Travis Jocelyn, a 2017 graduate of Verona High School who was part of its state championship basketball team, has signed to play professional basketball in Germany.
Jocelyn, who had a strong college basketball career at TCNJ, is joining Niners Chemnitz, a team in southeastern Germany that is part of Germany’s prime league, the Basketball Bundesliga, which is also known as the easyCredit Bundesliga after its sponsor. The Niners made the announcement on their website today:
“[Jocelyn] comes from the small town of Verona, New Jersey, just a stone’s throw from New York City, and has been basketball for The College of New Jersey in NCAA-3 for the past four years. There, Jocelyn was able to improve continuously from season to season and put on an average of 21 points, seven rebounds as well as 1.5 assists and steals in the past season 2020/21, which was greatly shortened due to the coronavirus.”
The opportunity to join the Niners came together quickly. As Jocelyn was graduating from TCNJ, he signed with player agent Christopher Gulla, founder of the New Jersey-based ACD Agency. Gulla put together Jocelyn’s player profile and reached out to teams. Jocelyn says that while that outreach resulted in interest from teams in Portugal, Croatia, and the Czech Republic, he was most drawn to the high level of play at Niners Chemnitz and its diversity.
“I wanted to play overseas because it was the best opportunity for me to fulfill my dream of playing professional basketball,” Jocelyn says. “On top of playing basketball I am able to live in a different country and see the world. It is a once-in-a-lifetime experience that I couldn’t turn down.”
The Niner’s press release makes it sound as if Jocelyn will be seeing plenty of action when the season opens on October 2. While it originally planned to use him on the team’s second team with rotations into the first team, injuries on its first team may open up more opportunities there.
Chemnitz is located in what once was East Germany and the city was known as Karl-Marx-Stadt during the Communist era. “The coaches are a mix of different nationalities consisting of Argentinian, Italian, American, and German,” says Jocelyn, who is already moved in abroad. “The German players will speak to me in English but sometimes will speak German amongst themselves. I do not speak any German but the team might be able to set me up with a German course, which I would definitely take advantage of so I can learn a new language and help myself adjust to living in Germany.”
While many high school basketball players focus on college and pro opportunities in the United States, basketball is a global sport with global recruiting. According to the 2020 International Basketball Federation (FIBA) report, 1,733 American men and women play basketball abroad, most in Europe. FIBA says that Spain was the biggest destination for American players, at 153, while 136 Americans play in Germany. And while overseas basketball salaries aren’t as lofty as those in the NBA, there are other benefits. Jocelyn notes that, while he is in Germany, the only expense he will have is food.
“What’s important for anyone pursuing a dream to know is that sometimes it looks a little different than you first imagined but then sometimes it ends up being more than you imagined,” Jocelyn says. “I am achieving my dream of playing professionally but I also have this unique opportunity to travel and meet people from so many different places and experiences.”
“I’m very blessed to be able to travel the world and make money playing a sport that I love,” Jocelyn adds. “The most important things for me are to focus on basketball but also to immerse myself into the culture. I have such a great opportunity in front of me and I don’t want to shy away from it just because I need to adjust to a different culture. I want to embrace this change as much as possible.”