Via Sideline Cancer

Former IU basketball player Mo Creek stranded in Ukraine: “It’s just bad right now”

Maurice Creek dealt with a lot of physical trauma during his time in Bloomington.

But the emotional stress he is under right now in Ukraine makes those injuries seem relatively insignificant.

The 31-year-old Creek has been playing professional basketball in Ukraine since 2019.  In January he signed with MBC MYKOLAIV of the Ukrainian Basketball SuperLeague.

War broke out this week in Ukraine when Russia invaded, and Creek remains stuck in the country.  Right now, basketball is the furthest thing from his mind.

“I just want to say this is probably the scariest situation I’ve been in,” Creek told The Daily Hoosier on Friday afternoon.  “I can’t even get a ride to the border right now. They are shooting now, and I had to get in a bomb shelter.

“It’s just bad right now.”

According to a report by Jeff Eisenberg of Yahoo Sports, Ukrainian professional basketball players such as Creek were aware of the possibility of war, but the threat was downplayed in Ukraine, and their teams put the players in a difficult predicament.

“American players who recognized the dangers of remaining in Ukraine earlier typically had to choose between staying in a potential war zone or sacrificing their primary source of income,” Eisenberg wrote.  “Despite the mounting threat of war, Ukrainian clubs were unwilling to release foreign players from their contracts and grant them permission to finish the season elsewhere.”

Eisenberg spoke with former Cal guard Jerome Randle, who was fortunate to be out of the country when the Russian attack began.

“These teams basically held us hostage,” Randle said. “It was like you either stay over here or you’re not going to be able to play anywhere. That’s pretty messed up. That’s pretty backwards to me. I don’t think that was fair for them to be able to do that.”

The Ukrainian SuperLeague did not pause its season until earlier this week.

Creek was with Indiana from 2009 to 2013. He played in 54 games over that span while dealing with multiple serious injuries — three major surgeries over the span of 22 months.  He went on to play the 2013-14 season at George Washington.

The 6-foot-5 Maryland product scored 390 points for his IU career, including 197 in 2009-10 when he averaged 16.4 points in 12 games before suffering a season-ending injury.

UPDATE:  Project Dynamo is a not-for-profit that works to get Americans out of war-torn areas including Ukraine.  You can donate to support their efforts here.

UPDATE 2:  Creek is reporting on Saturday that efforts are underway to get him out of Ukraine, but not without some challenges —

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