Pro Hogs:

Hannahs decides to take shot in Poland

By: Dudley E. Dawson
Published: Wednesday, June 28, 2017
Arkansas' Dusty Hannahs dribbles during an SEC Tournament game against Vanderbilt on Saturday, March 11, 2017, in Nashville, Tenn.
Photo by J.T. Wampler
Arkansas' Dusty Hannahs dribbles during an SEC Tournament game against Vanderbilt on Saturday, March 11, 2017, in Nashville, Tenn.

— Dusty Hannahs achieved his dreams of winning a state high school championship and playing for the Razorbacks.

That leaves the Little Rock native with just one hoops dream remaining: playing in the NBA, which will be a dream delayed but not forgotten.

Hannahs has signed a one-year contract with AZS Koszalin, which plays in the highest-tier basketball league in Poland and finished 9-23 last season - 14th out of the 17 teams in the league.

“I’m really excited about signing with them,” Hannahs said. “They had a tough season last year, but hopefully I can come in and handle the ball, shoot it like I can and put my skills on display for a team that needs a playmaker.”

Hannahs transferred from Texas Tech after his sophomore season, redshirted a year and led Arkansas in scoring the past two seasons with 16.5 points per game as a junior and 14.4 points as a senior.

He was an effective 3-point shooter throughout his career, but expanded his game while with the Razorbacks.

“I loved my time at Arkansas, I got a lot better and I feel like we helped turn the program around by going to the NCAA Tournament twice in the last three years and winning 26 and 27 games,” Hannahs said. "I will always great things to say about my time as a Razorback."

His senior season ended with a 72-65 loss to eventual national champion North Carolina in the NCAA Tournament second round as Arkansas went scoreless the last three minutes after having a five-point lead.

“That was tough, I haven’t re-watched the game and I probably won’t for a long time because it just hurts so much,” Hannahs said. “We had the blueprint to beat them and should have won.”

Hannahs worked out twice this spring for the Memphis Grizzlies but was not taken in the NBA Draft. He has not signed a free agent contract to play with anyone in the summer league.

He could still do so, but signing with AZS Koszalin means he can’t play for any other team in Europe.

“I haven’t really talked to anybody about that recently so I am just looking at this as a way to over there, refine my game and put myself in position to play in the NBA or the D-League and then move on to the NBA,” Hannahs said. “I’m not going to let that dream die and just keep working hard.”

He will be going to Poland for the first time.

“I have been to Estonia, Finland, France, Italy and Spain,” Hannahs said. “I have never been to Poland, but have talked to some people who have and they say it is a great league and a great place to play. I am looking forward to beginning my professional career.”

One of the more famous names to play in the league is former Gonzaga center and Polish native Przmek Karnowski, who was the rookie of the year in the league in 2011-2012 before signing with the 'Zags.

Former or current AZS Koszalin players include Baylor’s AJ Walton, Seton Hall’s Jeff Robinson, Ohio State’s George Reese, Rhoad Island’s Darrell Harris, Indiana’s Marshall Strickland, Michigan’s Chris Hunter and Tulsa’s Dante Swanson.

The league also has boasted Georgia Tech’s Drew Barry and Travis Best, Memphis’ DeJuan Wagner, Kansas’ J.R. Giddens, Alabama’s Alonzo Gee and Trevor Releford, Oklahoma State’s Byron Houston, Duke’s Daniel Ewing, UAB’s Aaron Johnson, UCLA’s Charles O’Bannon and Loyola-Marymount’s Anthony Ireland.

Most arenas in the league range from 1,500 to 7,500 seats, although the largest can hold 15,000.

Hannahs, whose dad Gerald was a former Major League Baseball pitcher, will arrive in Poland in late August for the beginning of practice.

“The season starts in October and can run through April if you make the playoffs,” Hannahs said. “I am just looking forward to this next step.”

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