Former Shippensburg University basketball standout Dustin Sleva announced last week that he signed a professional contract with Paris Basketball in France’s second division, Ligue Nationale de Basket Pro B. One of the most widely known and respected leagues in Europe, the LNB Pro B should be a great learning experience for Sleva as he begins his professional career.
Paris is a newly formed squad run by former president of basketball operations for the Minnesota Timberwolves, David Kahn, so the team will afford Sleva the chance to play in a professional team and possibly move up in his career over time. According to Sleva’s agency, Inception Sports, the league does not normally sign rookies, but Sleva’s college career caught the eye of the scouts in Paris, allowing him to break in at a high level.
Sleva graduated from SU in the spring, closing the book on an illustrious Raider career. He claimed several records on his way to becoming arguably the best basketball player in school history. Sleva claimed the school record for most career points with 2,071, passing assistant coach and former great Chuck Davis.
He also is the all-time leader in rebounds for a Raider with 1,140. He is one of only four players in Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) history to finish his career with more than 2,000 points and 1,000 rebounds.
He was a crucial part of the teams that made it to the PSAC playoffs every season of his collegiate career. Sleva’s years were a big turnaround in the success of the SU basketball program, as the team had struggled in previous years. In his last three years with the Raiders, the squad passed 20 wins for the first time since the 2005 season. The team also won a PSAC championship in 2017 as the Raiders finished with a 27–4 record and made it to the second round of the NCAA Division II playoffs with strong seasons from several players including Sleva.
SU coach Chris Fite arrived the year before Sleva, and when asked about his success and his new opportunity, Fite said Sleva was one of the hardest-working players he had ever been around and he was thankful for all Sleva contributed to the team.
“My staff and I could not be more proud of Dustin and we wish him all the best as he begins what is sure to be a long professional career,” Fite said.
Sleva was just one of several signings Paris has made during the offseason as the team prepares for its inaugural season. Most of the league has mainly stuck to signing homegrown players, meaning the majority of Sleva’s opponents will be French.
Paris has gone for a more diverse lineup with its signings, with four of its eight players coming from outside countries, such as the U.S., Canada and Australia.
There is also a wide range of ages currently on the team. The youngest player is 20 years old, while the oldest are 32. Sleva is almost in the middle at 22. It looks as if Sleva will be sticking to playing power forward, where he found much of his success at SU.
The LNB Pro B season will tip off Oct. 12, giving Paris plenty of time to round off the squad and begin building team chemistry before the beginning of its first season.
Paris will hope that Sleva can carry his offensive momentum from last season into his first professional year, as he finished with 706 points last season — good enough for another school record and the best mark in the PSAC.
Sleva is one of the first Raiders to make it on a professional squad in many years, meaning fans should try to keep track of his career as he continues to improve. Hopefully Paris is the first stop toward a long career for Sleva.