Thomas Spagnolo is a 24 year old 201cm forward from West Jefferson, North Carolina that is playing his rookie season in Germany with the ScanPlus Baskets Elchingen (Germany-ProB). He started his basketball career in 2009 with Radford (NCAA) where he played until 2011. He then moved to : Appalachian St. (NCAA) playing 70 NCAA games in three years and as a senior played 29 games: 9.7ppg, 7.0rpg, 1.0apg, FGP: 51.9%, 3PT: 35.3%, FT: 73.0%. In his first three games with the the ScanPlus Baskets Elchingen he is averaging 17,3ppg and 9,7rpg. He spoke to German Hoopsearlier in the summer about basketball.
Tommy thanks for talking to German Hoops. Where are you at the moment and how has your summer been?
Right now I’m living in Todd, North Carolina. I’ve had a different kind of summer than I’m used to, considering graduation, but an enjoyable one.
A couple years ago you were playing in a rec league at Appalachian St where the basketball coaching staff said you could have a try out the next season to walk on to starter to a professional basketball contract in Germany. Are you living a Cinderella story?
I wouldn’t use that wording, but I’m definitely excited about this opportunity.
If they were to make a film about your way, who would you pick as lead actor to play your role?
I’ll have to get back to you on that one.
Congrats on signing your first professional basketball career in Germany with pro B team Scanplus Baskets. How excited are you about your new journey as a professional basketball player and moving to Europe?
Thank you, I’m extremely excited about taking the next step in my career. Not only is this a great opportunity to keep playing basketball competitively, but it’s also a chance to see a different part of the world and experience a different culture.
When did you first start to think about possibly becoming a professional basketball player?
Playing professionally has been a dream of mine for as long as I can remember.
How was the last few months testing the professional waters? Did you have offers from other teams and why did you decide to go to the Scanplus Baskets?
The last few months have been great. I’ve been expanding my knowledge of the game, talking to as many professionals as I could, and of course improving my basketball skills.Scanplus Baskets seems like a great place to start my career.
What do you know about German basketball and the country of Germany in general?
I know Germany is one of the top countries in Europe for basketball. I feel very fortunate to have the chance to play basketball there. I don’t know much about Germany in general. I have heard that it has a good economy, and I have heard about the Audubon.
After two seasons at Radford(NCAA) where you didn´t get much minutes, you decided to transfer to Appalachian St where your dad was also a professor? Were there no intentions to further your basketball career there at the start?
I definitely wanted to keep playing basketball, but at that point in my life my education was the priority. I am very fortunate that my collegiate saga worked out the way that it did.
Three years before you came to Radford, North Carolina native Chris Oliver finished at Radford and since has had a very long and illustrious career in Europe and started his career like you in Germany. Did you remember hearing stories about him who has the exact same height as you at 201cm?
I recognize that name. I hope to achieve a long and illustrious career as well.
You didn´t play NCAA basketball for two seasons until the 2012-2013 season. What besides the speed and catching the ball was most difficult to get used to again on the court?
I’m always looking to improve.
How important was Brian Okam for you in your first season at Appalachian State? He had 11 inches on you, but did he help you get even tougher on the court?
Brian Okam had a considerable side advantage on me, so training with him made me appreciate the value of being in shape, being tough, and it inspired a craftiness in my game.
You are a very versatile forward, but what is a hidden strength in your game that doesn´t get noticed right away?
I think that I’m a better athlete than I’m given credit for at times. My athleticism is probably overshadowed by my physical style of play.
What was key from head coach Jason Capel in your first two seasons in you easing back into the NCAA grind?
Coach Capel and his staff made me work extremely hard and held me accountable for my actions. Coach Capel gave me an opportunity, and I couldn’t be more thankful.
As a senior new head coach Jim Fox challenged your leadership skills, but how did he ultimately get you prepared best for a professional basketball career?
Coach Fox is a detail oriented coach and he stresses how important that is to success, especially if you’re going to be a pro. Coach Fox also believed in me and gave me the confidence to expand my game within his system.
What was your senior highlight on the floor? Possibly your 22 point game in the 74-69 win against Georgia State?
That was a great win for our team. It jump started our season.
Who won a one on one in practice you or Jacob Lawson?
I would win. Jacob is a very talented player. I believe the future is bright for him and Appstate basketball.
On what things are you working most ion this summer on your game so that you will be best prepared for your rookie season in Germany?
I have focusing heavily on improving my jump shot.
How does a normal workout day look like for you in the summer of 2015 on and off the court?
This summer I have been weight training three times a week, swimming twice a week, and doing skill work at least 5 days per week. I try to mix up working out with instruction and working out by myself. I also play pickup a few times a week.
Did Jim Fox tell any memorable stories about the work ethic of Steph Curry at Davidson?
Coach Fox would reference Steph often. Tales of his hard work are certainly inspiring.
Why do so many good players come from North Carolina?
It’s a very populous state, but beyond that I would imagine it has something to do with all of the good colleges that it is home to.
What was the last movie that you saw?
The last time I went to a movie theatre I went to see Cinderella with my girlfriend.
Thanks Thomas for the chat.