Dec. 22, 2021

Pro basketball player Joe Cremo on his NBA dream, life in Europe & not being too hard on himself.

My old friend joins me on today's episode for a conversation about his dream of getting to the NBA, a dream I remember him telling me about back in 2013. We discuss:

  • his experience playing for the Long Island Nets in the G-League
  • lessons learned from his one season at Villanova
  • what it's like being so far away from home
  • his relationship with Kevin Huerter
  • how he's learned to not take everything so seriously

and so much more! This podcast is also available as a video on my YouTube channel.

Joe Cremo is a professional basketball player for Zornotza ST of Spain's LEB Plata. Growing up in upstate New York, Cremo attended Scotia-Glenville, where he won multiple state championships before spending three seasons at UAlbany and another one at Villanova, one of the best college basketball programs in the country. After getting drafted as the final pick in the NBA's developmental league draft, Cremo played for the Long Island Nets. Now, he plays overseas, but hopes to return to the U.S. one day to fulfill his dream.

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peace and love.


I recall ten nine, eight seven six five four three two one. So want to start off, today's show a little bit differently with a story here. So it is the summer of 2013. I am, uh, at Greg Koubek basketball camp, a for those youth from upstate New York that listened to the show is this somewhat prestigious basketball camp that happens every summer.

Uh, the overnight camp is the highlight of the summer for a lot of kids, you know, growing up, playing sports in that area. At, at Brant lake, which is this kind of remote camp grounds that, uh, there's this awesome basketball camp at every year. And so summer of 2013, I'm having a conversation on the main court with today's guest, Joe Cremo.

And I'm asking you, Joe, because we had, we had played together for a couple of years, played against each other for a couple of years, knew each other very well. And I asked you. You know, what, what was your dream? What, what was your goal? Because it was obvious, you know, you had won like 20 state championships with Scotia, Glenville high school, by that point knew you were going to go division one, the hardest, like the best work ethic I've ever seen.

I know how much you love basketball and how much, you know, how many heroes you have in it, how long you've been playing it, how much it means to you. So I knew you had big dreams and aspirations. And so I asked you what, what was the journey. Look me straight in the eye and said the goal is to get to the MBA.

Now, the realist in me would say, listen, you're, you're from Scotia, Glenville, New York, uh, this small, this small area, small school, you know? Yes, we produced Kevin herder and a couple other big names, but we're not a factory of MBA talent. Like, uh, you know, like other areas in the country are you're athletic, but you're not supremely athletic.

You're a good shooter, but you're not an elite shooter. But you haven't this insane work ethic. And if there's anyone that I believe can overcome all of that, it is you Joe. And so you've been all, you've been, uh, all around the world at this 0.3 seasons that you all need after winning 20 championships at Scotia, a season that Villanova a season with the long island nets, which is the Brooklyn nets G league team, which is the NBA developmental league.

And you are now playing professionally overseas. In Spain. And so with all that said, uh, it is a, is an honor. Welcome to you. It's good to see you, Joe. How are you? How are you buddy? Everything's going good. And I appreciate it. Yes, sir. So I, um, you know, I kind of want to, you know, I asked everyone, how are you?

But I actually mean like, how are you doing? And I don't mean in the basketball sense. I'm sure you're doing great. You're crushing it with your team. I am curious though, anyone who knows you knows how much of a home body you are knows how much home means to you, how much your home friends means to you, your home friends, your teammates are still your best friends to this day.

Your family means everything to you. You were very close with your grandma who passed away a couple years ago. How are you doing with. Living in another country during a very uncertain time in the world. How are you managing all of that? Yeah, I mean, it's definitely been a, you know, a couple of years ago when I had the opportunity to try and, you know, come overseas or maybe take a G league opportunity.

And I took the G league opportunity. I don't know if I was mentally ready to go over to another country to live by myself. Um, and then, you know, after the G league, uh, opportunity went by and then, you know, the year with the pandemic kind of, uh, Settled in and just thought to myself, like, if I really want to make a career out of it, you know, maybe, you know, I'm going to have to take the route of going overseas.

