After bouncing around with various teams both stateside and overseas in the past few years, former St. John’s forward D.J. Kennedy has again found a new home, as he signed with Russian team Krasny Oktyabr of the VTB United League on Monday.
Since finishing his St. John’s career, Kennedy has struggled to find a professional home and gain the attention of NBA scouts and coaches. After a devastating knee injury prematurely ended his senior season at St. John’s, he went undrafted in the 2011 NBA Draft.
He then began his professional career during the 2011-12 season with the NBA D-League’s Erie Bayhawks, but he would later sign with the Cleveland Cavaliers towards the end of the season, playing in two games and scoring 12 points while grabbing seven rebounds total. After stints with the Cavaliers and Memphis Grizzlies in the 2012 NBA Summer League, he would be re-acquired by the Bayhawks and would go on to make the 2013 NBA D-League All-Star Game.
Last season saw Kennedy play professionally overseas for the first time, playing first for the BCM Gravelines of France before winding up with Hapoel Holon of Israel, where he averaged just over 12 points and six rebounds per game. This past summer Kennedy appeared in four NBA Summer League games for the Minnesota Timberwolves before signing with Krasny Oktyabr on Monday.
Kennedy will now play in the VTB United League, a relatively young International league that was just formed in 2008. After beginning that season with eight teams from five Eastern European countries, the league has now doubled in size for this upcoming season and will feature 16 teams from seven countries.
One of those 16 teams will be Krasny Oktyabr, inaugural members of the league who are now playing in their sixth season. Oktyabr finished last season with an 8-10 record, good enough for sixth place in their 10-team group and a playoff appearance. Their leading scorer from last season was American guard Willie Deane, who played for Purdue from 2000-03 and averaged just under 18 points per game for the Boilermakers in the 2002-03 season.
As he travels to Volgograd, Russia to play this season for Oktyabr, whether or not Kennedy will get another shot at the NBA remains to be seen. But no matter what he will still have an illustrious career with the Red Storm to look back on. Playing four seasons as a major contributor to the team, he ranks 12th on the St. John’s all-time leading scorers list with 1,504 career points, and 11th all-time with 781 career rebounds.