When asked about his thoughts of taking his career to America, Banks noted, “I’m not the kind of guy whose only determination is to join the NBA, I know my career will most likely be established in Europe and I’m just using the summer league to show my talents on a higher level.
“However, who knows what can happen when you have this chance.”
Banks also reflected on his time spent in Israel, and has a lot of respect of the Netanya organization.
“Netanya gave me my chance to show Europe that I can play at a high level and be consistent over the two years that I spent with them. I’ve seen the teams’ popularity and fan base grow in big numbers, and they have a special way of making you feel at home.”
Jeremy Pargo, another former BSL player, is also on the Grizzlies roster.
He and Banks have faced off in the past, most notably in the 2010 Israeli All-Star Game.
They also faced off in a Israeli slamdunk competition, where Adrian emerged victorious.
While Banks’s top priority is basketball, he also lends a helping hand to local charities.
In Israel, Banks was a strong supporter and volunteer at Netanya’s ‘Hoops for Kids’ organization.
Back home in Memphis, Banks organizes sports clinics for local children at his church.
While he knows that he has big dreams, Banks remains grounded and realistic about his chances.
“I don’t know where my career is going next season, but the important thing is to focus on showing NBA teams all my skills that they cannot read about on the internet.”