And if I can end up coming back one day, like that's great. But, um, everything, you know, now, like when I left, of course it was hard leaving family, friends, my girlfriend, like all that stuff was hard, but I'm definitely in a better mental space where now I'm like comfortable out here. And luckily I've been blessed.

Uh, a great situation where my teammates, um, really welcomed me with open arms coach. Uh, and then my roommate who speaks fluent English. So that definitely helped, uh, but he's been like my best friend out here. So I've been really lucky, lucky in the situation I was in for my first year playing over here.

So you haven't really gotten lonely at all. I mean there's times obviously, you know, the time difference is tough being six hours ahead. And, uh, you know, sometimes when it's, I'm going to bed and my friends are just getting out of work from home and, you know, I want to talk to them, but I can only talk for 30 minutes before I got to go to bed.

So it's, it's tough sometimes, but I really don't. I mean, these guys, like I said, my teammates and my roommate has made the transition really easy. Now, how are you doing on the basketball court? I mean, it's obviously a little bit, the rules are a little bit different than how you've grown up playing in America.

This is a, it's hard to equate European sports. The way that soccer operates, the way that basketball operates. There's not really a fair comparison to America just based on the way that the leagues are tiered. So competition-wise, what is the adjustment been like? How are you doing it? Yeah, it's definitely more of a, a physical game for sure.

They let a lot more go. I feel like, uh, the offensive players aren't as protected, like, as for say, when I was in the G league, you know, it was a lot more like isolation and, you know, any hands-on, anything's a foul, but like here it's very physical. You're coming off screens. You're definitely getting hit like once or twice for sure.

Um, but it's, I've adjusted to it. And I think like in. Uh, it was a little bit of a transition plus I hadn't played like an organized team with an organized team and like a year with the pandemic, you know, working out is working out, but it's different when you're on the core plant five on five. So, um, It definitely an adjustment, but I think now got a lot more comfortable, like got my confidence, you know, and our team's playing well.

So we're seven in one right now and tied for first. And we actually play that team this weekend. So we're looking forward. So I think anyone who is an American sports fan is vaguely aware of how you get to the NBA. You go to college. If you're really good, you get drafted to an organization. If you're good, maybe you don't get drafted, then you get signed to kind of as a free agent or you can go overseas for a year.

That's starting to be like a lamella ball, go overseas for a year and then, then get drafted again. But I have no idea how you get signed to a European team. It's obviously like I'm sure a completely different way of getting signed overseas. So how did you get this opportunity? Definitely a little bit of a process, but like after I went with the G league for a year, um, You know, I, I ended up signing with an agent, uh, Jeff Allen.

Who's actually a good friends with the herders and Tom heard her actually young Tom actually put me in contact with Jeff. And, uh, once I got in contact with Jeff, Jeff was saying to me, you know, we'll be able to get you an opportunity and it was good to hear it. You know, the confidence that like, you know, even though your stats weren't, you know, amazing and at villain over your last year or, uh, the G league, like, you know, you put up, you know, six, seven points, a game, whatever it was.

I mean, he still thought he could get me a good opportunity and, you know, uh, he reached out to price 10, 15 teams, you know, and then he got in contact with like four or five offers, like coming back and the money was all about the same. It was more about the basketball opportunity for me and, um, where the best chance of me, like if I play well and my team wins, you know, w can I move.

Like if I'm in Spain and I play well, can I move up to the next level gold instead of out of lib silver and then, or is there another country with different opportunities? So there's a lot of different doors that I can go, you know, so it's a little bit of a process, but I ended up signing with, uh, as our nuts, uh, and, uh, end of July, beginning of August.

And then I had to get a work visa so that I could come out here. Gotcha. Okay. So what exactly is your day to day looking like over that? Uh, it depends like a lot of times we'll have two practices. We'll have like one like lighter practice in the morning, come back. And then it's like a more five on five at night type of thing where we're practicing more of our sets, like running up and down.

