By Mike Max

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — It’s summer league time, where the best Minnesota has to offer gather at DeLaSalle, including Watertown Mayer grad Matt Janning.

“It’s just fun to get back and play around home. I got my parents coming down tonight, they’re going to be able to watch me live for the first time in over a year,” Janning said.

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He quietly has built quite a basketball resumé. From high school, he excelled at Northeaster University, played well enough to get to an NBA camp and made it as a rookie with Phoenix. That’s where he’d like to return to — the NBA.

“Keep all doors open. I’d love to get back and finish my career here in the NBA. I think I can play six, seven more years. So getting back here is always going to be my goal,” Janning said.

Right now, home is in Russia, where he’s had success and learned.

“It was good. It’s a culture change for sure. Obviously you’ve got a lot of things to get used to. Language is — they don’t speak a lot of English, so that was tough. The food’s a little different, but fairly similar to what you would get here,” he said.

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It’s an option to return to Russia. It can be lucrative and Janning has some game that is recognized.

“He’s had a great career, great resume. And that’s the thing about the pro-am, try to bring guys from all walks of life. And Matt is a buddy of mine, growing up playing AAU together. So for him to come down here and want to play. And he wants to get some good run in too,” Jamar Diggs said.

He’s worked out for the Wolves — that would be ideal.

But this basketball journey, no matter where it stops next, is quite a ride.

“I’ve been in a lot of great countries, seen a lot of great cities and met great people along the way,” Janning said. “So I’ve been very happy with the way my career has gone.”

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Mike Max