By Joseph Staszewski
Evan Conti dreamed of playing professional basketball in Israel since his junior year at Holy Cross. That hope is close to becoming a reality.
“It was always in the back of my mind, but once you graduate [college], it becomes reality,” he said. “You sign with an agent and they start talking to you about different situations.”
Conti, who played his college ball at Quinnipiac, has Israeli citizenship, making it easier for him to earn a roster spot playing pro basketball in the country. Teams there are mandated to play two Israeli citizens on the court at any given time.
“That’s why I have such an advantage,” Conti said.
The process has been what Conti expected. He signed with agent Neal Rosenshein of Summit Sports Group. Conti said his agent is in talks with plenty of teams. He will get a chance to exhibit his talents in front of them during a showcase in Las Vegas this month. That should bring great clarity as to where he will head to start his pro career. A decision should come later this summer.
“I’ll have more of an understanding after I go on that trip of who I’ll be playing for, where I’ll be playing,” Conti said. “Hopefully by the beginning of August everything will be settled.”
He already got a glimpse of what it would be like to compete away from home. Conti played in the Maccabi Games on the U.S. junior team in 2009 and on the open squad in 2013. He’s been told what to expect by others he knows who have gone through it. There is going to be less of a culture adjustment for him if he earns a contract.
“I understand what I am getting myself into,” Conti said. “I know the different environments I’ll be living in.”
He thrived during his four seasons at Quinnipiac. Conti averaged 9.0 points per game and started in 13 contests during his senior year. The Bobcats were one of the top teams in the MAAC, but just couldn’t get past league powers Manhattan and Iona in the postseason to reach the NCAA tournament. Despite that, Conti called it the best four years of his life and a tremendous experience.
While at Quinnipiac he showed he was a slick shooter, strong ball handler and a blue-collar presence on both ends of the floor. Conti believes he can bring similar attributes to his professional career.
“Energy, toughness and shooting, that’s really been guiding me my whole life,” Conti said. It’s brought him to this point in his career where the game he loves to play can become his vehicle to making a living.
“In high school, it is something I talked about it as something I want to do,” Conti said. “It was always in the back of my mind.”