Former Wildcat Shawn Foxbrennen Records Solid Professional Men’s Basketball Rookie Season

 

FORT VALLEY, Ga. – From The Valley to northern Africa, a former Wildcat laid the foundation of his professional playing career this season overseas on the court. Fort Valley State men’s basketball alum Shawn Foxbrennen made it into the international professional men’s basketball ranks with a solid rookie season playing for Tunisia’s Jeunesse Sportive d’el Menzah team.

Foxbrennen joined the Sportive d’el Menzah team of the Championnat National A League (FIBA Africa)/Tunisia Pro A league on October 25 of 2021 and became the newest former FVSU men’s basketball player to play professionally after his time as a Wildcat.

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Foxbrennen (#14 – back row, 1st from left) and the JSM team photo before their final playoff game.

“My rookie season, this summer, was a great experience. I had a friend, who advised me to my sports agency, Revolution Agency, and he connected me to the team,” said Foxbrennen. “The JSM team saw my FVSU highlights and signed me.”

The forward helped the JSM team in the 2021-22 season to an 8-11 record and trip to the First Round of the Tunisia Pro A League playoffs. In the games, Foxbrennen contributed 10 points, 6.4 rebounds and 2.2 assists per game.

“I struggled towards the beginning trying to figure out how to adapt to the physicality. The atmosphere, though, was amazing and it was very competitive when it came to the game,” explained the former Wildcat. “Playing in this league, it helped my game in knowing how to initiate contact when playing against other professionals. It also opened up my basketball IQ to the game to be able to move without the ball along with playing basketball the right way as far as not just scoring but reading players and understanding their tendencies.”

After starting his collegiate career at Black Hawk College, Foxbrennen continued his basketball and education road to FVSU. The 6-7 swingman made his mark in two seasons wearing the Blue & Gold uniform to a tune of 793 points (14.2 points per game), 399 rebounds (7.1 rpg) and 59 assists (1.1 apg) in 56 contests.

The Miami Gardens, Fla., native downed 76 3-pointers at a 39.8-percent clip. He also made 123 of 161 free throws (.764) to go with 38 steals and 25 blocked shots.

As a senior, Foxbrennen earned 2019-20 All-Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference Second Team honors and played in the HBCU All-Star game. He led the Wildcats with a 15.2-point and 7.5-rebound averages to go with 1.2-assist per night. He also registered 367 points (13.1 ppg), 190 rebounds (6.8 rpg) and 28 assists during his first FVSU campaign (2018-19).

After a year of working out and preparing, Shawn continued with his professional basketball career goal. His pursuit took him across the globe to a new brand of men’s basketball played there.

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“The competition in Tunisia versus FVSU is very physical. The physicality is on another level because these are grown me compared to college athletes,” noted Foxbrennen. “The Tunisian players professionalism is very complex ­­– the ball movement, the spacing, the crowd and fans – as everything is a lot more intense and serious. The game tempo is very fast needing quick decisive decisions and being physically strong. The players size-wise are tall and wide, while some are average height-wise, but everyone is strong and filled out.”

Taking the court in northern Africa, the professional men’s basketball rookie faced off the court challenges and adjustments as big as the ones playing on the court in a new culture and food options.

“The Tunisian culture is very different because of it being a Muslim country. Their religious beliefs are very important in Tunisia as everything is based off them. One of the cultural experiences I had to adjust to was the Ramadan month of April where Muslims do not eat food or drink any liquids from sunrise to sunset,” said Foxbrennen. “There are three main languages spoken there of classic Arabic, which I learned a little bit of it, local Tunis dialect and French. All cafes are strictly male-oriented where they smoke cigarettes and drink coffee, which is one of their rituals to start the day. Women wear conservative clothes that cover themselves, such as long skirts, trousers or dresses.

He continued, “I had to get used to the Tunisian famous dishes of couscous, brik, harissa as those were my favorites. The food adjustment wasn’t difficult for me since some Tunisian dishes combine French and African flavor with a little spice. I’m used to these types of food since one side of my family is from the Caribbean, which has some comparable food sources as the Tunisian culture.”

Following his promising rookie season where he averaged double figures, the former Wildcat’s experience this past season helped his future playing possibilities.

“This team helped me build connections not only with my teammates and the staff, but people who I’ve met as fans and friends inside the community. I also gained connections from other clubs, which could potentially want me to play for them next year and it has created a door of opportunities for me being able to come back to play even if I get older in the future. I can add this on my resume because I now have my foot in the door to continue if I want. This experience has separated me from the average athlete due to being able to gain the exposure of playing overseas basketball,” said Foxbrennen.

Being back in his home in Florida now, the talented forward looks to where he goes next.

“My future plans are to get ready for the next season,” shared Foxbrennen. “I might go back to Tunisia depending on the situation. My agent is well connected in the Middle East so there is a definite chance to that I will be somewhere there. I’m going to continue to train hard to be next season.”

Whether his playing future has him in the Middle East, in the United States or somewhere else in the world, the former FVSU player will continue to keep his relentless Wildcat effort to be the best on-and-off the court.

About Willie Alex Hines 3805 Articles
A lifelong sports fan and follower of HBCUs, Willie Alexander Hines is an expert on any sport with tremendous recall of history and newsmakers.