ETTELBRUCK, Lux. – Billy McNutt has come a long, long way from when he was first introduced to basketball as a boy in Oxford.
From the gymnasium at the former Oxford high school and the uniform of the Golden Bears, the 33-year-old has continued to excel on the basketball court and is presently playing in his seventh season with Etzella Ettelbruck of Luxembourg’s Total League.
“The season is going pretty well,” McNutt said in a Facebook message to the Amherst News. “We finished the regular season in first place and are up 2-0 in the semifinals.”
Etzella is one of the more storied teams in the Total League, earning 14 titles – second to only Nitia, which plays out of the city of Bettembourg. Etzella’s last title was in 2005-06 and McNutt would love nothing more than to bring another championship to the city of 7,500 that, incidentally, is home to the General George S. Patton Memorial Museum.
McNutt, who was raised in Wentworth before moving to Oxford at a young age, has had a solid season with Ettelbruck averaging 22 points a game as a starter.
After graduating from high school, McNutt went off to Truro to play with the former Nova Scotia Agricultural College Rams and later with Douglas College in Vancouver.
From college, McNutt moved on to play semi-pro basketball in the United States. That’s when the opportunity to play in Europe was offered.
“I got my start through a contact I met when I was playing semi-pro in Seattle,” McNutt said.
McNutt said it’s hard to compare basketball in the Total League to that of the National Basketball League, of which the Halifax Hurricanes are members. He said Europe plays a different type of basketball compared to what’s played in North America. If he had to make a comparison, he said, it’s pretty close to the calibre seen at the Canadian university level.
“It’s really hard to compare, but from a straight talent perspective I would say my team would be an average CIS team,” he said.
After seven seasons in Luxembourg, McNutt isn’t sure how many seasons he has in his body. He continues to love the sport and wants to play as long as his body allows. It also doesn’t hurt that he’s getting paid to do something he enjoys so much.
When the day comes that he has to hang up the sneakers, he expects he’ll pick up the whistle and whiteboard to become a coach – or even an agent – to try to help future players fulfill their dreams of playing professional basketball.