Joe Cremo is going to play basketball next season. The former Scotia-Glenville High School and University at Albany star just doesn’t know where.
It could be in the NBA G League, possibly with one of the three teams he recently had a workout with to showcase his skills. Overseas is another option, where Capital Region players like Rashaun Freeman, Willie Deane and Jimmer Fredette have flourished.
“I am open to really, whatever, at this point,” the 6-foot-4 shooting guard said. “If I could stay here, that would be great. I’ve always wanted to play in the NBA and the G League is a path. If an opportunity presents itself [to play overseas], I’m good with that, too.”
Cremo, who played three seasons at the University at Albany before finishing up at Villanova as a graduate transfer, got his first taste of pro ball earlier this month in workout sessions conducted by the Washington Wizards, Brooklyn Nets and Philadelphia 76ers.
“It was a really good opportunity for me,” Cremo said. “Washington was first and that went well. Brooklyn was second and that was probably the best. Philadelphia, it could have gone a little better.”
Cremo did some of the things during the Brooklyn workout that made him a standout in high school and at UAlbany, where he earned first-team All-America East status as a junior.
“I shot the ball really well. I started off really well and kept it going,” said Cremo, whose 1,469 points are No. 8 on UAlbany’s all-time scoring list and No. 5 since it moved to the Division I level. “Defensively, I was really solid and took some charges. When we were playing 3 on 3, I made plays and got the other guys involved. I got back to doing what I normally do.”
Shooting the ball with accuracy had been a constant for Cremo before his stint at Villanova, where he never fully found his offensive groove. He averaged 4.0 points and made 34 percent of his 3s. He averaged 16 minutes and made five starts while also averaging 1.8 rebounds and 1.2 assists for the Big East regular season- and tournament-champion Wildcats.
As a junior with the Great Danes, Cremo averaged 17.8 points and shot just under 46 percent from beyond the arc. He played 35 minutes per game and also produced 4.1 rebounds and 3.8 assists.
“I took a lot of positives from it,” the 22-year-old Cremo said of his stay at Villanova, which included his only NCAA tournament appearance. “I wouldn’t change what I did.”
Cremo suffered a setback at Villanova when he sustained a facial injury during an October workout and missed two weeks of practice time.
Cremo also had his moments while at Villanova, which included a season-high 14-point outing in a 71-65 loss to St. John’s. He hit four 3-pointers in that game, matching the four he nailed when he delivered 12 points in a 70-58 win against Saint Joseph’s. At the defensive end he drew a key charge late in a 67-61 win over nationally ranked Marquette.
Cremo and sophomore Collin Gillespie shared the Jake Nevin Award, which is presented at the end of the season to a Villanova player or players who show selflessness in putting the needs of the team above their own.
“I got a good experience there and learned a lot,” Cremo said. “Defensively, I feel a lot more confident 1 on 1, and a lot tougher. It helped me as far as creating the right attitude every day. I picked up a lot of little things that, in the long run, will pay off for me.”
Perhaps while competing in the NBA G League?
“I’m hoping to stick around in the G League with one of the teams I worked out with,” Cremo said.
A two-time state champion while at Scotia-Glenville and the high school’s career scoring leader, Cremo has been honing his game two and sometimes three times a day.
“People know I can shoot the ball, Cremo said. “I have to keep getting bigger, stronger, faster.”