Before arriving in College Park to join the Terrapins men’s basketball team last summer, Logan Aronhalt thought it might be time to abandon his lifelong dream of playing professionally.
Sure, the sharp-shooting guard was committed to ending his college career by contributing to an ACC contender after spending four years at Albany in the American East Conference. But with an injury-prone back and solid academic standing, Aronhalt figured he might achieve more in life if he didn’t pursue a professional basketball career.
It didn’t take long into the season for that mindset to change, though. Playing as a fifth-year senior transfer, Aronhalt reveled in the enthusiasm of Comcast Center’s crowds and his new teammates.
“Halfway through the season, I was just living the life,” Aronhalt said. “I couldn’t give it up.”
So he decided he would do whatever it took to continue playing the sport. On Monday, he signed a 10-month professional contract with Assigeco Casalpusterlengo, a team in the third tier of competition in Italy.
Aronhalt, who averaged six points per game and shot 43.4 percent from three-point range in 14.2 minutes per game last season, said he’s itching to get back onto the court. He’ll fly to the Italian city of Casalpusterlengo on Aug. 15, and the team’s season begins in early October.
Though Aronhalt will be playing professionally for the first time, he’ll be one of the older players on Assigeco Casalpusterlengo — similar to his standing on a young Terps squad last season — and he anticipates being a focal point of the team’s offense.
“Any time they bring over an American player, I think they expect him to be able to score,” Aronhalt said. “I’m expecting to get the green light.”
While the Terps used the Zanesville, Ohio, native primarily as a perimeter-shooting specialist last season — he recorded 63 3-pointers and hit only 14 shots inside the arc — Aronhalt has shown the ability to be a well-rounded scoring threat during his college career.
He made more two-point field goals than 3-pointers during his final two years playing for Albany, and he averaged a career-high 14.6 points per game as a redshirt sophomore.
Aronhalt won’t only feel comfortable as a scoring threat on the floor; he’ll also be accustomed to his new surroundings off the court.
Aronhalt took two trips to Italy during high school to play in basketball tours, and during one of them, he stayed with a host family that spoke very little English. He doesn’t know much Italian, but he was able to communicate with them. And he didn’t have any trouble adjusting to Italian cuisine, either.
“I had a lot of fun there, and I can’t wait to go back,” Aronhalt said. “The food was probably my favorite part, but I have to watch what I eat a little more now.”
Still, Aronhalt isn’t headed to Europe to enjoy pasta and chicken cutlets. He’s there to build a professional career.
In Italy, incoming players often start in the third-tier league, like Aronhalt will with Assigeco Casalpusterlengo. Players are able to move up into the higher divisions, as Aronhalt hopes to do by performing well this season.
“I’ll be playing in the lower league, but the top division is very good,” Aronhalt said. “This gives me a chance to get my foot in the door over there, and hopefully I can work my way up.”
This time last year, Aronhalt wasn’t sure he’d want to continue playing basketball competitively. But now his back is healthy — he rested for three weeks after the season — and he’s ready to immerse himself in training for the professional season in Italy.
Aronhalt isn’t sure how his future will unfold. But after his year playing with the Terps, he’s just glad basketball is a part of it.
“When I was out there this year, I felt a rush that you just can’t match with anything else,” Aronhalt said. “Every single game was a constant reminder that this is what I love to do, and I want to do it as long as possible.”