Maccabi Tel Aviv takes to the court tonight to begin their 2018/19 Euroleague campaign in Athens, Greece against Panathinaikos. One of the newcomers to the Yellow & Blue is Angelo Caloiaro who joined the club after playing the last season with Banvit from Turkey. The University of San Francisco graduate has played in Spain, Bulgaria and Germany as well and is confident he’ll make an impact with Maccabi. Let’s meet Angelo!
How’s Israel been so far?
“It has been awesome. I love the country. Living wise and the people, it feels like a home away from home. The restaurants here are great. Expensive but great. So I am loving it so far.”
Have your new teammates been able to help you out adjusting to living here in Tel Aviv?
“Honesty in Tel Aviv you really don’t need that much of an adjustment because it is such an amazing city. But just little things like places to eat and places to go.”
Who is Angelo? Where do you come from? What’s your background? How did you get into basketball?
“I am big family oriented person. I am one four children. My mom is one of eight. My dad is one of seven. Everyone lives in the bay area of California. We had tons of family parties growing up with my cousins. We are a big sports family. Most of my cousins played sports. I grew up watching them and playing with them. That was our culture. Still to this day I haven’t had a job other than playing basketball so it has been pretty special.”
You grew up on the west coast. Your siblings went to college with you and were also also D1 athletes in soccer and volleyball. How exciting was that for you?
“I didn’t necessarily take it for granted, but we are really family oriented so it kind of felt natural. As I have gotten older and lived so far away, I have seen how special that really was. It was an unbelievable experience playing basketball there and being so close to home. My whole family could come watch me play and I could watch my siblings so it was awesome.”
What was the highlight of your college career? Or was there something specific that you could say ‘wow’ that was one moment in time that was just awesome?
“I would just say being around family. It was cool to have my parents and grandparents be able to come to every single game. My brothers and sister could come too when they weren’t busy with their own sport. That was really cool.”
How did you end up playing professional basketball? What was it like going from college to the pros?
“The biggest adjustment for me was moving away from home. I went to the University of San Francisco which was only an hour from where I lived. My family was so close. Up until I was 22 years old I wasn’t living at home but right next to home. I had all my family and my support system with me. Then I moved to Spain and played in the 3rd division. That was the first team I went to. Which was a crazy story in itself. I was playing for free to try to get my foot in the door. It’s basketball so it’s still fun even if you do it for free. But I would say the different culture is the biggest thing to adjust to.”
What have been the challenges on the court in Europe so far?
“When I first came over, like most Americans, the travel rule gave me trouble. I probably traveled four or five times the first game. Also the pace of play is way different than college being a 24 second shot clock compare to 35 when I played. But that stuff I picked up on pretty quick.”
What are you looking forward to this season? You are going to be playing Euroleague, the best teams in Europe. What’s going to be the biggest challenge in making that change?
“I have played against a lot of those teams previously in my career. I played Fenerbahce 6 or 7 times last year. The biggest challenge would be that on a weekly basis you are playing that high level of competition versus it just happening once a month. Your level of play has to be at that top level consistently.”
Do you have any goals that you’ve set for yourself?
“Not really. I’m 29 and I just want to win. Even for an individual goal that would be my number one goal. I want to win at the highest level and I’m there now, at the highest level so it would be pretty sweet to do that.”