UCSD basketball player, center Chris Hansen. Photo credit: Andy Wilhelm, via ucsdtritions.com

Former UC San Diego basketball standout Chris Hansen signed a contract to begin his professional career in the Slovak Basketball League.

His team, BK Inter Bratislava is based in the Slovakian capital.

“I played a bunch of different sports growing up, but it wasn’t until my time at UCSD that I decided I wanted to play basketball as long as I could,” Hansen said. “Why stop if I’m having fun? The language barrier was a hesitation for me, but in talking with others, it doesn’t seem to be as big an issue. I spoke with Adam Klie and Coach Brendan Clowry who played overseas about their experiences. They gave me a good idea of what to expect. I am excited to get going.”

The 9-team SBL season runs from fall to spring, with playoffs to follow. BK Inter Bratislava has won two of the last three SBL titles.

The 2019-20 season was not completed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I’m so proud of Chris and excited to watch him at the next level,” said UC San Diego head coach Eric Olen. “He’s been a huge part of our success the last five years and I know he’s going to be successful in his professional career as well. Inter Bratislava is getting not only a great player, but an even better person and teammate.”

An NABC All-American as a junior, Hansen, a recent graduate, departs as the program’s all-time leading rebounder at the Division II level. He accomplished the feat despite missing 15 games this past season after being slowed with a foot injury.

Fully recovered, Hansen says UC San Diego has prepared him well for his new challenge.

“Having such great people surrounding me and teaching me the day-to-day approach to basketball has helped prepare me for this moment,” he added. “My understanding of the game is much more refined thanks to the program and guys like Drew Dyer, Adam Klie and Scott Everman. They have instilled confidence in me that I can contribute at a high level.”

Hansen will depart California in two weeks and be tested twice for COVID-19 before formally joining his new team for preseason play.

– Staff reports

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