Latter-day Saints living their pro hoop dreams across the globe
Rookies and veterans alike dot diverse basketball rosters
By Jason Swensen
9 Jan 2023
The basketball globe is dotted with Latter-day Saints plying their hardwood trade on almost every continent.
Here’s a Church Ball Magazine roll call of Church members competing in the pro hoops ranks in 2023. The Latter-day Saint line-up looks a bit different this year with both Jimmer Fredette and Jabari Parker out of basketball.
Brendan Bailey (Marquette): A returned missionary and son of retired NBA veteran Thurl Bailey, the 6’8” forward is a prolific scorer (averaging almost 19 PPG) with Lulea of Sweden’s Basketligan. Bailey served a mission in Washington, D.C.
Justin Bean (Utah State): A rookie forward, Bean is averaging 10 points and 6.6 rebounds through five games with the NBA G League’s Memphis Hustle. He served a mission in Reno, Nevada.
Elijah Bryant (BYU): A veteran shooting guard who has played on both NBA and Euroleague champions, Bryant is averaging 16 points and almost four assists with Turkey’s Anadolu Efes.
Kyle Colllinsworth (BYU): A returned missionary, Collinsworth is averaging almost 8 points over nine games during the 2022-2023 season for San-en NeoPhoenix of Japan’s B1 League. Collinsworth is the team captain.
Yoeli Childs (BYU): After spending much of the 2022 season with the NBA G League Salt Lake City Stars, Childs took his talents this season to the Continent. He has performed well for Germany’s Hamburg Towers, averaging 14 points and 8 rebounds.
Brandon Davies (BYU): EuroLeague veteran Brandon Davies is in his first season with Italy’s Olimpia Milano after playing three seasons with Spanish powerhouse FC Barcelona. A reliable scorer since his days in Provo, Davies is averaging over 15 PPG with Milano.
Conner Harding (Utah Valley/BYU): The rookie is enjoying a productive year of pro ball competing in Germany’s ProA Bundesliga with WWU Münster. His wife, former BYU basketball star Paisley Johnson Harding, plays for the GiroLive-Panthers Osnabrük in the Toyota 1st Women’s Basketball Bundesliga.
Frank Jackson (Duke): Following NBA stops with New Orleans and Detroit, Jackson is playing the 2022-2023 season in his home state for the NBA G League Salt Lake City Stars.
Sam Merrill (Utah State): A returned missionary from Bountiful, Utah, Merrill was a teammate of fellow Latter-day Saint Elijah Bryant in Milwaukee when the Bucks won the 2021 NBA Finals. He played part of last season with the NBA’s Memphis Grizzlies and is currently rostered with the NBA G League’s Cleveland Charge, where he averages 19 PPG.
Erik Mika (BYU): A returned missionary and former Cougar big man, Mika is a true basketball globetrotter. The former Cougar big man has played professionally in Italy, Germany, China, Serbia and France.
He starts 2023 playing for the NBA G League Ignite, averaging 13 points and 8 rebounds per game.
Parker Van Dyke (Utah): A returned missionary guard from Salt Lake City, Van Dyke is averaging almost 17 PPG for Romerstrom Gladiators Trier of Germany’s ProA League.
Zac Seljaas (BYU): Like several of his fellow Latter-day Saint pros, Utahn Zac Seljaas is playing in Germany in 2023. The sharp-shooting returned missionary is averaging over 15 points and 6 rebounds a game for Tigers Tübingen.
Are we forgetting anyone? Please let us know.