By BRENT STUBBS
Senior Sports Journalist
AFTER completing his first year with Mulhouse Basket in France, Grand Bahamian native Willis Mackey Jr is looking forward to returning to Europe in August to continue his professional basketball career.
Mackey Jr, who averaged 11.1 points, 5.9 rebounds, 1.4 assists, 0.6 steals and 0.6 blocked shots, is currently in town. He assists former pro JR Cadot with his NEXT Basketball organization’s first Dream Again basketball camp at the Remnant Tabernacle of Praise auditorium on Carmichael Road.
Now in his fourth year on the pro circuit, Mackey Jr said the experience has been quite rewarding so far.
“These countries treat so well, it’s really a great life there,” Mackey Jr said. me.”
As a late bloomer who started playing basketball at the age of 18, Mackey Jr said he has seen such improvement in his game year on year.
“I really want to see how far I can go,” he said.
Looking back on his tenure, Mackey said a knee injury this year caused him a setback, including being unable to dress and play for the men’s national basketball team which played and lost to the Dominican Republic on Monday in FIBA Americas Basketball. Championship in Baha Mar.
“I had a great season and was really looking forward to things getting better,” he said. ” But that’s life. You get a setback, but you don’t allow it to hold you back.
“I would have really liked to play for the national team this year, but the injury forced me to sit out. I hope I can play in the next round in August before leaving for France to play the coming season. .
Although all the attention in international basketball has been centered on the National Basketball Association (NBA), Mackey Jr said Europe was just as competitive, although the wages earned might not be as lucrative.
“We know not everyone will be able to play in the NBA,” Mackey Jr. said. “But in Europe you can play basketball at a high level and you make money. So once I can support to the needs of my family, I am satisfied.
Mackey, a 28-year-old 6ft 8in power forward, said he was looking forward to continuing to play wherever his talent takes him and can contribute to the growth and development of the sport in the country. He noted that he was just thrilled to have been asked by Cadot to help out with his basketball camp.
Hopefully he can share his expertise with some of the other camps while he is at home. Mackey, who played for the Northwestern Ohio Racers in NCAA college basketball, then played for Bordeaux in the 2020/21 season where he averaged 12.9 points, 6.3 rebounds and 1.1 assists decisive before ending up in Mulhouse.
On November 05, 2021, Mackey Jr equaled his career high in points in an 81-64 Mulhouse win over Besançon with 23 points, shooting 8 for 8 from the two-point line, 1 for 2 from three for a 90 .0% of the land. He also shot 4/4 from the free throw line and added nine rebounds and an assist.
Mackey came back and set his career high with 14 rebounds in a 77-69 win for Mulhouse in a home game against Caen. He also had a double-double with 16 points, one assist, one steal and one block.