LAWRENCE, Kan. (WIBW) --- Kansas freshman Billy Preston is going pro, but he's not thinking about the NBA - or even the USA. He's going to Bosnia.
On Saturday, a professional team out of the Balkans, BC Igokea announced the club had signed the five-star prospect.
“We are thrilled to welcome Billy Preston to our Club," the team said on its website. " We are honored to have such a tremendous talent in our organization."
Despite all of his potential, the highly-regarded freshman forward never actually got into a regular-season game for the Jayhawks, sitting out the season-opener against Tennessee State after reportedly missing curfew and then class that day. Prior to the next game, Preston was involved in an single-vehicle wreck that led to KU head coach Bill Self keeping him out of the lineup.
"Billy’s family has been very upfront telling us that his first choice was to stay at Kansas, but with the uncertainty of the situation they needed to look at other potential options," Kansas head coach Bill Self said. "This opportunity in Bosnia came with a deadline for a decision, and the family reached that decision Friday afternoon."
"After I learned about the incident, I reported it to our administration. The administration determined that we needed a clearer financial picture specific to the vehicle, we decided to hold him out of tonight’s game and will continue to do that until the review is complete,” Self said at the time.
Preston hasn't played since. The team has never gone into detail regarding the nature of the review nor why the investigation kept Preston out for so long. The Kansas City Star reported KU sent its findings to the NCAA before the end of the year and were awaiting a resolution.
"We are all disappointed that Billy never had the opportunity to experience college basketball competition but we certainly support him and wish him the best, Self said. "Although he has been frustrated with the situation, Billy’s attitude has been tremendous and he has developed as a person and as a player. I’m sure that will continue as he prepares for his professional career.”
His new club pointed to Preston's troubles in Lawrence as their opportunity to pounce.
"We were watching his situation closely and reached out to his family to show interest and ultimately reached an Agreement with the family Attorney in California on a contract for the rest of the season," the team said.
Already talked about as a one-and-done player at KU, BC Igokea doesn't seem to hold any illusions toward keeping Preston for the long term. He only signed throughout the end of the season and the team is already talking up his NBA potential.
"We know Billy is an NBA prospect so we will do our best to continue his development to help him excel for our club and fulfill his goal which is to be an NBA star in the near future," they said.
Based in Aleksandrovac, in Bosnia and Herzegovina, BC Igokea has won five-straight Bosnian Championships and four out of the past five Bosnian Cups.