1. Welcome! Please take a few seconds to create your free account to post threads, make some friends, remove a few ads while surfing and much more. ClutchFans has been bringing fans together to talk Houston Sports since 1996. Join us!

[The Monitor] New Vipers guard Bader stays believing in 1st pro year

Discussion in 'Rio Grande Valley Vipers' started by HoopScribe, Feb 4, 2015.

  1. HoopScribe

    HoopScribe Member

    Jul 19, 2013
    Likes Received:

    Posted: Wednesday, February 4, 2015 8:00 am


    HIDALGO — The newest Rio Grande Valley Viper has his name in the NCAA record book. But it took advice from a San Antonio Spur to keep his head up during what has been a rocky first season as a pro.

    Travis Bader was cut from his French team, ASVEL Basket, in late December before he was picked up by the Vipers last week. The 6-foot-4 guard is known for his 3-point shot, leaving Oakland University as the NCAA’s all-time leader in 3-point makes (504) and attempts (1,246).

    But after a difficult 13 games in France after being undrafted by an NBA team last summer, Bader, who played with Philadelphia during the NBA’s summer league last July, has relied upon the words of the Spurs’ Tony Parker, owner of ASVEL Basket, to keep him afloat.

    “Play my game, play with confidence,” said Bader, 23. “That’s what he told me from day one. He believed in me as a shooter, and as a shooter you’ve got to keep that confidence in yourself, believe in yourself.

    “There are a lot of people trying to be shooters, but you’ve got to be a maker.”

    Bader got released from the French team after averaging 2.8 points on 19.4 percent 3-point shooting in 12.8 minutes. Not only did the team, one of Europe’s finest, get off to a rough start and go through three coaches during Bader’s five-month stay, but Bader was playing behind France superstar Edwin Jackson.

    Still, he did not leave with a bitter taste.

    “It didn’t work out, but at the same time I respect them a great deal,” Bader said. “I was there learning from guys like Taurean Green (former Florida standout), David Lighty (Ohio State). Just to be mentored and have those guys as my veterans was pretty special.

    “I was one of the youngest guys on the team, and the guys ahead of me were great players. I was just trying to be perfect when I did get in and that just put more pressure on myself. I went through ups and downs and figured how to handle the mental part of the game.”

    Bader spent about a month at home after his release before deciding to sign a contract with the NBA D-League. The Vipers, a team that embraces 3-point shooting, snatched him up.

    Bader passed his physical Friday and is expected to make his debut Wednesday at home against Oklahoma City. He joins a team that takes a lot of 3-pointers, but has had so-so success converting them.

    Rio Grande Valley connects on only 33.9 percent of its 38.9 3-point attempts per game. Only one Viper shoots better than 37 percent (Jaron Johnson, 40.5).

    “Travis is an elite shooter, a guy who can space the floor for us,” Vipers coach Nevada Smith said of Bader, who connected on 40.4 percent of his 9.1 3-point attempts in college. “We’re struggling with that. We’re playing a lot of two point-guard lineups and no one really has to go way out on the perimeter to defend like they used to have to.

    “I’d like to see more consistency, and that’s what he brings. Right now we have a lot of guys who are streaky.”

    Bader will have some familiar faces around him. Rookie guard Akeem Richmond competed against Bader in the college 3-point shootout last season and finished his collegiate career seventh all-time in the NCAA in 3-point makes. And Bader participated in a pre-draft workout with Rockets assignee and Vipers guard Nick Johnson for the Boston Celtics last summer.

    Smith projects a lot of open looks for Bader. The Vipers have four players with NBA experience.

    “He’ll thrive in a situation where he doesn’t have to go out there and score 20 points,” Smith said. “Twenty points will just find him. He’s going to find himself unguarded, a lot of open shots. I’m excited to get him out there.”

    The Valley is just another step for Bader in a journey that has been marked by skeptics.

    In the seventh grade, he wrote a letter for class detailing his dream of playing in the NBA. His teacher scolded him for being unrealistic.

    In high school, Oakland was the only NCAA Division I school to offer him a scholarship. During his redshirt year for Oakland, he was often mistaken for the team manager.

    Then Bader went undrafted — while watching guys like Glenn Robinson III, James Young and Gary Harris get selected; all guys he worked out with – and was eventually cut by his France club, a team he initially chose the D-League over to start his professional career in July.

    “It all drives me,” Bader said. “You go through your whole life hearing how you shouldn’t be playing, how they can’t believe you’re on the team, whatever. You can either listen to all the stuff and shut down, or you can listen and it can motivate you, and I think it’s definitely motivated me.”

  2. B-Bob

    B-Bob "94-year-old self-described dreamer"

    Jul 26, 2002
    Likes Received:
    He's just bading his time waiting for his first real opportunity. Good for him.

Share This Page