UCI's Wilder, Starring to play pro overseas

Former UC Irvine men's basketball players Michael Wilder and Daman Starring have joined former teammate Adam Folker as members of professional teams overseas.

Michael Wilder, a senior in 2012-13, is headed to Spain to play for UP Basquet Gandia.

Starring, also a senior last season, has signed to play with La Fortezza Recanati in Italy.

Folker, the two-time Big West Conference Hustle Award winner who graduated in the spring, signed earlier with a team in the Czech Republic.

Starring, named UCI's Most Outstanding Player as a senior, led UCI with 12.9 points per game. The second-team All-Big West honoree also earned a spot on the Big West All-Tournament team after helping the 'Eaters advance to the championship game.

Starring's 152 career three-pointers rank seventh in UCI history. He finished with 97 steals and 1,064 points in three seasons at UCI, after transferring from Centenary.

"Playing in Italy has been amazing, a great experience and I couldn't ask to be in a better place my first year out of college," Starring said.

"My team is great, a bunch of really good guys. They welcomed me with open arms and have been a pleasure to be around, and they are helping me with my Italian."

Wilder averaged 8.6 points and 5.4 rebounds as a senior. His 224 career three-pointers rank third in school annals, his 272 assists are No. 12, his 596 career rebounds are No. 13 and his 1,082 points rank 21st.

"I am very thankful for the opportunity to play in Spain," Wilder said. "I owe a great deal of thanks to my coaches and especially to UCI alumnus Johnny Rogers, who was a tremendous help and the main reason I was able to find this team (Rogers averaged 21.2 points in two seasons at UCI from 1984-86 and played professionally two years in the NBA and another 15 seasons in Spain, Italy and Greece).

"The coaching staff here is great and my teammates have done wonders in helping my transition to living in Spain," Wilder said. "My roommates are assisting me in learning the Spanish language and have been showing me around the area.

"All in all, I am blessed to be around a good program and to be doing what I love in such a beautiful country. I am looking forward to a good year here and hopefully many more professional years to follow."

Folker will compete for BK Nova Hut Ostrava of the Czech Republic's National Basketball League.

The 6-foot-9 post player averaged 9.3 points, 6.3 rebounds and shot 57.2% from the field last season.

All three played key roles on Coach Russell Turner's UCI team that finished 21-16 and earned the program's first postseason victory in 27 years by advancing past the first round of the CollegeInsider.com Tournament.

— From staff reports

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