Two practices normally, um, you know, a lift in between there, we don't have to lift as a team, which is different. So you gotta lift on your own and find time for that. But it's a lot of free time, honestly, like I have my practices and then, you know, my lift and that's about it. And then it's just rest and take care of yourself and hanging out off the court with teammates.

I don't really have any other responsibilities started to basketball. So it's nice. That's probably your dream though. Yeah. Yeah, definitely. Can't complain. Yeah. Are you taking any time to, cause I know this is your first time out of the country are taking any time to just kind of soak up another culture and.

Do things out on the town, go see whatever you can during COVID times museums and restaurants. Yeah. So I mean the food, like trying different food and stuff here, and I'm definitely a little different, but adjusted to it. And it's nice and, uh, gone to Bilbao, which is like the big city around here, like 20 minutes away to go see a soccer match.

And, um, an ACB game was Bilbao, which is, uh, ACB being the top league in Spain. Um, And then gone to like a couple like beaches and stuff here just to like check it out. Um, some of the weather was too cold to go in or anything, but it's nice here. It's nice to try and get around travel a little bit. And, um, Yeah.

I mean, there's so many things like close, close by like France is only like an hour away. It's crazy. Right. You know what I mean? So there's a lot, lot around for sure. I've had a couple people because I'm a somewhat adventurous person. I've had a couple of people ask me, oh, would you ever live in side? I studied in Scotland for a couple of years.

Uh, hence the Scottish flag right here. Like, would you ever go back to Scotland? Would you live there? Would you live in Ireland? I lived there too. Would you live in Italy? It sounds great. Like, it sounds a lot of fun, but there's so many, it's so different because I think about all the leak out, all the legal things that you have to go through to try to make that happen.

Like, I couldn't tell you the first thing about trying to find a place to live over there. How did you go about living where you are right now? Like how did you find a place? Yeah, luckily the team helped me with all that stuff. So when I came here, you know, somebody picked me up at the airport and then it was.

Uh, you know, this is your apartment right here. And Alberto, who is my roommate. Uh, he, you know, he's upstairs and they just gave me the keys and then walked in the only thing. Oh yeah. They, they take care of me here. I mean, like I said, it's a. Being the third league in Spain. It's like the budget that they have is, is definitely lower than the top leading in Spain or even the second division.

But, um, they still take care of our food, our housing and stuff like that. So it's, uh, it's definitely a nice spot for my first year, just trying to make the most of it. So how long do you, do you have an idea of how long you'll be there? Yeah. The season goes from, like I said, I was here in September and then it goes til the last game, regular season as of April 10th.

And then depending on how far you go and play offs, then probably could go another month, you know, like middle of may closer to the end of may. Okay. So then whenever the season ends, you come back home. Yeah, come back home for a few months and then hopefully get another opportunity somewhere and then head back.

Gotcha. Okay. So do you, do you sign a contract? Like you're not on a three-year deal or something? No, it's a, it's like a one-year contract and that like, they do like promotions out here. So like say if. Our team finished first this year and won the championship. Then our team could, uh, if we want it to be promoted to the second division, um, and then they could sign me back or whatever.

So we'll see what happens after this year. But you know, right now, just trying to enjoy. The day by day. I know it sounds like kind of cliche, but it really is like nice being with like a team that's so focused on winning and, uh, you know, like I said, we're seven and one right now. And just trying to keep that, keep that going.

So before this, uh, you were with the nets, the long island nets, and then the pandemic happened. How did you get the, kind of the same question? How did you get the opportunity with the long island debts? How did that come about? Yeah, it got, uh, after I left ANOVA, I had. Three workouts with the wizards, the sensors, and then the nets and worked out with the wizards first, uh, then the Sixers and then the nets were the last one.

And when I went there for my workout, um, I actually had like a really, really good day, like made like every shot I took was playing like good defense, like, oh, that stuff like, um, And it just felt like a really good day. And I was like, you know what, hopefully something comes of it. And I always believed, you know, I could at least try and make a Julie Grasser, but didn't know if like summer league or something would pop up for me, especially not being a guy that was like, you know, gonna get drafted out of college.

