Hinrichs gets start overseas
Seth Hinrichs always dreamed of playing professional basketball. On Oct. 10, he realized that dream. The former MACCRAY star, who signed with FC Porto in Porto, Portugal, in early August, played 16 minutes and scored seven points in his professio...
Seth Hinrichs always dreamed of playing professional basketball.
On Oct. 10, he realized that dream.
The former MACCRAY star, who signed with FC Porto in Porto, Portugal, in early August, played 16 minutes and scored seven points in his professional debut in Porto’s 78-61 win against Electrico FC.
The next day, Porto beat Ovarense 64-49, with Hinrichs chipping in seven points again in 12 minutes.
Hinrichs said he first realized a professional career might be within reach during his junior year at Lafayette College in Easton, Pennsylvania.
“It was something I had always dreamed of, but up to that point I never really considered seriously,” he said.
The 6-foot-8 guard/forward received offers from teams in Germany and Spain as well as FC Porto.
“My agent and family and I decided that Porto was the best situation in terms of the basketball club, the coach and the city,” he said.
Porto is in its first season in Liga Portuguesa de Basquetebol, the top professional league in Portugal.
The team plays a 20-game season in the 11-team league.
Hinrichs moved to Portugal on Aug. 20, with his wife Andrea coming nine days later.
He said adjusting to professional basketball is like making the transition from high school to NCAA Division I.
“Being a rookie now is similar to being a freshman in college or even a freshman in high school,” he said. “There is always a learning curve right away. The speed and physicality of the game is always the first thing that takes some time to get adjusted to, and the talent level of the players obviously gets better.”
He’s also had to adjust off the court, having an ocean and over 4,000 miles between Minnesota and Portugal. The culture is different but the people are very welcoming and open, he said.
“Most of my teammates speak Portuguese or Spanish, but they all know some English so I’m able to have conversations with them,” he said. “There are also two other Americans on the team, so that has been really nice.”
Hinrichs said the Porto coaches, led by head coach Moncho Lopez, want to have a large rotation of about 10 guys playing equal minutes.
“Right now I’m coming off the bench, so my role is to provide energy on both ends of the court,” he said.
A four-year starter for Lafayette, Hinrichs captained the Patriot League-winning Leopards into an NCAA tournament berth last spring.
Lafayette got stuck as the No. 16-seed and had to face No. 1-seed Villanova, losing 93-52, but that didn’t take away from the experience.
“It was unforgettable,” Hinrichs said. “The entire experience from winning the Patriot League championship on our home court and having the fans storm the court to playing in March Madness was awesome. That was our team goal every year and to finally achieve it as a senior was the best way to go out.”
Hinrichs left Lafayette as the program’s No. 5 career scorer (1,535 points), No. 17 career rebounder (569) and No. 4 career 3-point shooter (43.1 percent).
As a senior, he averaged 13.1 points and 5.7 rebounds while shooting 49 percent from the field and 39 percent from 3-point range.
That was good enough to get him a one-year contract with a mutual option for a second year.
“I’m not sure how long my wife and I will stay in Europe,” Hinrichs said. “I’d like to play for a while, whether that’s two, five or even 10 years.”
Hinrichs is the fifth player from the area to play professionally, joining Dawson-Boyd’s Jeff Nordgaard, Morris Area’s Brett Winkelman, Milan’s Wayne Brabender and Willmar’s Craig FitzSimmons.