Arsenio Arrington, first-year Grand Rapids Danger player is preparing for the NABL Championships with the team in just over a weeks time; personally, he is preparing for something else -- the beginning of his professional basketball career. On August 4th, the Danger squad will head down to Dallas, Texas to attempt to take home their first championship trophy. Just six days later on August 10th, Arrington will be boarding another plane, this time to Crailsheim, Germany to play professionally for the Crailsheim Merlins.
Upon signing with the Grand Rapids Danger, Arrington was completing his degree at Aquinas College. Though one of the younger players on the team, it was clear that he has the athleticism to play basketball at a very high level. Teammate Derek Brooks recalls telling Arsenio to work hard and take this season seriously so that it could open doors for him to play professionally. His hard work eventually paid off when he and several Danger players were invited to play at the Power to Win combine in North Carolina. Here, players can showcase their talents while professional agencies scout for the best of the best. Arrington was picked up by Power to Win sports right away. “During the camp, I didn’t talk to James (Power to Win sports agent) at all, he talked to Allen (GR Danger owner) and we connected a few days later,” said Arrington. “We talked for about 45 minutes, he introduced me to the company and we had a good conversation about my future”.
James communicated that several professional teams that were watching the combine via live stream had taken interest in Arrington. Teams from countries in Ireland and Germany.
Not a week later Arrington’s dreams of playing professionally were coming to fruition. The head coach of the Crailsheim Merlins in Germany wanted to speak with him. “He called me and we had a long conversation,” said Arrington. We talked about where he sees me fit on the team and that he wants to start me right away. I’m one of the older guys on the team”. The fact that Arrington was able to talk to the head coach directly to discuss his future on the team made him feel like he could really envision what life playing for the Merlins would be like.
For any player, being able to start on your very first professional team is an amazing yet difficult feat in itself, having to travel 4,290 miles from home and learn a new language, however, is a whole different kind of feat. “It’s going to be a little weird, I’ve never been out of the country before,” says Arrington, who is taking the challenges of a new culture and language head-on with basketball being his first priority.
The Merlins are currently a German BBL team, the highest level league in Germany. This is an upgrade from being a German Pro A team in the 2017-18 season. The Merlins earned a 34-5 record for the season, good for 2nd place in the League which, in Germany, qualifies them to move up to the highest league. They must end the season as one of the top two teams in the league to continue to play in the BBL for the 2019-20 season. This shows more than anything the value the Merlins coaching staff finds in bringing on Arsenio to start on their team. With Arrington’s experience starting for the Danger combined with being one of the older players on the Merlins roster, there is no doubt he will make an excellent leader.
Arsenio leaves for Crailsheim on August 10th and starts training camp on August 13th. As he looks forward to his new adventures overseas he also hopes to head to Germany with a NABL championship to add to his portfolio. Follow the Danger on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter to see Arsenio and the rest of the Danger compete in the NABL Championships on August 5th and 6th in Dallas, Texas. The Merlins have yet to post an official game schedule, but you can anticipate it on this website and you can always follow Arsenio on social media to keep up with his training and life in Germany!