Qvale signs with team in Turkey

2011-06-09T22:16:00Z 2011-06-09T23:48:41Z Qvale signs with team in TurkeyBy BOB MESEROLL Missoulian sports editor missoulian.com

Brian Qvale graduated from the University of Montana last month.

Already he has a nice two-bedroom apartment on the shores of the Mediterranean Sea, a nearly-new car and a "low-six-figure" salary.

The former Montana Grizzly basketball player has signed to play for Aliaga Petkim in Aliaga, Turkey, beginning in August.

Oh yes, he and former Lady Griz basketball player Misty Atkinson have plans to be married, although not until after Qvale's rookie season of pro ball.

For a guy 6-foot-11 and 260 pounds, he's been moving pretty quickly.

"It's a great opportunity," Qvale said Thursday from Las Vegas, where he's working out with an outfit called Impact Training. "Most guys, (Montana) Coach (Wayne) Tinkle told me, don't get a chance to play in a league like this in their first year when they're undrafted. It's pretty exciting."

Qvale played in the Portsmouth Invitational in April, where he met with several agents, narrowing down a list of 20 or so who had contacted him in the last year.

"It was a very stressful time," Qvale said. "I was stressing out probably more than I should have been, but I made the right decision. I'm glad I took my time with it. It was exciting, but I'm glad I'm done with it."

Qvale chose Ben Pensack from the Bay Area in California.

"He went to work right away," Qvale said. "I'm one of the only guys here who is signed. Tai Wesley of Utah State has the same agent and he also has an offer on the table in Holland. (Pensack) is doing good work."

Qvale had hoped to work out for some NBA clubs before the June 23 draft.

"All the teams were saying they were very interested and with the pending NBA lockout coming up they haven't been doing as many workouts as they do in normal year," Qvale said. "A lot of them said we saw what we needed to see in Portsmouth. That's why I'm taking this as an opportunity to make some money and to get some experience at the pro level. Then I can come back next year or try to move up to a team over there."

Qvale will stay in Vegas until June 22, when he'll return to Missoula. He'll be working out along with other pros and those who want to be.

"Each morning we have a workout with four to six guys with a little individual shooting for an hour or hour and a half, then we lift for another hour, hour and a half," Qvale said. "But the lift is unlike anything I've ever done. It's not like normal lifting weights. It's all using (medicine) balls, using balance ... to get you stronger and more explosive. It's not about bulking up, it's about getting quicker ... it's crazy.

"After each workout I'm just worn out. After we lift we do either three-on-three or five-on-five some days."

As soon as Qvale signed his contract, he and Atkinson made a trip to Barnes & Noble to begin studying up on Turkey.

"We'll be right on the Mediterranean Sea, right on the ocean," said Qvale, a native of Williston, N.D. "It's about 45,000 people. They were worried that was going to be a problem for me with the town being so small. I said, ‘That's three times the size of what I'm used to back home, so that'll be fine.'

"I know that the Turkish language is definitely not easy. They said the people involved with the team will speak English, so that's a plus."

Qvale, the Big Sky Conference's all-time leader in blocked shots, will be joining a team that finished 9-21 last season.

"Between Coach Tinkle, my agent and all the guys around here, they say Turkey is the third- or fourth-best league right now in Europe behind Italy and Spain and it's getting better," said Qvale, who reports to Aliaga Petkim on Aug. 20 for a season that runs through the end of May. "Other leagues are going down in money and Turkey is going up in money. It's a great opportunity."

Sports editor Bob Meseroll can be reached at

523-5265 or at sportsdesk@missoulian.com.

 

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