Former USD basketball star returns home from Spain amid coronavirus pandemic

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SAN DIEGO — Since graduating from University of San Diego in 2015 with the all-time three-point record, Johnny Dee has found success abroad in Europe. The former Torero and Rancho Buena Vista graduate currently plays in Spain, one of the countries hit hardest by the coronavirus pandemic.

Dee was enjoying a successful season until he was forced to make a tough decision amid the growing coronavirus pandemic: return home to Vista or remain in San Sebastian in hopes of resuming play. 

“I waited it out for about a week and then the United States State Department issued the level four travel advisory and that basically said if you’re an American abroad, you should come home immediately,” said Dee. “I think the club finally realized just how serious that was and the chance that we as Americans could be stuck.”

Dee and four of his American teammates chose to return to the U.S.

The six-foot point guard was averaging just over 15 points for his second division team Leb Oro which was tied for first place until the season was postponed.

“We had a lot to play for and a great opportunity ahead of us so they wanted to keep us here just in case it did blow over, which it did not,” said Dee.

Dee has spent the last three seasons in Spain, where he’s grown to love the country and its fans. 

“I think it really affects me because I’ve grown to love that country,” he said. “And that’s one of my favorite things about playing professional basketball is getting the opportunity to embrace another culture and see another culture and grow to love a different type of people.”

Since his return, Dee says he’s been training several times a day, reading and spending time catching up with friends. 

“Everyone understands that this is a crazy time and a crazy situation and the most important thing is to stay safe, and basketball is important but it’s not the most important thing,” said Dee.

An important reminder that has brought Dee some perspective. 

“Life, I’m not in control of it,” he said. “I believe that God is in control and he’s given me that perspective to look back and say, you know what, I’m going to handle what I can handle, do what I can do and obey what the law is in front of me and just kind of walk obediently.”

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