this week in unintentionally grim-sounding recruiting headlines
Slow day here at work, and for whatever reason the name Alex Legion popped up in my head. So I decided to check and see what the former UM commit and UK/UI/FIU player is up to these days. But first, the back-stroy for the younger/newer crowd: Legion was a big deal when he initially committed to UofM in 2005, decommitted 5 months later, and then recommitted in the following three months. I remember Legion as one of the first UM sports recruits I ever got excited about and thought he would make watching Michigan basketball fun again.
Ranked 44th overall by Rivals, 39th by Scout and 28th by ESPN, Legion, who played his HS ball at Detroit Country Day before transferring to Oak Hill Academy for his senior season, was seen as a major grab for Tommy Amaker. Legion was expected to form a dynamic backcourt duo with Manny Harris, boosting Michigan basketball back to prominence. When Amaker was fired in '07, he demanded a release from his NLI because "he didn't want to play for John Beilein"(!!). A quick bit of googling suggests that Legion's mother was heavily involved in changing his commitment to Kentucky, among other things.
Legion found himself at Kentucky after being released by UofM, where he would play 6 games before transferring out from under Billy Gillespie, due to concerns over playing time. He then landed at Illinois and played 33 games, averaging around 3 PPG in his time there. To the surprise of his teammates and coach Bruce Weber, Legion then transferred to FIU to play for Isiah Thomas. His career at Florida International got off to a good start, as Legion averaged 13 PPG and 5.1 RPG in his first ten games of the '10-'11 season, including a pair of 20-point performances. For the first time in his college career, Alex Legion was getting a chance and taking advantage of it.
Legion appeared to finally be settling in somewhere when he was dismissed by Thomas and FIU for an undisclosed violation of team rules. This was the last sad turn and the end of Legion's college career, which saw him finish with career averages of 5.65 PPG, 2.12 RPG and 0.76 APG. Not exactly what had been planned for a consensus top-50 player coming out of high school, and a guy who had been said to have limitless talent.
In 2012 Legion signed with PVSK Pannonpower, a Division A (highest) professional team in Hungary. He found success with the club, averaging 19.5 PPG and 5.65 RPG in the 2012-13 season, parlaying that success into a deal with the MecEnergy Roseto Sharks, an Italian professional team in the Legadue Silver league. Legion had another great season with the Sharks, notching 23.3 PPG and 9.6 RPG and being chosen for the league's All-Star game. On May 5, 2014 Legion scored 20 points after being signed by Sagesse - Al Hekmeh Beirut of the Lebanese Division A pro league, for one day to replace an injured player.
As far as I can tell, Legion will continue playing for Roseto in Italy, although I cannot find anything to confirm this. I'm glad to see that things appear to finally be going well for Alex Legion. It truly seems like he was manipulated, both by his mother and his AAU coach, as a teen, and never really had the chance to develop into a good basketball player and person. While he is ultimately responsible for the way things happened during his college career, part of me feels that he never had a chance due to his upbringing. Sometimes a guy with his amount of talent is just treated as a "meal ticket". I wish him continued success in Europe/Asia; and who knows, maybe he'll get another chance here in the US someday?