Despite Limited Experience Caleb Orange Believes That Hard Work And Working Smart Will Get Him The Ticket To Top Levels In Europe

Caleb Orange is a 175cm guard chasing the overseas professional basketball dream. He was at 4 different schools, but never played for a club but somehow with the help of some taught himself the game at a young age. He hopes some exposure at the 2022 Howard Hoops Germany pro Tour will give him an opportunity at that first job. He spoke to germanhoops.com about his journey.

Thanks Caleb for talking to germanhoops.com. Where are you at the moment and how is basketball life treating you?

Whats up Miles, I appreciate the opportunity to do this interview. I am currently in Munich, Germany, training for the Howard Hoops tour. Although the tour is from august 25th-29th, I have been here since June 25th. Originally, I intended for this trip to be a working vacation. It has ended up being 98% work and maybe 2% vacation. I spend almost all my time training. I’m either at the park or the local basketball gymnasium, Munich indoor Basketball. If I am not training I am usually watching European basketball or on the internet learning about different aspects of the game. Basketball life has been treating me very well, I have made massive improvements in both skill level and IQ since I have been here

You are a real basketball warrior. The odds for a guy like you to turn professional are very limited. You have no college or professional experience. Knowing that what gives you the hope that you will be a lucky one?

With all due respect, I do not believe luck has much to do with it. I have worked extremely hard over the past few years in honing my skills and really learning what it means to be a point guard on the professional level. All I ever think about is basketball, it consumes me. With as much confidence as I have, it is still important to be realistic. At the end of the day, I know that there are ‘levels’ to this professional basketball thing and having watched hours of videos on YouTube of different regional level teams and Oberliga and Landesliga teams, I believe that I can compete on this level. By this time next year, the goal will be to be confident and skilled enough to compete on a higher level and continuing to level up if you will.

You now are with the Howard Hoops Germany pro tour. How did connect with Ronald Howard (181-PG-1984, college: Mayville St.)?

I have been aware of the tour for a few years now. While building my skillset, I always saw the Howard Hoops tour as a good option for getting my pro career started. After I gained enough confidence in my skill to pursue the professional route, I started to think about whether I wanted to be the type of player to try to play all around the world or try to actually build a life in one particular country, using basketball as a tool to get started. The latter option seemed the most attractive to me, and Germany seemed like the most attractive country to do that. I knew that the Howard Hoops tour would give me the best opportunities to get my foot in the door in Germany, so I reached out to him on facebook.

Ronald Howard has a super track record for getting guys jobs. How blessed do you feel having got to know Ronald Howard? What have you learned to appreciate the most about him?

Man I am so appreciative of Ron and this opportunity. There are so may different characters in the overseas basketball space that claim to do the things that Ron actually does. There is a certain sense of comfortability in knowing that the guy you’re working with is the real deal, and will do what he says he will do. What I appreciate the most is his honestly. He made it very clear in our first team conference call that he would be brutally honest about what he expects and will hold us to that standard while we are on the tour. That type of feedback and constructive criticism is what I need, especially coming from a former player that has spent so many years playing here

Sometimes an incredible showcase can help a guy get a job no matter what his resume says. Is this something that your banking on?

JA! That is exactly what I am banking on. I am preparing myself in every way to play great basketball, and to exceed the expectations for what these teams are looking for in a point guard. If I do that, my lack of a resume won’t matter. Knowing the impact that this showcase can make on my career is something that really motivates me

Working hard for years and never being rewarded for it by a professional team must be extremely tough. What has kept you going all these years. How much does simple love for the game play a role?

If you have a goal for yourself, you really must see yourself there. You must be able to close your eyes and visualize accomplishing your goals. I guess what has kept me going is my belief that, if I worked hard and worked smart, I could make it to the top levels of European basketball. Its one of those things where its like, its at the finish line waiting for me, all I have to do is keep running my race and I will grab it. I know I will achieve greatness because not only do I have an intense love for the game, I have an intense love for the grind and struggle that it takes to be great.

