Joe Cremo was in Chicago as a rookie member of the Long Island Nets when the NBA G League suspended play March 12 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“There were only 10 games left,” the former Scotia-Glenville basketball star said from his home Friday afternoon. “We were making a playoff push, though I don’t know if we would have made it.”
Cremo never will know.
The NBA G League on Thursday canceled the remainder of its 2019-20 season, one in which Cremo enjoyed some success after a bumpy start to his professional career.
“When I got the opportunity, I took advantage of it,” the 6-foot-4 shooting guard said. “The first month, I was getting 25, 30 minutes a game. The last month I didn’t play as much when Brooklyn sent some guys down. That’s part of the gig.”
Cremo, who played three seasons at UAlbany and one at Villanova as a graduate transfer, went undrafted by the NBA. He said he intends to go back to the G League next season rather than pursue overseas opportunities.
He had 16 points and eight assists in a game against the Wisconsin Herd, and another with 11 points, six rebounds and five assists against the Delaware Blue Coats.
“My focus is on the G League. I’ll take my shot there,” the 23-year-old said. “I’ll go back to training camp and try to earn it all over again.”
Cremo was the last pick in the NBA G League draft in October 2019. He watched the draft online with his friend and former high school teammate Dom LeMorta, with whom he had won one of his two state championships while at Scotia.
“The first round went by, then the second and the third,” Cremo said. “The fourth round was getting down there, and I just had a feeling it was going to be me and then I got a call. It was like, ‘All right, let’s do it. I’ve still got an opportunity.’ The next day, I went to team camp.”
After a tryout that went well at times and not so well at others according to Cremo, he was waived by Long Island in training camp on his birthday, Nov. 5. Afterward, he played a handful of games with the Spa City Gamblers of the American Basketball Association before the Long Island brought him back in December.
Cremo played 18 games with Long Island and averaged 17.1 minutes, 5.1 points, 2.6 assists and 1.7 rebounds. His averages per 48 minutes were 14.2 points, 7.3 assists and 4.7 rebounds.
“They gave me a chance, and it was a good experience,” said Cremo. “What I got out of it was how to keep the right attitude every day. Be ready every day, and be a good teammate. I hope that pays off for me.”
The two-time state Class A Player of the Year has been shooting every day and lifting weights since his return home, while also working toward his master’s degree in education which be began while at Villanova.
“I am trying to make progress with it,” Cremo said. “I am taking two [online] classes, and I’ll need three more after that.”
Cremo graduated in three years from UAlbany with a degree in communications, and while there he earned America East Rookie of the Year and Sixth Man of the Year awards as a freshman, made the All-AE second team as a sophomore and the All-AE first team as a junior.