How and when did you start playing basketball?
I started playing basketball at a very young age, 4/5 years old. It has been my passion since I was a child! Everyone in my neighborhood played sports. It was normal.
What was your basketball path when you were growing up?
I was not a very good player growing up but I always loved the game. I worked hard and developed my skills through my teenage years. I played high school and went to a small university (Indiana University Southeast) not NCAA (NAIA Division 2). There is where I really developed my game and gave myself the opportunity to have a chance to play professionally.
You started your pro basketball career in 2011. First of all, you played in Canada and then in Australia before discover Italy in 2013. Can you talk about these first experiences abroad?
Canada was the first professional opportunity I had, but I was there very briefly because I had an opportunity to go play in Australia after 10 games in Canada. Australia was an amazing experience. As a rookie I won a championship and established myself as player with potential. I returned for a second season with a different team in Australia and played very well. That is when the opportunity to play in Italy was presented. I consider myself very lucky to have had the opportunity to play in a beautiful country like Australia. I was able to develop my first two years as a professional and embrace the culture “down under”. Great experience for me on and off the court.
From the 2013-14 season, you only played in the Italian championship (D2 and also D1). Did you literally fall in love with Italy?
Yes for sure I have fell in love with italy over the past 5 years. The championships are strong, and the lifestyle here is great. Food, and culture here are great. I have also improved with the language every year. Italy had definitely become like a second home for me.
You are currently the n°1 scorer in the italian second division (Serie A2) averaging 24 points per game and with a season high of 45 points during a single game. You team is also well ranked (2nd on 16 teams with 9 wins and 4 losses). How your season is going?
I understand that I am having a strong individual season, and that is because of the dedication and preparation from the offseason. Mentally I am in a place where I want to be the best. I also try to do as much as possible to make my teammates better as a point guard. We are currently in second position because we are playing the right way on both ends of the floor and we are improving. I will continue to strive to be the best player on the court everyday and help my team continue another strong season.
Did you had a christmas/new year eve break? If yes, what did you do during this time?
We only had 2 days free for the Christmas and NYE because the Italian championship does not stop during the holidays. So our schedule is pretty normal. I still found time to enjoy myself for the holidays. Now it’s time to refocus and start the second part of the championship in the right way.
How is the life overseas compared to the United States? What are your hobbies except playing and thinking about basketball?
Life overseas for me is lovely. I’m very comfortable living abroad because I’ve been here for 6 years now. It’s different than the United States because I’m not around my family and friends. But being here I have also developed relationships with people and it’s comfortable for me.
My hobbies, eating for sure! Reading books, listening to music, traveling to different cities (when it’s possible). Also tasting different wines and having an occasional night out. Finding a good balance is important.
Do you have any friends from USA playing pro basketball in Italy or elsewhere in Europe? Do you talk to each other during the season?
Yes most of my friends are playing professionally. One of my very close friends plays here in Italy (Donta Smith, Brindisi) but I also have a lot of friends playing in different countries. France (Chris Dowe), Hungary, Turkey, Argentina, Canada and Mexico. Yes I speak with my friends often. Almost everyday. We keep up with each other. And also motivate each other.
At the end of this fifth consecutive season in Italy, will you thinking about discovering a new country in Europe?
Each year I have always kept my options open. If the right opportunity is presented to me I am ready, I am open to playing anywhere the ball bounces! I just want to be able to prove I am a great player at a high level.
To conclude, do you have something to say to people who are following you around the world?
Yes, to the people following me.. thank you! I will always play with the chip on my shoulder and give my all. Hopefully I can be exciting to watch for many more years to come. This journey has been great! Love!