Aug. 11, 2011
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (seminoles.com) –
Guard Derwin Kitchen, who helped lead Florida State to the Sweet 16 of the 2011 NCAA Tournament, has signed a professional contract to play for Maccabi Rishon Le-Zion of the Israeli Premier League. It marks the first professional contract for Kitchen, who graduated from Florida State in April of 2011 with a degree in interdisciplinary social sciences.
“I am very happy and excited to have the opportunity to play professional basketball in Europe,” said Kitchen. “It is not only a great opportunity to begin a new chapter in my life but it also gives me the opportunity to continue playing ball and to be able to take care of my mother and my grandmother financially.”
Kitchen was a three-year starter at the guard position and a starter on three consecutive NCAA Tournament teams as he helped Florida State advance to the Sweet 16 of the 2011 NCAA Tournament. He was a starting guard on three consecutive Florida State teams that finished in the top four of the ACC standings (fourth in 2009, third in 2010 and third in 2011) for the first time in school history and played in 70 wins and 31 ACC games. With Kitchen in Florida State’s starting line-up, the Seminoles were the third winningest program in the ACC in both overall games and ACC games only. Kitchen finished his career ranked 14th in school history with 308 career assists and tied for 16th in school history with 133 career steals.
Maccabi Rishon Le-Zion was formed in 1976 and reached the top division in 1988 where it has remained since. Although it has never won a title, the club has finished in the top four of the league standings on four occasions. In 1991 Maccabi Rishon L-Zion lost the playoff final series to Maccabi Tel Aviv. The following year they lost at the semi-final to Hapoel Tel Aviv. In 2006 the team lost a one game semi-final to Hapoel Jerusalem and in 2011 a one game semi-final against Maccabi Tel-Aviv. In 1992 the club reached the final of the State Cup, but lost to Hapoel Galil Elyon.
Kitchen joins the team which includes Americans Joe Crawford (Kentucky/Los Angeles Lakers/New York Knicks) and Brandon Bowman (Georgetown). The season runs from mid-October through the month of May. The team finished with an 18-14 record during the 2010-11 season.