After a summer full of workouts, training and hoping for a chance to play professionally, former Loyola men’s basketball player Clayton Custer has signed a contract overseas.
The contract is something that has been in the works for a while, Custer said. His agent, Jason Glushon of Glushon Sports Management, had been talking to teams all over Europe and America.
Then it all came to fruition July 18 when Custer was offered not one, but two contracts — one in Finland and one in Poland. The catch? WKS Śląsk Wrocław, the Polish team, wanted an answer the following day.
After weighing the pros and cons, Custer said his heart was in Poland.
Custer signed a nine-month contract with the team with the potential to renew after the season is over. Custer didn’t disclose the financial aspects of his contract.
“The team will be a little bit better than the one in Finland,” Custer, 24, told The Phoenix. “The Polish League is a pretty good place to start for rookies who go overseas.”
He also added — stumbling over the pronunciation — that the city he’d be staying in, Wrocław, was beautiful and he was excited to experience a different culture.
While leaning toward WKS Śląsk Wrocław, Custer said he wanted input from his parents. So, while visiting Custer in Chicago, they took the opportunity to talk to Glushon about the opportunity.
The location where the discussion went down? Wrigley Field, in the middle of a Cubs game.
“Once [my parents] had their conversation they gave me the green light to go ahead and do it,” Custer, who graduated in May, said. “So I signed the contract right there.”
He’d gotten the contract earlier in the day and signed it on his phone, sitting at Wrigley. His best friend and former teammate, Ben Richardson, was there to capture the moment. He took a video of the atmosphere at the game and Clayton signing the contract with his family and agent around him.
The post read: “Pretty good setting for @claytoncuster3 to sign his first pro deal.”
“Ben thought it was a cool moment, so he put it on his Instagram story and everyone was asking about it,” Custer said. “But we couldn’t really tell anybody about it yet, because it wasn’t made official. It was kind of a little teaser.”
It became official July 22 when WKS Śląsk Wrocław tweeted out the official announcement.
The tweet loosely translated reads: We have a new guest in the city. Listen to what this year’s winner of the NCAA three-point competition has to say to you.
The announcement included a video of Custer greeting the fans and expressing his excitement to be joining the team.
He leaves for Poland Aug. 13 to get settled and start practicing before the season starts in September.
WKS Śląsk Wrocław is in the second tier, I Liga, of a four-tiered system referred to as the “Polish basketball league system.”
Custer’s new team was the runner-up of the I Liga last season and just missed the chance to be promoted to the top tier league. Śląsk Wrocław has won 17 championship titles — the most in league history.
“Obviously, it’s going to be a tough transition going to Europe and not really knowing anyone there,” Custer said. “But it’s always been a dream of mine to play professional basketball no matter where it is, so I’m excited about it.”