It was like, how can you kind of find your way in? Uh, so then after I worked out with. One of their guys texted my agent at the time and said like, you know, we'd love to ever, uh, Joe with our G league team. And so we asked about summer league and that didn't happen. And then the G league opportunity, I went down for training camp.

I was actually the last pick of the G league draft. So it was like four rounds in the draft. And. I thought I was going to go. And like one of like the top two, they told me like the top two rounds. Um, so after their second round, I didn't get picked on like, oh, this is weird. And then the third round, they didn't have a pig.

The fourth round, they had the last pick of the draft and I'm like, Ooh, this is a long wait. And then luckily I got picked last pick in the draft. I'm like, all right, you know what? I got my shot. So go down for training camp for. Again, like I have like a really, really good week make shots, all this stuff.

And then the last day they cut me. So as a, I'd go home for about a month, just working out, working out and I actually called coach right. To see if I could get back with them on like, kind of their staff, like, see if I can get a GA spot. I work on my master's degree and coaches all for it. They had like housing and stuff for me set up.

And then like a week before I was about to go to Villanova, long island, started their season. Two and seven or something. And then they called me and were like, yeah, we feel like we made a mistake. We want you to come back. I'm like, all right. So I go back to nets for about two, three months and I was playing like a good amount in the beginning.

And when they started bringing guys down from Brooklyn, didn't play as much. And then the pandemic happened. So as a rollercoaster, there's a lot of. Yeah. So during all of that, how do you know when you think that the opportunity has passed you by, and then you are playing, you know, again, riding the rollercoaster, how do you stay positive, stay motivated about, you know, your dream of making the NBA?

Yeah, I mean, like I said, it's just always been that dream of just trying to like keep working no matter what. And then Villanova actually really helped me with that at the time. Uh, I was playing a good amount in the beginning and then I wasn't playing as much towards the end of the season. And for a lot of people back home, they didn't understand why, you know, that's that's okay.

Cause a lot of people that aren't in it don't understand what goes on in a college basketball program. So it's but they always talk about attitude. They're going over. That's like their big thing is added. Um, you know, just keeping that positive attitude, no matter what ups and downs, if you're shooting well, if you're not shooting well, if you're playing while your teammates are playing well, just trying to keep a positive attitude.

And that's kind of what I did. Like when I got cut, I'm like, you know what? I can complain. I can self about it. It's not going to help, kind of took a day and then just got right back after it. And luckily, you know, I got the call back and when I came back, played pretty well. Team was, we were winning and then they brought guys down from Brooklyn.

We had a chance to make the playoffs. And then once those guys came down, they, they take all the minutes basically. And that's fine. Just, you know, now you got to adjust, uh, being a roll guy off the bench and, you know, maybe not playing some games and I'm just trying to be a good teammate. So lots of ups and downs, you know, throughout my college career.

And it was a lot different. Like once you leave high school, go through college and you know, you deal with stuff, but now I feel like I'm in a good place. I don't know what the relationship is like between the protein and the Gigli team. How much contact were you having with the nets? How many chances were there to be seen by the coaches?

The players, the front office people and such? Yeah. I mean, we probably went over to Brooklyn to practice, like with like their, uh, like second string type guys, like DOL pins. And at the time, uh, I'm trying to think Nick Claxton who plays like with the team a lot now, um, I'm trying to think who else? It doesn't matter.

But we went over there to practice like probably twice a week with Brooklyn, like their team and their whole front office and stuff would be there and scrimmage with those guys and everything. And it was, it was cool. It was our offense at what long island was like the same as Brooklyn. So they try and mirror it so that if they call guys up, it's the same thing.

And, uh, yeah, I mean, we spent a lot of time over in Brooklyn. They, they would even come down like some of their front office guys would come to long island. Talk to some of our guys and it was cool. It was definitely a cool experience, different for sure. But I definitely appreciate my time. So you referenced Villanova a couple of times and sounds like Jay Wright who's the coach at Villanova has been there forever is widely considered to be one of the greatest of all time.

