Nik Caner-Medley will be heading to France for a 15th professional basketball season. Derek Davis

Nik Caner-Medley will head to Europe soon for a 15th professional basketball season. The former Deering High star recently signed a contract with Fos Provence in France’s top pro basketball league.

The team, which plays in the LNB Pro A league, is located in Fos-sur-mer on the Mediterranean coast of France, a location that had great appeal to Caner-Medley and his wife, Shoni.

“One of the things that was important to my wife and me was location,” said the 36-year-old Caner-Medley. “I have heard really good things about the organization. France has a great league. We’re really excited about it. It’s really the best of both worlds. It’s a great place to live and a great place to play basketball. I think it will be a great opportunity.”

But before Caner-Medley leaves – and he’s not sure exactly what day that will be just yet – he has a little community service to perform. Because of the coronavirus pandemic, he and his partners through TRUSPORTS had to cancel their annual Summer Slam event, a one-day free camp/clinic that draws about 250 children from the Greater Portland area. But since this is the 10th anniversary of Summer Slam, they still wanted to do something.

So on Thursday and Saturday, they will  be holding a “Teach, Reach, Unite” giveaway at three locations, providing youngsters with a backpack full of items such as T-shirts, shorts, face masks, hand sanitizer and more. Caner-Medley and TRUSPORTS director Colby Emmons will be on hand to distribute the items, along with members of the local police forces.

On Thursday, they’ll be at the East Bayside Policing Community Center at 11 a.m. On Saturday, they’ll be in South Portland at the Red Bank Community Center parking lot from 9 a.m. to noon and then at the Cornelia Warren Pool in Westbrook from 1-3 p.m.

Social distancing protocols will be followed and face masks are required.

Caner-Medley said the pandemic may have prevented the clinic, but that it was still important to reach out to the youngsters in the community and provide a positive experience during trying times.

“The goal is to create positive energy and make some relationships,” said Caner-Medley. “I feel it connects the community in a positive way, bringing together kids from all different races and financial backgrounds. It builds relationships.”

He added that it was important to have members of the police departments involved “so that we can create positive relationships with them.”

Attending the giveaways is not without risk for Caner-Medley: he has to pass a COVID-19 test within 72 hours of his flight to Europe. Then he has to pass another COVID-19 test when he arrives. That’s why he’s stressing following CDC guidelines regarding social distancing and face masks.

“If I can’t pass the COVID test I can’t go,” he said. “But at the same time this was not something I was going to give up.”

Caner-Medley is receiving an essential worker’s visa, allowing him and his family, which includes Shoni (who must also pass a COVID test) and their daughter, Jade, to travel to Europe.

Last year Caner-Medley played for the Cyberdyne Ibaraki Robots of the Japan B2 League, and was averaging 18.4 points, 8.5 rebounds and 3.4 assists when the season was stopped because of the coronavirus pandemic.

He has previously played in Germany, Spain, Kazakhstan, Israel, Italy, France and Monaco. He considers his time in Monaco some of the best he’s ever had and was eager to get back to that region.

Caner-Medley declined to say how much he signed for, only that it was for less than from other clubs. His contract has one year guaranteed, with a second year depending on the team’s results. If the team wins a championship, the second year becomes guaranteed as well.

“For me location was more important than money,” said Caner-Medley, who has made over $7 million in his playing career. “This is one of the nicest places to live in the world, outside of basketball.”


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