Seth Swalve continues to climb the professional ladder.
The former Cullman High School basketball player recently signed with the UK’s Hemel Storm, who compete in the National Basketball League (Division I), after a first stint overseas with Gtuni, a Georgia- A League based in the country of Georgia.
For Swalve, who graduated in 2016, he had the time of his life to pursue his dreams.
“It was amazing,” he said in a phone interview with The Times. “I’ve wanted to do this since I was a kid. I had no idea what all of this would entail – being away from family, living abroad, being kind of isolated – but it was the best thing I’ve ever experienced. Playing basketball for my job, meeting new people, building relationships, traveling. I really like to play basketball, but I also like people and places. It was really special for me.”
Swalve played in 13 games for Gtuni last season, averaging 12.5 points, 5.2 assists and 4.1 rebounds per game while shooting 54% from 3-point range.
While those marksmanship stats aren’t new to those who have followed his prep career at Cullman, Swalve said the dynamics of playing overseas were very different from what he had grown accustomed to at the level. secondary and college (UAH).
“In high school, the expectation was to work on your game and get a buy-in with the team,” he said. “At that age, a lot of the vision comes from the head coach himself, the assistants, the fans, other external things. At UAH there is the same kind of demand, but I think the expectations are increasing for your individual performance and work ethic.
“My first year abroad…it’s completely individual and winning. That’s all that really matters other than not getting in trouble or being a headache for your team. There’s a lot of pressure on you individually, and there’s no one to save you. It’s sink or swim. It was a big transition for me. In the United States, there are more athletes. But what the athletes here might lack, they make up for in IQ, team play and strategy. I was lucky to have a good base of that playing UAH.
Swalve likened his first run with Gtuni to a “starting, entry-level position”, but added that it was “the best I could do as an undersized guard at a small school”.
The 25-year-old, however, impressed the semi-professional club enough to earn another contract year before finally deciding to sign with Hemel.
“My stats at UAH didn’t jump off the page, so my freshman tried to get something professional on my resume and go from there. Just try to put in enough numbers for my agent to follow that and market me. This league I’m in now is a bit better in all aspects – resources, dynamics, players.
“This team lost in the championship last year but brought back a lot of key places. I think we can win a lot of games. That’s something I’m focused on – having a run in the playoffs and winning the right to play in big games and win those big games. And my whole goal as a player is just to grow offensively and defensively, raise my IQ, hone my skills. I just want to be a sponge, make the better team and learn a lot from them.”
Despite last year’s new lifestyle, Swalve hasn’t forgotten his roots.
He said he receives many text messages from his parents, siblings, former coaches and teammates, friends and people he has met along the way – all offering various words of encouragement as he continues to press on. a childhood dream.
“The support has been wonderful,” he said. “The time change makes things difficult, but there is never a shortage. It’s something I appreciate the most. At random times I may get a text…and it’s just another boost and a reason to keep me motivated.