HE is one of the top Fil-American players to come out of the US NCAA this season, but Jason Brickman is headed not for the NBA or Gilas Pilipinas or the PBA.
Brickman is headed for Russia.
Brickman, born to a Filipino mother in San Antonio, Texas, wrapped up his senior year with the Long Island University Blackbirds last March 1 by becoming just the fourth men’s player in US NCAA Division I history to have 1,000 or more assists in his college career.
Listed at six feet, Brickman finished his collegiate career with a total of 1,009 assists, putting him in an elite group of top NCAA playmakers that included by Duke’s Bobby Hurley (1,076), North Carolina State’s Chris Corchiani (1,038) and Ed Cota of North Carolina (1,030).
Brickman, listed as one of the best passers in the NCAA by ESPN analyst Jay Bilas, told Spin.ph he originally wanted to play for Gilas Pilipinas, which is set to begin its preparation for the Fiba World Cup and Asian Games in Incheon, South Korea on Tuesday.
However, his bid was derailed by new eligibility rules adopted for all Fiba-sanctioned tournaments that require all players to acquire the citizenship of the nations they represent before the age of 16.
“I found out from (Gilas) coach Chot Reyes I am not able to play for the national team since I was not a Filipino citizen before age 16,” the LIU Blackbird star told Spin.ph.
That same rule has made Fil-Am standouts like Sol Mercado ineligible for Gilas in Fiba tournaments.
His Gilas plan derailed, the 22-year-old has instead signed a three-year deal to play for Dynamo Moscow, saying he hopes to gain experience in Europe's pro leagues to get better.
“I am just going to try to improve playing in Russia and gain experience playing professionally in Europe,” said Fil-Am guard said.
Dynamo Moscow is considered as one of the top professional teams in Russia, where current Charlotte Hornets playmaker Jannero Pargo used to play.
But when asked if he is open to joining the PBA, Brickman said he’s keeping his options open.
“After my three-year contract, I will try to continue to play, wherever is the best situation from me,” said Brickman, who added he was still a baby when his family last brought him to the Philippines.
The baby-faced Brickman averaged 11.3 points, 10.0 assists and 3.3 rebounds for the Blackbirds in his final collegiate season.