Mattia Aconzo, from Caserta to USA Basketball: ‘I’m following in my father’s footsteps’

Like it or not, the “American dream” still stands. If you are a guy who loves a game BasketballYou can just pack your bags and leave for United States of America. That’s what he did Mattia Aconzua few years ago: the original from CasertaAfter his third year of high school, he left Italy and plunged into the world of American college basketball. “At the moment I am working on myself, individually, to prepare for the next season. I will graduate in May, then we will see what opportunities there are.” Mattia Studies in Youngstown State University, in Ohio. “I promised my mother that I would devote myself to studying, and then I would think about basketball completely from next year.”

The 2000-born basketball player returned from two years of excellent high school performances at Kennedy Catholic, and two years at the University of Toledo – junior basketball during their first, due to a serious problem with his foot. The payback came the following year, however, and he returned to playing at high levels starting off the bench. Then he transferred to Robert Morris University in Pennsylvania. Then move to Youngstown State, where the men’s basketball team plays in section One.

“Since I left, many athletes have arrived in the United States. Some are youth teams, some are after a few years as a professional. However, your degree in America attests that you are bilingual, the experience on a mathematical level is unparalleled. Basically, I came out of high school with a lot of hype. I was lucky to find a lovely host family here. It is nice to see more Italians arriving, it means that the movement is growing in Italy.”

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The determination and will of Mattia, who in a full teenage gave up his certainty to fulfill his dream, found fertile ground abroad: “I left because I wanted to play basketball, but Here sport and study go hand in hand. It’s something we still have a hard time accepting in Italy: How often do we hear people say “either do this or that”. Studying has always been essential, and my family cares a lot. Here they call it requirements, if you do not meet certain school requirements, heavy measures will be taken. Those who say it is easier here to do a good job of studying are not telling the truth: in the United States they teach you what you need for the job you are preparing for.”

At Acunzo’s home, basketball is a sure thing. Mattia “studies” with his father Claudiowho boasts of a long career in Italian basketball during which he graduated as the champion of Italy Jovikacerta, the club he played for from 1990 to 2003. “The first thing I thought of was my career as a professional basketball player: I always wanted to try to emulate my father – or maybe do better. At this time in my life, my priority is to prepare to be a professional next year, with a degree in my pocket that will definitely benefit me later. What are the prospects? Here in America there forebodeThe G-League – NBA Development League – And then after nothing. From an economic point of view, it is not convenient to enter other leagues, those who do not leave after university go to play abroad. Many high-profile players are forced to leave the United States, because joining the NBA is a challenge. Many accept the most economically advantageous proposal available to them, both in Europe and in other countries ».

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Mattia, today, has a goal in goal: «The dream of those who want to play in Italy, at the moment, is definitely called Milan or Bologna. I would one day be able to wear a Juvecaserta jersey, but it went bankrupt. I know how the economic situation is for basketball in Italy, but who knows, maybe one day.” That’s where Father Claudio won: it would be the perfect closing of a circle.

Queenie Bell

"Introvert. Avid gamer. Wannabe beer advocate. Subtly charming zombie junkie. Social media trailblazer. Web scholar."

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