Oct. 25, 2004
MILWAUKEE - Former University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee men's basketball player Nate Mielke has signed a contract to play professionally in Mexico.
The 6-foot-11 Mielke will join Correcaminos UAT Victoria for the remainder of the season. The team, one of the top squads in the Mexican League (LNBP), is 14-12 and in fifth place in the league. They won the regular season championship in 2001, the playoff championship in 2002 and have qualified for the league playoffs in each of their three seasons under current head coach LaSalle Taylor. Mielke, who was en route to Mexico Tuesday after signing his contract, could make his professional debut either Wednesday vs. La Ola Roja de la Benito Juarez or Friday vs. Panteras de Aguascalientes.
"I've kind of been waiting all summer to get an opportunity like this and I am anxious to further my career in Mexico," Mielke said. "I've spoken to the coach briefly and it sounds like they have a good team and are in the playoff hunt. I've been working out a lot and either working or playing ball this summer, so I am ready to go."
Mielke played the last three seasons at UWM, appearing in 89 games and averaging 4.5 ppg and 3.9 rpg. He also tallied 57 blocks, the fourth-most in Panther history. His best year was 2002-03, when he started 30 games and averaged 6.5 ppg and 4.9 rpg while helping the Panthers to the NCAA Tournament.
"We're very proud of Nate," UWM head coach Bruce Pearl said. "He really took advantage of the opportunity here at UWM. He graduated with a degree in business and marketing and steadily improved his game to where he helped us win championships. Now he gets a chance to make a living at the game of basketball."
Mielke is the second player from this past school year's senior class to sign a professional contract. Horizon League Player of the Year Dylan Page is currently in Greece preparing for that country's professional season.
Page signed with Ment of Thessalaniki in the Greek First Division this summer. The season begins Oct. 16. Meanwhile, former Panther Clay Tucker, who played in Sweden last season, will likely play with the Utah franchise in the American Basketball Association this year. Tucker also played this summer with the Southern Crescent Lightning, champions of the World Basketball Association, a start-up developmental league in the U.S.