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Posted on Tue, Jul 24, 2012 : 11:01 a.m.

Former Michigan basketball standout Zack Novak didn't rush things, found the right fit in the Netherlands

By Nick Baumgardner


Former Michigan basketball captain Zack Novak says he's found the right fit in Europe to begin his professional career.

Melanie Maxwell |

When it came to choosing a college, Zack Novak didn't really have a choice.

An undersized, less-than-quick guard from rural Indiana, Novak's offer sheet was smaller than a fast food dollar menu.

But after beating the odds and becoming one of the more beloved multi-year captains in Michigan basketball history, Novak was able to take his time a bit with his next playing destination.

And after some deliberation, he found the right fit.

"It's just nice now when people ask me what I'm going to do with myself and I have an actual answer for them," Novak quipped. "The process wasn't bad, it went well and I'm excited."

The former Michigan captain signed a one-year contract Sunday to play for the Netherlands-based Landstede basketball club next season. He declined to discuss the terms of the deal.

Throughout his final season at Michigan, Novak insisted he would like to continue his basketball career professionally -- by any means necessary.

He had an impromptu tryout with the Cleveland Cavaliers in June, but focused mainly on his overseas options. And, rather than opting for the first suitor to come his way, the Big Ten's smallest power forward got a chance to be patient this time while searching for the right fit.

Novak turned down one offer to play in Switzerland, but eventually found what he believes to be a good match in Landstede -- a club coached by Herman van den Belt, who happens to have a friendly relationship with Michigan coach John Beilein.

"I got a chance to really look at everything," Novak said. "This is a profession, it's your means of living but this can't be just a one-year decision. You've got to go to a place where you're going to be able to play well, where you'll help further your career.

"They run a two-guard (offense) there, coach (Beilein) has a relationship with their coach and there's other (American) players who have gone there and done well."

As for the adjustment to living in a foreign country? Novak's not too worried.

English is one of the main speaking languages in Zwolle, and Novak has some familiarity with the Netherlands from Michigan's 2010 European summer trip.

He's not an expert on the area, by any means.

But he's overcome some pretty big obstacles so far his in playing career, and he's not too worried about getting through this one.

"That's just my personality," Novak said. "I can fit in at a lot of places.

"I'm just ready to embrace the experience."

Nick Baumgardner covers Michigan sports for He can be reached at 734-623-2514, by email at and followed on Twitter @nickbaumgardner.



Thu, Jul 26, 2012 : 11:43 a.m.

zack-----give landstede the effort that you gave in A2 and they'll love you forever. take some M gear with you. that alone will start some conversations. best of luck to you.


Wed, Jul 25, 2012 : 4:02 p.m.