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Former Raider Ben Gresmer will play pro ball in Portugal

Ben Gresmer of Hudson drives past a UW-Stevens Point defender while playing for the UW-River Falls basketball team last season. Gresmer recently signed a contract to play professional basketball in Portugal beginning this fall. (Hudson Star Observer file photo)

Ben Gresmer had his share of highlight dunks and three-pointers for the UW-River Falls basketball team during his four-year career. Now the Hudson High School graduate is taking his talents to Europe to play professional basketball in Portugal.

Gresmer, a senior captain on the 2013-14 Falcon team, will join The Galitos, a Portuguese Basketball League team in Barriero, Portugal, Oct. 1. The PBL season begins in late October and runs through June.

Gresmer said a sports management group sent a letter to UWRF coach Jeff Berkhof at the conclusion of the 2013-14 season advising Gresmer to attend one of their camps for overseas scouts. He attended one camp in Chicago in May and another in New Hampshire in July, where he was offered a contract to play for the Portuguese League team.

The 6-foot, 5-inch Gresmer said he never thought about continuing his basketball career after graduation.

“To be honest, I didn’t even put much thought into it until I went to the camp,” he said. “My senior year in college I just wanted to help the team win. Then I got the letter so I thought I’d give it a try and see what happens.”

Gresmer was an All-Big Rivers Conference player on Hudson’s last BRC title team in 2009. He played four years at UWRF and won the Falcons Slam Dunk Contest at their Midnight Madness event in 2011.

As a senior this past season, Gresmer served as a team captain and started all 25 games for the Falcons, averaging a team-high 30.4 minutes per game. He was second on the team in scoring with an average of 11.4 points per game while leading the team in total three-pointers with 53, and three-point percentage at .486.

Gresmer said his approach to the game is simply to help his team win.

“I just like to get out and play hard and try and do whatever I can to help the team,” he said. “This year in college I’d guard the other team’s best player on defense then do whatever I could to help on offense.”

After playing college ball so close to home, Gresmer said he’s looking forward to playing in Europe. He said he will be one of three American playing for the Galitos.

“I’m actually really excited,” he said. “I think it’s going to be a great experience to see the world from a different standpoint in a different culture. It’s going to be a blast. My family is really excited too. My dad is my personal rebounder for me right now. Whenever he can get off work he’s in the gym with me.”

The Liga Portuguesa de Basquetebol (Portuguese Basketball League) is the top men’s basketball league in Portugal. Barriero is located just south of the city of Lisbon on the south bank of the River Tagus estuary.

Bob Burrows
Bob Burrows has been sports editor at the River Falls Journal since 1996 and at the Hudson Star-Observer since 2009. Prior to joining the Journal, Burrows served as sports editor with Ledger Publications in Balsam Lake, Wis. A native of Bayonne, N.J. and a U.S. Navy veteran, Burrows attended Marquette University before completing his studies at UW-River Falls in 1992.
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