Jul 31, 2013, 2:02 PM EDT
Three-time BIG EAST Scholar Athlete of the Year for men’s basketball Tim Abromaitis left the University of Notre Dame with an MBA from the top-ranked Mendoza College of Business. His academic acuity could have landed many jobs in the corporate world, but Abromaitis is continuing to pursue his dream of suiting up for an NBA squad.
After playing in France last year, Abromaitis accepted an offer to be a member of the Boston Celtics Summer League squad during their outings in Orlando. Due to his solid play down in Florida, Abromaitis is looking at a variety of opportunities over in Europe and hopes sign in the near future.
His experience down in Orlando in the summer league was the first time he had suited up in an organized fashion in the United States since he finished at Notre Dame.
“The NBA Summer League experience was good for me” said Abromaitis. “Going into Summer League play I didn’t really know what to expect in terms of playing time or what the games would be like. But I had a few good days of practice leading up to it with the Celtics. I Would have liked to shoot it better, but overall I can’t complain. It went pretty well for me and hopefully the experience helps me wherever I end up next year.”
Being an avid watcher of the Celtics it was a great experience for Abromaitis to suit up for Boston in NBA Summer League play. But even more special was the chance to play in the US once again.
“It was really cool to have friends and family turn on the TV and be able to watch me again” Abromaitis said. “I’m out there with pretty high-level players and it was fun to try and prove myself again in a really competitive environment.”
Aside from trying to prove himself to coaches and scouts, Abromaitis also had the chance to catch up with former Irish teammate Jack Cooley as his Boston Celtics squad squared off against Cooley’s Houston Rockets. The experience was a very tough match-up for Abromaitis as he was tasked with holding down or boxing out the much larger and wider Cooley when he was switched onto his former teammate on switches.
“Jack and I were in the same area the entire week so we were able to see each other a little bit off the court and catch up” said Abromaitis. “But on the court there was a little bit of joking and trash talking going on. He got me a couple plays on the inside and I was just trying to talk my way out of it.
One of Abromaitis’ favorite moments came when the pair lined up next to one another along the paint awaiting a free throw attempt. “We were lined up on the free throw line a and I was like ‘I’m going to get this put-back dunk on you.’ Or something like that. Obviously ridiculous notions. It was just really cool to be out and interact with him a little bit.”
While at Notre Dame Abromaitis primarily played the small forward position and was a slashing, wing-style player. His time with the Celtics allowed him to get back to his comfort zone. “One of the nice parts about is that I was able to play the small forward position again instead of playing a power forward role in France last year” Abromaitis stated. “It was nice to just get the experience again playing the three and guarding more quick and agile players who were able to play off the dribble. It was nice to know that I could guard them.”
As some of you may know, there are differences in rules between basketball in the ‘States’ and International (FIBA) play. A larger paint area, shorter three-point line and the ability to grab the ball as soon as it bounces off the rim are just a few of the differences in rules between the two styles of play. So going back and forth between styles of play can be difficult.
“The whole style of play is different in Europe, but I think the extended three-point line is a big part of that” Abromaitis proclaimed. “The games in the NBA are so much pick and roll and spread out the guys around the perimeter. That’s how I got a lot of my shots in Orlando. A lot more of my stuff in France was ‘set a screen, set another screen, maybe set another screen, make a cut and hopefully find yourself open. Not much of the one-on-one stuff that the NBA does.”
Aside from on the court, Europe is a different place to be geographically and that doesn’t stop when you step on the court. For Abromaitis it was no different. “It’s an adjustment going to Europe, the whole culture and lifestyle is just different” said Abromaitis. “On the court there is so much more structure. You need to make sure you are in your spot. Less creativity is used over in Europe, but it is easy to know what is expected of you while on the court, a little more predictable. Style of play and your role is probably the biggest difference.”
I for one can say we are all pulling for ‘Abro’ on whatever lies in front of this Notre Dame graduate.
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