After months of uncertainty, Jimmy Kodet's time finally arrived over the weekend.
Kodet, a fan favorite when he played Valdosta State basketball, signed with TV 1897 Goldbach of the German Regional Liga on Sunday.
The Williamston, Mich. native spoke about what signing to play in Germany means to him during a phone interview Monday.
"It feels like a dream come true," Kodet said. "I finally reached one of my lifelong goals of being able to call myself a pro athlete."
Kodet signed with agent Thanos Koukouravas and L.A. Sports Agency last May after helping VSU to its second consecutive 26-win campaign and its second straight NCAA tournament appearance.
While most college players going overseas to play ink contracts in August, Kodet had to practice patience as he awaited a quality offer. While at work in his hometown Jan. 2, Kodet got an urgent call from Koukouravas that would change his life forever.
"We had a couple different offers come on the table but then things fell through –– financially, it wasn't gonna be worth it or I wasn't gonna be able to live off of it," Kodet said. "And then, just last week, my agent called me at 8 in the morning while I was at work and said, 'I have an offer that Coach said is only on the table for 10 minutes, so if you don't give me an answer, it's going away.'
"It was the best offer that I've received so I had to take it and that's where I'm headed with Goldbach Basketball."
The 6-foot-8 forward averaged 10.9 points, 6.4 rebounds and 1.7 blocks per game as a senior with the Blazers. Known for his high-flying dunks and silky shooting touch, Kodet earned the nickname "Jimmy Buckets." Kodet shot 49.8 percent from the floor, making 67 3-pointers at a 41.4 percent clip –– the second-highest percentage on the team.
In terms of his role with Goldbach, Kodet expects to play a similar role to his time at Valdosta State, floating between both forward positions and spending time at center.
"I'm expecting to be kind of a keyhole guy, playing the power forward and center position," Kodet said. "Right now, according to the coach, they're in a little bit of a struggle with being last in their conference. He said we can only go up from here and this is a chance for us after the winter break to take a turnaround and push forward to better ourselves in the conference."
Coming from Lansing Community College, Kodet admittedly felt quite the culture shock; moving down from the frigid temperatures of Michigan to the heat and humidity of South Georgia.
Now, Kodet heads to Goldbach, Germany –– 4,185 miles from his hometown, where a whole new world awaits. Kodet says he expects a bit of a transition upon arrival but embraces the idea of starting his professional career abroad.
"I think I'm going to adjust fairly well," Kodet said. "It's gonna take a little bit of time to get used to some things, but I think it's gonna be fun and a great life experience to go somewhere different, meet new people, try new foods and get an idea of what it's like to live in another country."
During the months that followed his signing with Koukouravas, Kodet went back to Williamston and got to work –– practicing alone, working on his ball-handling and feel for the game, playing in men's leagues around the area to stay fit.
Eight months passed before his big break arrived. With not much coming in the form of a stable offer, Kodet admits he began to feel a little discouraged.
"I was doing my own conditioning, getting shots up and doing a lot of good shooting drills I learned through playing at VSU," Kodet said of his daily routine. "As things were falling through, I didn't think it was ever gonna happen. ... A lot of people just told me to stick with it, don't give up on it and keep my hopes high so that when it does come, I'm ready to go."
Kodet also received support from former VSU teammate Jeremiah Hill. Hill, a combo guard for the NBA G-League's Lakeland Magic, came up to Michigan to play the Grand Rapids Drive during a game on Dec. 7. Kodet couldn't resist a chance to see Hill and the Magic in action.
The Magic defeated the Drive 109-98. After the game, Kodet and Hill hung out and had a very honest conversation about Kodet's waiting game.
Kodet recalls: "I went and watched him play and when I told him what was going on, he told me, 'The January crew is coming up, just get ready. This is when guys get sent home and other guys come in. Your time's gonna come, I just know it. Get ready for January.' And that's exactly what happened."
Now under contract, Kodet feels a renewed sense of confidence.
A year removed from shining under the bright lights of The Complex with the Blazers, Kodet reflects positively on his time at VSU. More importantly, his name and picture will soon be added to the Blazers' "VSU Pros" wall in the locker room.
"It means a lot because when you get recruited at VSU, the first thing you see on that locker room wall is the wall of guys that made it pro," Kodet said. "There's only been like 12, 13 guys. It makes you set the goal of, 'I want to be on that wall.'
"To know that I got to play there for two years and the season that we had (last year), with a lot of records being broken and a lot of wins under our belt, the fact that I get to leave and finally say my name and picture's going up on that wall of being a pro that played at VSU, it's a great feeling."