Villanova's one of the best programs in the country year in, year out, couple of championships in the last decade, uh, you mentioned to attitude is kind of the mantra of the program. What else did you kind of take away from that, that season at Villanova? Yeah, I'm trying to think there's a lot of stuff, but I mean, I would say at the end of the day, it was just about.

Thinking of the team before yourself and then just buying into something bigger than yourself. And then at the end of the day, a lot of the stuff wasn't even about basketball. It was just about being, trying to be like a better man. Like I dunno if the court, um, you know, and then they always look out for me.

I don't know how to explain it. It's kind of. What I always wanted to be able to go back to a program whenever I want for, to watch games or band contact with those guys. Like they still reach out to me, you know, for alumni events and stuff like that. So really cool. Really appreciative of them because I mean, they didn't have to, I was only there for a year and it's not like I was a four-year guy and stuff like that.

So, um, but yeah, I would just say the things that I took away the most were just buying into something bigger than yourself and try and. Be a better person, like on and off the court. It wasn't even really about basketball at the time, but obviously basketball, I guess, if you want to talk about that, just playing extremely hard.

Like no matter what, you know, for 40 minutes trying to give it, you know, you're on both ends, no matter what. I talked a lot on the show about imposter syndrome. This show is kind of about like young people, you know, trying to figure out life that, you know, as we all go forward. And so the common thing that happens is, you know, we, young people thrust in some big situation, whether.

On a, on a basketball court, whether that's in the meeting room, like we're talking to people who are way above us, uh, making more money than us, more years of, you know, more years of experience than us. And so I'm curious, did you ever feel, or have you ever felt whether at Villanova or now in Spain, like I'm just a small kid or I'm just this kid from small town, upstate New York.

I don't belong here. I didn't grow up like these people. Have you ever felt. I mean, I try to put it all in perspective. Like, um, I mean, it's definitely, I'm appreciative. Like I said, like where I'm from, like, I don't think a lot of people get this opportunity. Um, but at the same time, you know, still working out there cause working every day.

Cause you know, someone out there is always working, trying to take your spot. And at the end of the day, everyone's out here trying to make a career out of it. Um, but no. You know, definitely lucky where I'm from, like to be where I'm at, but I know I have like a long ways to go still. So I truly believe, you know, I got a long career out of this and I can make a career out of this.

You know, I still believe that. So Jay Wright, one of your mentors, another one of your mentors, Steve D'Agostino a guy who, you know, is an active in my life, uh, as much as, as he is for you, but someone that certainly made an impact on my life. Uh, you know, I think it's very important for, for young people, especially as we're figuring this all out to have people that we can look up to, that we can go to who have been through it before.

You know, have experienced the same things that we are now. So what is the role of daggers in your life now? And you know, how often are you guys in touch and what does he, what does he tell you? All that stuff. Yeah. I mean, I would say like, as I was younger, like more with like the development side of it and he still helps me like tremendous amount with like my game and like trying to expand it.

But even more than that, now we're like so close, I guess, friends that it's more about like decisions I'm making like. You know, he'll just talk to me about whatever it is. And during the pandemic I was coming in and working out and like, I kinda, he could kind of sense that I kinda was losing it a little bit.

Not like mentally, but like, uh, maybe my drive, like as much. Cause I didn't really have any opportunities overseas. And I was waiting on it. I didn't have anything with the G league. So he always kept asking me like, what's, what's the next step? And then one time I got a little mad at him and I'm like, you know what?

I don't know. Like maybe I'm just not, maybe I'm not going, like maybe I'm not going to play or whatever, and I'll just get into coaching or whatever. And he was like, I mean, that'd be a shame. Like you got a lot left and him and shave Ramirez ski who, you know, is, uh, those two guys have been big role models in my life and they just said, You know, you got a lot left, left in the tank, you got to give it an opportunity before, you know, give it a chance before you say no and kind of hang it up kind of thing.

So like I said, it's been a lot of ups and downs, but I appreciate them for like always pushing me. Um, and they still play a big role. I was talking to both of them last night about, you know, one day I feel like I can play in the ECB, like try and move up. Whether it's, you know, in a couple of years, three years, four years, whatever it is.

