Posted: May 19, 2009
BETHLEHEM, Pa. – Former Lehigh hoopsters Joe Knight ’06 and Jose Olivero ’07 continue to make headlines on the hardwood as the pair of Mountain Hawks alumni shined this past season in their respective pro leagues. Knight, who plays for Pertevniyal in Turkey, was named the TB2L (Turkish Second Basketball League) Import Player of the Year, while Olivero, a member of Le Portel in France, ranked eighth in the Pro B League in scoring at 17.1 points per game.
Knight, a 2006 All-Patriot League selection, ranked third in the TB2L for scoring (21.4), second in assists (6.0), first in steals (2.6) and he added 4.2 rebounds per game. He began the season with a 37-point showing versus Vestel and netted 20 or more points in 13 games. The native of Tennessee was named the TB2L Guard of the Year and the Defensive Player of the Year and earned First-Team All-League, First-Team All-Defense and First-Team All-Imports accolades. Knight and his team advanced to the second round of the playoffs before falling to the eventual league champion, Tofas.
There are a total of 24 teams participating in the TB2L in two groups, A and B. Each team competes versus the other teams in its group twice during the regular season and eight teams from every group qualify for the playoffs. Pertevniyal finished the 2008-09 regular season with a record of 12-10.
Olivero, a two-time First-Team All-Patriot League selection while at Lehigh, led Le Portel in scoring this past season, at 17.1 points per game, which ranked eighth best in the Pro B League. The Virginia native shot 39-percent from three-point range and 79-percent from the free throw line, while averaging 2.8 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 1.4 steals per game. Olivero netted a season best 32 points on December 20 versus Quimper, and the former Mountain Hawk eclipsed the 20-point mark in 12 games.
Le Portel is a member of the LNB (Ligue Nationale de Basketball), which is the top men’s professional basketball league in France. “Le Portel just moved into Pro B two years prior, so expectations entering this season were not very high,” Olivero explained. “We did get off to a great start though, winning seven of our first eight games, which helped us earn a top-three ranking. The guys on the team were riding high and we were receiving a lot of attention. After that hot start however, we cooled off considerably and lost three of our next five games at the buzzer. We finished with an 11-23 record and there were certainly plenty of ups and downs, but it was a learning experience for me.”
There are two divisions within the LNB, including the French Pro A League (first division) and French Pro B League (second division). There are a total of 18 teams in the Pro B League, including Le Portel. The teams play each other twice during the regular season and the top eight regular season teams qualify for the Pro B playoffs.