When the men’s basketball team fell to Wesleyan in last year’s NESCAC quarterfinals, the Polar Bears had mixed feelings. On the one hand, the team had finished with 17 wins, its fourth best season on record. But it was the third straight year Bowdoin had lost in the NESCAC quarterfinals, after making it to the semifinals in 2007 and 2008. During the regular season, the squad had played neck-in-neck with conference powerhouses Amherst and Middlebury. Led by a core group of five seniors, many hoped this would be the year the team finally broke through.
No one was more disappointed than then-senior captain Will Hanley. 
“Obviously no one likes to lose, and the fact that it was the final game of my college career made it hurt even more,” Hanley wrote in an email to the Orient.
In many ways, Hanley was the heart and soul of the team. For the second consecutive year, Hanley had led the Polar Bears in both points scored and rebounds. He was unanimously chosen as the Maine State Player of the Year and was named both First Team All-NESCAC and Second Team All-Region for the second time. He finished his career with 1,490 points (sixth all-time at Bowdoin) and 883 rebounds (second all-time).
While many of his peers would end their basketball careers after their playoff loss, Hanley knew his wasn’t finished.  He began to explore his options playing professionally abroad.
“The chance to continue playing basketball at a professional level is something that was very appealing and was something that I’ve always wanted to do,” he wrote.
After the end of last season, former assistant coach Abe Woldeslassie aided Hanley on his quest by sending game tapes to a variety of agencies overseas. Hanley eventually signed with an agent in Spain who helped him find a new team. 
For Hanley, the decision to play in Spain was an easy one. 
Competition in the Spanish league is widely considered to be the second best in the world, behind the NBA. At the 2012 London Olympic Games, the Spanish National Team narrowly fell to the United States 107-100 in the gold-medal game. Current NBA stars that hail from Spain include Pau Gasol, Ricky Rubio, Jose Calderon, Nene, and Serge Ibaka. 
Hanley eventually signed with Union Financiera Asturiana Oviedo Baloncesto, more commonly known as Oviedo CB. Oviedo, a city of approximately 225,000, is located in northwestern Spain, about a four-hour drive from Madrid. 
The team competes in the Liga Espanola de Baloncesto (LEB), which is a division lower than Liga ACB, the country’s premier league. Hanley eventually hopes to make it to this top league. Coincidentally, his agent hails from the Oviedo area, and thought the team would be a great place for Hanley to start his career and gain exposure. 
While the team is primarily made up of Spanish-born players, Hanley is not the only foreigner. His roommate, Willie Gallick, is Canadian and previously played in Swedish, Turkish, and Portuguese leagues. 
Although Hanley never took a language course at Bowdoin beyond a semester of French as a first year, he said the language barrier has not been much of an issue on the court. 
“Other than Willie, everyone else on the team is from Spain,” he wrote. “Most of the guys speak English pretty well, so communication hasn’t been much of a problem.”
On the court though, Hanley has had to make a transition. 
The Spanish league uses a slightly shorter and narrower court as well as a shortened three-point arc, so Hanley has had to adjust to the nuances of international play. 
“They have a slightly different definition of traveling, and at times when I think there is no way I just traveled, I’m called for it,” he wrote. “It’s something I’ll have to keep working on in the future.”
Hanley has also had to adjust to a new coach. 
“Practices have been the most challenging part so far,” he wrote. “The coach primarily speaks and explains plays in Spanish, so it’s pretty easy to get confused out there.”
Like Hanley, Oviedo CB’s coach, Guillermo Arenas is in first season with the club. Hanley’s coach at Bowdoin, Tim Gilbride, is entering his 28th season heading the team this year. 
“Despite that difference, luckily for me they go about practice in a pretty similar manner,” Hanley wrote. 
On the court, it appears that Hanley’s professional career is taking off right from where he left off as a Polar Bear. In his first game last Saturday, Hanley earned a double-double to help Oviedo overcome Prat Juventud 79-64, meaning he had double-digit records in two statistical categories, points and rebounds. He led the team with 11 rebounds and netted 15 points, second only to his roommate Gallick. 
“The team has been great so far,” he said. “There are a few very good players, some with a lot of talent and experience. I’m just looking to work hard and contribute however I can.”
For now, Hanley plans to continue focusing on basketball.
“Right now, I am just enjoying the lifestyle,” he stated. “If I can continue to improve my game, hopefully more opportunities will arise and I can continue playing.” 
Hanley will look to follow up his performance when the team has its next game tomorrow on the resort island of Mallorca. Hanley admitted he was excited to visit a new part of the country. 
“I’ve had a few preseason games in other cities, but I’ve pretty much been in Oviedo the entire time,” he explained. “Basketball has pretty much consumed all of my time so far, but I’m hoping to get around to some other spots in Europe.”
Despite his new surroundings, Hanley says he misses his time at Bowdoin.
“I’ve been keeping up with all of the sports teams, and I’ll definitely be following the basketball team once their season starts,” he wrote. “I see a big year in store for the Polar Bears!”
Just a few months after graduating, Hanley recognizes that he is onto a new chapter in his life already. 
“It was a great four years, but now it’s onto the next challenge.”