Pacers rookie Goga Bitadze reveals difficulties of dealing with visa complications
After being forced to miss the Summer League due to visa complications, Indiana Pacers rookie Goga Bitadze recently opened up about the difficulties he encountered dealing with visa complications for the better part of the summer.
“It was really bad because I literally had to be ready each day,” said the 20-year-old, via Akeem Glaspie of the Indianapolis Star. “They would call me and I’d go interview. I would say to them, ‘I want to play for (the) Pacers and play at the Summer League.’ But for some reason, because of the papers, I could not.”
Bitadze, a Georgian national, struggled to secure his visa in time for the Summer League. The exact reasons behind this persistent problem was not provided, but this is not the first we’ve heard of international players encountering visa complications prior to making their debut in US soil.
In truth, this was beyond the control of Pacers’ 18th overall pick. Nevertheless, Bitadze is well aware that his missed opportunity to have played in the Summer League was not exactly the best start to his NBA career he was hoping for.
“It looked like I didn’t want to play or something,” he said.
Fortunately, Bitadze has already resolved his visa problems, and has been with the Pacers for a couple of months now. He is fully expected to make his debut once the season opens in October.
Bitadze is a former winner of the Euroleague Rising Star award. Last season, the 6-foot-11 big man averaged 20.2 points (on 64.5 percent shooting), 7.9 rebounds, 0.6 steals, and 2.5 blocks with Serbian side Mega Bemax.