Former PSU Abington Basketballer Tries Hand in Europe
William Alton played basketball across the pond and now seeks to play ball semi-professionally in the U.S.
Earlier this year, William Alton was playing on the men’s basketball team at Penn State Abington. In July, he was playing professionally in Italy and in Serbia.
Alton, of Pennington, N.J., said he was playing overseas not because he has to, but because he wants to.
“I have the opportunity to make my dream a reality,” Alton said. “I get to play professional basketball if I take advantage of every opportunity out here.”
According to the website, usbasket.com, more than 6,700 Americans are playing basketball overseas, and that’s just in the last five years. It’s a much more viable option now; Alton credits his education from Penn State Abington to provide such opportunities.
Alton said that the language barrier was the hardest and most interesting thing to learn. In a recent game, Alton was yelling to his teammate to cut, but the player had no idea what he was saying.
“The thing you have to do is communicate with other players to help benefit the team,” he said. “If I can understand my teammate and he understands me, we are on the same page.”
He took the opportunity to learn Italian, enabling him to yell out the word “cut” in Italian, so his teammate knew what to do.
When Alton isn’t playing basketball, his team participates in the Italian Basket Camp, a summer camp league where the players play each other on the team from all around the world for fun. Of course, the experience isn’t just about basketball, but also enjoying the culture.
“A few of my teammates went to the Perugia Jazz Festival and it was the best experience thus far. The jazz festival is a huge event in Perugia and goes on for a week. It is a college life atmosphere of young adults partying and relaxing, enjoying a good time.”
“The food is extremely good, however my teammates and I started to get sick of having pizza and pasta every day,” Alton said. “We went everywhere trying to find a Subway, but the best we found was the night at the local jazz festival. We found an American restaurant that served burgers and fries. As soon as the food came out, we had smiles on our faces.”
Of course, every adventure comes with a blooper.
“At the jazz festival, the best part was when a few of us on the team missed the last bus back to the hotel,” he said. We were wandering in Perugia for two hours, trying our best to communicate with the Italians and find our way back to the hotel.”
Alton played through July 22 and plans to continue his dream in playing professional basketball at the semi- pro leagues throughout the U.S.
“It’s a great experience, but what I have learned the most is that you need to network with other players to be successful in this business.”
Information and photo courtesy of Jeff Dobbin/Penn State Abington