Playing pro basketball in Serbia is no jok for former Windsor Lancer Najee Brown-Henderson. He is suiting up for KK Joker (Košarkaški klub "JOKER" Sombor), a team named after NBA star Nikola Jokic (whose nickname is the Joker) and run by his father. "Playing for Nikola Jokic's team is obviously a big honour in itself." said the CCH grad. "Somebody who is well respected not only in the NBA but around the world and he was very genuine with me from the start."
Brown-Henderson's agent Niko Vangelis was in contact with various clubs in different countries but he felt it was hard to turn down the top league in Serbia. The 25-year old says Serbia is beautiful and he loves the food. The basketball has been pretty ok too with Brown-Henderson having had a chance to hang out with the NBA all-star and champion. "He is one of the most humble people I have ever met in my life. With the status that he has it’s crazy he makes you feel like he’s just the average guy."
Brown-Henderson averaged 20.9 points per game last season helping lead the Lancers to the OUA West Division regular season title. He then played for the Brampton Honey Badgers in the CEBL before heading overseas to train with Jokic and his new team.
"One thing I’ve learned from Nikola is that the off-season isn’t really an off-season. He has his own individual workout weight room wise then basketball workout then he will workout with us as well."
Although he is wearing green in Serbia Brown-Henderson says he is thankful he came back home to play a season with the Lancers under head coach Chris Cheng. "I would say Chris helped me get ready for this moment by helping me stay level headed and learning how to deal with adversity." Brown-Henderson said. "I take that in my every day training when I feel tired during a workout I think about the adversity I’m facing but just being able to stay disciplined and push through things like that. He also helped me with the CEBL so I was able to get a head start on what it was like to be a professional on a day to day bases on and off the court."
Last season KK Joker earned a promotion and is now playing in the elite Basketball League of Serbia. "I like the guys that we have on our roster." said Brown-Henderson. "I think we can really make some noise this year moving up to first division in Serbia."
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