Former Penn State Abington Basketball Player Keeping Dream Alive Overseas

ABINGTON, Pa. – Seven months ago, William Alton (Pennington, N.J.) was playing for Penn State Abington as a student-athlete with the men’s basketball team. This month, he was playing professionally in Italy and Serbia.

Alton is just beginning his life as a professional basketball player playing overseas, and he’s one of the lucky ones. Alton is doing it because he wants to, not because he has to.

“I have the opportunity to make my dream a reality,” he 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 somewhere overseas, and that’s just in the last five years. It’s a much more viable option now than it’s ever been and Alton credits his education from Penn State Abington to provide such opportunities.

“Communicating with players from all around the world has been a challenge,” said Alton. “As a student-athlete at Abington, I believe that my major in corporate communications contributed to this experience.”

Alton explained 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. If I can understand my teammate and he understands me, we are on the same page.”

He took the opportunity to learn how to speak 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,” Alton said.  “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.”

And enjoying the food…

“The food is extremely good, however my teammates and I started to get sick of having pizza and pasta every day,” explained Alton. “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. We were wandering in Perugia for two hours, trying our best to communicate with the Italians and find our way back to the hotel,” explained Alton.

Alton will continue to play overseas through the end of July, hoping for some offers from the European professional teams before returning back to the United States where he plans to continue his dream of playing professional basketball at the semi pro leagues throughout the United States.

“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.”


Release courtesy of Jeff Dobbin, Penn State Abington sports information director

*****************************************************************************************************************************

The North Eastern Athletic Conference has thirteen NCAA Division III member institutions which include: Cazenovia College, College of St. Elizabeth, Gallaudet University, Keuka College, Lancaster Bible College, Pennsylvania State University - Abington, Pennsylvania State University - Berks, Pennsylvania State University -Harrisburg, SUNY Cobleskill, SUNY Institute of Technology, SUNY Morrisville State College, Wells College, and Wilson College.  Associate members are: Hilbert College (M Lacrosse), Medaille College (M&W Lacrosse) and Rutgers University - Camden (M Golf & M Tennis).  The North Eastern Athletic Conference has partnered with the North Atlantic Conference in the sports of baseball, women’s lacrosse, and men’s and women’s tennis.