Really trying to set the bar like high, you know, and not settle and sell yourself short in that moment with dogs and Shay that you just referenced was that kind of the first time that you would snapped and said, you know what, maybe I'm not cut out for this. No, I think it was, uh, I mean, it was probably one of those moments where I was just getting, you know, me, I'm emotional guy, you know, that.

Get a little pissed off here and there maybe. And, uh, I just was kind of sick of hearing, like, what's the next step? I'm like, why do you care kind of thing? And I, and I got kind of selfish for a second and then it kind of came off like, wow. Like I can't believe I really sounded like that. And then I'm like these at the end of the day, these two guys have always been there.

They're just looking out for me. So like, I shouldn't have snapped like that, but they all know like how competitive I am. It would have been a shame if I just didn't try and come out, come overseas and give it a chance. And, uh, I never thought about like hanging it up kind of thing, like really thought about it that way.

But I was just at the moment kind of just like, what if I don't want to go overseas? Like maybe there isn't there isn't a next step. And I got a little mad, but I'm here now and happy. I am. So, so is making an NBA roster. Is that still, still the main dream? That is what you're saying. I think the dream is just, uh, at the end of the day, like make a career out of career out of it.

Like I said, don't sell myself short and try and set the bar as high as possible, whether it means playing and, uh, you know, a top league out here in Spain and Germany, France, wherever it is. Um, and if an opportunity back home presented itself, of course, I would try and take it. I mean, I talked to Kevin about it.

Yeah. Kevin keep in contact. Not all, not every day type of thing, but probably like once a month. And we talked to each other and he's, he he's always been a big, uh, not fan of mine, but like me and him, I've always like really supported each other. And I think sometimes people get caught up thinking. Uh, all like you're better.

You were better than him in high school or whatever it was. And it's like, there there's a high school. Like, you know what I mean? A kid. Yeah. He's a phenomenal talent. Like me and him are good friends. There's no like bad blood or anything. And me and him have talked about it. And he, he really was giving me a lot of good advice, like when I was in the G league.

And he believes that, you know, as a roll guy, um, like if I could make a roster, like, yeah, like if I play hard enough and all that stuff and all the right cards fall into place, like something good could happen. But I'm kind of getting off on a little strand or whatever, but I think a lot of people love to hear that.

Yeah. I just think at the end of the day, it's just putting on my all into, you know, whatever it is with basketball and, and not settling for anything. Don't sell myself short. And at the end of the day, whatever that opportunity is. If it's an MBA, if it's whatever France, Germany, Spain, something like that.

And I can live with that at the end of the day. Now I'm good to hear that, or I'm glad to hear that because I know, you know, I know how hard you are on yourself. I've seen it up close, so it, you know, it's good that you've kind of come to the realization that. I just want to get better every day. I want to make something of this.

It doesn't have to be if I never make it to the NBA, that I'm a failure, you know? Yeah. Yeah. It's not, of course that's my dream. Yeah. I mean, it's always going to be the dream of like coming back, trying to play like in the NBA, but if I don't reach. Knowing that I gave, like everything I had, you know, and coming out here to Spain as a part of that, like if I didn't come out here, I want to know, you know, and never gave it a chance.

So just giving that effort is, is what it's going to matter at the end. So what's it been like for you watching Kevin have the, you know, the crazy post-season that he just did get that huge contract, this all season. What's that been like as a friend? Yeah, it's crazy. Just to like, see where he's come from.

Like, obviously we all knew in high school, like how talented he was. It's like, oh, let's kick in. Like really shoot it. But I don't think people understand like how good of a passer he is and like Playmaker and just like what he does to help the team win. And like how good a defender he is. I mean, you go on like, the list goes on, but he's just such a humble kid that you're never gonna like hear it from him, you know, but it's just to see him like where he is now is.

It's crazy, but it's, it's awesome. And like I said, like, we keep in touch here and there. And I was talking to him on FaceTime, uh, this summer and we were talking about that Philly series and it was just like, And he was like, yeah, I mean, they put Seth Curry on me and, and I just tried to take advantage of it.