You fell in love with basketball at age 4 and played until 8th grade and then didn’t play in high school. Why do you feel did you lose interest then?

I think I lost confidence in it. At that time, I wasn’t willing to put in the effort to be great. Because I played on high level AAU teams, I saw my peers getting further along in their skill development than I was. In my younger years I used to quit a lot as soon as the road got tough or when I would get discouraged.

Then after high school the interest came back and you attended 4 different universities but never played for a team. You pretty much taught the game to yourself. Did other people think you were crazy doing all the work not knowing if it would pan out in the end?

Its so funny man. When I tell people my goals, they won’t just come out and call me crazy, but I can tell that they’re thinking it. People are usually very surprised at the combination of my lack of experience and supreme confidence that this will work out. Most people believe in taking the conventional or the safe route in life. I believe in fully chasing your dreams until you can’t anymore. That way, if it doesn’t work out, you will find peace in knowing that you gave it everything you had.

In the end you didn’t land on a team and school was over after 10 semesters. What possibly kept your motor hot and burning to continue to follow the dream for a professional career?

There is something about knowing your back is against the wall that can propel you to achieve great things. I know that basketball is my ultimate dream. To be honest, I don’t have a truly conceptualized plan b. Hooping has to work, and it will.

How have you been able to pay the bills all these last years. Do you sometime s lose faith in the process?

I’ve mostly been doing security jobs. They’re relatively easy to get and always available once you get a certain amount of experience. I have never lost faith in the process. There have been some days when the grind would sometimes become overwhelming in thinking about all that I have to do to accomplish my goals. When I would start feeling that way, I knew it was a good time to take a day off, and then attack the next day with a recharged battery

Let’s talk about your game. You’re a 175cm guard If you had to compare your game to an NBA player who would best fit the bill?

Its hard to say because I watch so much basketball and take moves and reads from so many different guards. I guess if you had to make a comparison, it would be Terry Rozier

What are your biggest strengths on the court and On what area’s of your game are you working on most now so that you will be best prepared for your next challenge?

My biggest strengths are my speed, ball handling and ability to create. When I have the ball in my hands, I feel like I can make anything happen for myself and my teammates, ESPECIALLY out of a pick and roll. I have a constantly attacking mindset. I have been the most focused on playing without the ball, from cutting to spot up shooting to making movement shots like drifts and lifts and flares.

Who was the toughest player that you ever battled on a court anywhere that made the NBA?

I have never battled with anyone that made the NBA

Please name your 5 best teammates of all-time?

I really cannot answer this question. If I played more basketball In school I probably would be able to. Most of my teammates were either from men’s leagues or pick up games, and they change too much for me to solidify an all time top 5

Please name your personal NBA Mount Rushmore?

Michael Jordan, Lebron James, Steph Curry, Kevin Durant, OG Isaiah Thomas

What is your opinion of the neverending debate of who is the greatest of all-time Jordan or Lebron?

Michael Jordan. I feel like I am one of the few people that does not consider rings when it comes to this debate, I only consider impact on the game. MJ was so dominant on both ends of the court. Possibly the greatest mid range shooter of all time, crazy athletic elite ball handler. The man had no weaknesses. Lebron is the greatest all around player but Jordans impact on winning was just unmatched.

Where do you rank Steph Curry right now of the best point guards of all-time

Its crazy that my favorite Euroleague point guard Mike James is catching flack for his opinion on Steph Curry but Steph is easily top 5 all time. He might even be the most skilled guard of all time just based on his ability to take on point guard responsibilities with the ball, and being the greatest shooter ever and possibly the greatest at moving without the ball

Did you see the sequel to the classic Coming To America? Shouldn’t they have left it alone?

I never saw it because I felt like it should have been left alone haha. It seems like every American movie is either a superhero movie or reboot. We need more originality

Thanks Caleb for the chat

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