Former U.S. college basketball star Drew Nicholas found it hard to refuse an offer to join up with coach Ettore Messina at CSKA Moscow, he said Tuesday.
Nicholas spent last season at Italian team Olimpia Milano before joining CSKA earlier this month, soon after former L.A. Lakers consultant Messina joined the team.
The shooting guard, 31, was a member of the Terrapins team that won the University of Maryland its first national championship in 2002, but was not drafted by the NBA and has since played in Europe, winning the Euroleague twice with Panathinaikos.
"The offer actually came pretty quick and out of the blue one day," said Nicholas. "Coach [Ettore] Messina called me, he asked me if I was interested in joining the club."
"Obviously, I've been playing in Europe for many years now and I understand what type of club, what type of organization CSKA is and also what type of coach Messina is and so my decision was very quick. As soon as he let me know that he wanted me to come, I also wanted to come and moved forward from there."
Messina led CSKA to Euroleague titles in 2006 and 2008 and spent last season working with the Lakers as a consultant to coach Mike Brown before returning to Moscow to replace Jonas Kazlauskas after CSKA lost 62-61 to underdogs Olympiacos in the last season's Euroleague final.