You know, cork was guarding him and stuff. Um, when those guys regarding them, it was just like, try and take advantage of it. And he made the most of this opportunity and, you know, bang now he's got a new deal and I don't think it will be the last deal that he gets. So it's, it's crazy, but I'm really happy.

Yeah. I mean, you guys, uh, basically grew up together. I mean, you guys played against each other every year, multiple times for like a decade plus. So it's been really cool to, to see both of you guys grow. Um, who's more competitive between the two of you, because in my mind, you two are, are the most competitive people I've ever met.

I had, when I had Kevin on the podcast, I said that. Yeah, we would have our open gyms until. 9:00 PM scheduled to go to 9:00 PM on a, on a weeknight. I have homework to do, like we were all busy. We're all tired. I just want to, I just want to go home and Kevin's like, no, I'm not leaving until I am until I win.

Like until we, until my team wins the pickup game. So he's super competitive. Uh, to the point of knowing you were also competitive, who is more dependent. Hmm, it's funny. Cause you know, I wasn't around them like in those practices and stuff. And I feel like that's where a lot of it comes out. Like those practices with your team, the guys that you grew up with, all that stuff.

But I would say me at the end of the day, I believe obviously he's a great competitor. I just think, um, people see me and then they see Kevin, they see me. I'm like crazy. You know, that's what people think of with me is like, oh, he's crazy. Yeah. We're crazy. Competitive calves, a little more controlled, but super competitive.

Uh, On that subject. I mean, you are, so you were so driven, you are so goal oriented and me, and you have always kind of seen eye to eye. Like you were, uh, much more talented than me, a much harder work than me, but I think we've always had a mutual respect for each other because we have somewhat similar work.

Ethics. Yours is crazy. Uh, but like we get, we get each other, so we connect with each other in that way. And so. You know, despite us being like rivals and going against each other and things, getting a little competitive at times, always a big mutual respect for one another. Now where I have grown in the last few years, I'm curious to see if you have as well is I don't take everything so life or death seriously anymore.

Like, yes, I have my goals. Yes. I'm driven. Yes. I work hard work harder than the average person for sure. But I'm now realizing it's a long, low. People matter, making memories matters, having fun matters, cracking a smile and jokes matter, like not taking everything so seriously all the time, all of that matter.

So I've taken my foot off the gas a little bit in the last few years. So as to have a happy life, have you done that? Uh, yeah. I mean, I, I think I've, I've grown in the aspect that it's not just, you know, I mean, I like to think basketball is like my life. You know, I think I've expanded outside of that. Um, where it's not 24 7, like straight thinking about, I think in high school I was so locked in.

Like I remember, uh, actually at Albany too, my freshman year I would go shoot, like in the morning, we'd have a lift at seven I'd go lift or I'd go shoot before our lift. So it'd be like six o'clock and I'd be at the gym shooting. And then we'd go lift after lift I'd come back and shoot again. And then I'd have class and all that stuff, and then we'd have practice.

Then I come back later at night and work out again. My coach was like, all right, maybe a little too much, you know, like five workouts a day is like a little crazy, especially when they're all like an hour, hour and a half. So it's like, all right, it's just a lot of time. And I think my body was going to get like overused.

So just realizing and like maturing and the fact. You got to have a balance, you know what I mean? Still can get your workouts in. That's not the problem. It's just like balancing like a social life and a girlfriend and family and friends and stuff like that. And just balancing it, like you said, just realizing not everything is life or death when it comes to, you know, life in general and basketball, obviously for me, which I, anytime I lost, it was like the world ended when I was younger.

So. All right. Well, that's awesome. It sounds like you're doing well. I'm very happy for you and everything that you've accomplished. You have an incredible career ahead of you. Uh, I know that I've witnessed it, uh, wish you best of luck with everything with your team. I I'm not even gonna try to say, cause I know I'll mess it up with your Spanish basketball Federation.

You're going to win the title this year. You're gonna get promoted and it's going to go up and up in here. So thank you so much for joining me, Joe. It's good to see you. Yeah. Appreciate you having me.