Rashard Griffth was a standout on the mens basketball team during his collegiate career at Wisconsin (1994-95) and has since become one of the top players in the international game. With the Badgers, Griffth helped lead Wisconsin to the 1994 NCAA tournament, the schools first appearance in 47 years. Griffth led the Big Ten in blocks that year and capped the season with 22 points and 15 rebounds in a NCAA first-round win over Cincinnati. As a sophomore, Griffith became the first Badger since 1977 to average a double-double with 17.2 points and 11.2 boards per game.
Griffith was a second-round NBA draft pick of the Milwaukee Bucks after leaving Madison and has since spent 14 seasons playing internationally throughout Europe. He has spent time playing in Turkey, Israel, Spain and Italy before signing with his current team in Romania. With 18 championships and the 1997 Turkish League MVP on his resume, the 7-foot big-man is in the midst of an incredible career.
He was back in Madison in late July and caught up with UWBadgers.com.
Where are you living and playing these days
Im still playing in Romania with CSU Asesoft. This will be my third season with them coming up. I actually leave next week to head back over there for camp. We start camp in early August and then start games in September and the season goes all the way until June.
Whats Romanian living like
You know, I like it. Its like any another European country. There is a misconception about the country because whenever they show stories and footage from of over there its always the bad things. But I enjoy it. Like any place, it has bad areas, but also great areas. Its nice living and the people are okay. Its also pretty close to other European countries like Spain and France, so you can travel easily.
How did last season go
We won the championship again. That makes 18 championships that Ive been a part of over my career.
Do you get rings for all of those championships
They do things a little differently over there. They dont really give out rings, its more like trophies and other things. Ive got a lot of them collected from over the years.
With all of those titles, do have one pro career highlight
Probably winning the European League championship in 2001 with Italian club Kinder Bologna. I was on a team with Manu Ginobili and Marko Jaric, so we had a really good team and that was fun. Winning the Euroleague title is basically like winning the NBA title over in the States.
Youve played in so many different places, what is your favorite place to live
Id say Spain or Italy. I really enjoyed my time there.
Why are you back in Madison
I come back every summer these days, its like my second home. After leaving in 1995, I didnt come back to Madison until 2005. Howard Moore had been trying to get me back and I finally did and now I come back every year to see people.
Place in Madison that is a must visit when you come back
I didnt really go out a lot when I was a student there, so I dont have many spots that I need to go to. It was pretty much go to practice, go to class and then back to the Regent where I lived. Now when I come back, I just like to see all that has changed on campus. Theyve done a great job here. When I was here we played in the Fieldhouse and now with the Kohl Center and everything, its neat to just go over there and see it and talk to people like Coach Ryan and Howard.
Favorite Badger memory
Id say making the NCAA tournament during my freshman year in 1994. That was the first time Wisconsin had been there since 1947, so that was cool.
What are post playing-career plans
I want to pass along all of the knowledge and experience that Ive gathered on to others. So I want to go into coaching and teaching at camps. Im not sure what level Id want to coach at, but I want to stay involved in the game and help coach others.