Former Pitt wing Jamel Artis signed with BC Juventus of the Lithuanian Basketball League on Monday, according to an announcement from the team. BC Juventus is based in Utena, Lithuania, which will be Artis’ second stop overseas after playing for Metrpolitans 92 in Paris last season. Prior to that, he bounced around the G League and had a brief stint in the NBA with the Orlando Magic.
“The Juventus club, which sought offensive reinforcements, has reached an agreement with former NBA player Jamel Artis,” the team announced in a message posted on Twitter. “The player will arrive in Lithuania this week [and] is expected to make his debut in Betsafe-LKL competition next week.”
The 6’7”, 215-pound small forward last played in The Basketball Tournament in Columbus, Ohio, in July. As a key member of Sideline Cancer, the former Panther made a deep run in the summer tournament and reached the championship game. However, Sideline Cancer fell five points shy of winning a title despite Artis contributing 17 points. In five games in the tournament, Artis averaged 8.6 points, 5.8 rebounds and 1.8 assists.
Artis played for Pitt from 2013 to 2017 and averaged 12.6 points, 4.6 rebounds and 2.3 assists over a four-year period. He also earned third-team All-ACC honors in 2015; ranked second on the team in scoring in the 2016-17 season, with 18.2 points per game; and is one of three Pitt players with at least 1,600 points, 500 rebounds and 300 assists in their career.
After leaving Pitt, Artis spent time in the G League and the NBA with the Orlando Magic and Los Angeles Clippers organizations. He also spent the 2017 and 2018 offseasons with the New York Knicks and Sacramento Kings organizations but didn’t see significant action with either team. That led Artis to sign a deal overseas with Metropolitans 92 of France’s LNB Pro A, and in his lone season in France, Artis averaged 13.0 points, 3.9 rebounds and 1.8 assists per game over 27 games.
BC Juventus is coming off a 13-11 season that saw the team finish fifth in a 10-team league. Currently, the team is one game into its 2020-21 slate and sits at 0-1 after a 106-77 loss to BC Rytas. BC Juventus' acquisition of Artis fills the open roster spot left by Georgia Tech alum and former second-round NBA draft pick Glen Rice Jr. Rice’s tenure with the team lasted just five days, as he was involved in a series of incidents in that short period and was then cut by the team for disciplinary reasons.
BC Juventus director Eimantas Skersis described Rice's five-day stay in Utena as a "circus" and said that he was looking for "a person who wants to play basketball, not to fool around" in his replacement, according to Lithuanian journalist Donatas Urbonas.
Given all that, the goal for Artis seems clear, and the bar to attain that goal should be fairly low for a player of his talent and maturity. In Lithuania, Artis will team up with ex-Wake Forest point guard Bryant Crawford. The former ACC foes will try to dethrone defending champion BC Zalgiris, a team headlined by former Wisconsin standout Nigel Hayes and ex-Stephen F. Austin star Thomas Walkup.
Based on the timeline provided by the team, Artis will likely make his first appearance when BC Juventus faces BC Nevezis on Oct. 3.