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Former Gonzaga great J.P. Batista signs with pro team in his native Brazil

UPDATED: Mon., Aug. 10, 2020

J.P. Batista makes a basket to help Gonzaga alums knock off Washington alums in an exhibition game at the Spokane Convention Center on the night before 2017 Hoopfest tipped off.  (The Spokesman-Review)
J.P. Batista makes a basket to help Gonzaga alums knock off Washington alums in an exhibition game at the Spokane Convention Center on the night before 2017 Hoopfest tipped off. (The Spokesman-Review)

Former Gonzaga great J.P. Batista is returning to his native Brazil to continue his professional basketball career.

Batista has signed with Minas Tenis Clube in Belo Horizonte, the Brazilian team announced. Batista previously played for Flamengo in Rio de Janeiro (2015-18) and Mogi das Cruzes-based Basquete (2018-19).

“I have had contact with the club for three years but it still didn’t work,” Batista said in a release on Minas’ Website. “This time, it worked and I’m very happy with it.”

The 38-year-old Batista has had three stints in France, including Le Mans Sarthe last season and from 2008-14.

He averaged 16.5 minutes, 7 points and 3.6 rebounds for Le Mans in a COVID-19 shortened 2020 season.

The 6-foot-9 post began his pro career in Lithuania (2006) and Latvia (2008). He’s been on several championship squads, including Brazil in 2016.

Batista played at Western Nebraska and Barton County junior colleges before transferring to Gonzaga. He averaged 12.4 points and 6.2 rebounds as a junior in 2005 and was named WCC Newcomer of the Year.

Batista was first-team All-WCC and honorable mention All-America after averaging 19.3 points and 9.4 rebounds as a senior.

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