Inglima to play in Australia
Vince Inglima wasn’t quite ready to hang up his basketball shoes. So when the chance came to play professionally, the 2002 Carson High graduate jumped at it.
Inglima is leaving today for Dandenong, Australia, a suburb of Melbourne, where he will join an Australian Division II team there.
“It’s pretty exciting,” said Inglima, who was named as the 2006 California Collegiate Athletic Association Player of the Year while at Sonoma State. “You figure you’ve got to take advantage of these opportunities when they come up.”
Inglima won’t have much time to prepare for the season as Dandenong will play its first exhibition game on March 1. The regular season begins on March 14 and will run through the end of August.
Inglima will be in the same role at Dandenong as he was at Sonoma State as he’ll be a swingman, who can play either at small forward or shooting guard. Inglima is the only American on the team, so he knows there will be high expectations of him.
During this past season, Inglima has been serving as an assistant coach at Sonoma State, so he should still be in decent shape because he’s been working out with the team throughout the year. “I’ve been trying to stay in good shape, but we’ll see,” he said.
When he first found out about the chance to play in Australia, Inglima said it lifted his spirits.
“It was pretty rough for me,” said Inglima about having to give up playing temporarily. “it really gave me a little boost. I’m not quite ready to put the shoes away for good.
“It should be challenging and fun. There’s a lot worse things I could be doing right now. No complaints. At least I’m going to a place where it’s a nice environment. I can just focus on playing basketball.”
It wasn’t until late in his college career that Inglima even began entertaining thoughts that playing professionally might be a possibility.
“Actually not in the early days,” said Inglima about having a goal to play professionally when he first began playing basketball. “My ultimate dream growing up, I wanted to play college basketball. That was my ultimate goal.”
And at the end of last season, Inglima thought his career was done. “When the season was over I was burned out because I was going to be done playing basketball,” Inglima said. “But thankfully something worked out.”
Inglima said he’s been told that the level he’ll be playing at in Australia is comparable to high level Division II basketball, so it should be similar to the level of play he saw at Sonoma State.
The chance to play in Australia first came at last season’s Division II All-Star Game where a coach with ties to Australia saw him play.
“That’s the interesting part,” Inglima said. “I didn’t play a particularly good game at all. I did all right. I guess they saw something.”
It was just as tough for Inglima to watch the games as an assistant coach at Sonoma State.
“It was really rough for the first few games,” Inglima said. “It was really hard on me.
“It was a frustrating thing for me to get used to it. It was good to see the game from another perspective.”
Inglima is being paid $2,100 a month and is also receiving a place to stay, living expenses and round-trip air fare.
He will be paid $2,100 per month, the season running from March through August. He also gets a place to stay, living expenses as well as round-trip air fare.
After the season, Inglima will keep his options open. He has a one-season contract with Dandenong, but could be re-signed by Dandenong or signed by another Australian team after the season.
There’s also the chance that Inglima could be picked up by a European team. The European leagues began shortly after the Australian league ends.
If that doesn’t work out, Inglima could return as an assistant coach at Sonoma State. He eventually could also fall back on his computer science major.
But Inglima would like to stay in basketball as long as possible. “I’ve got to be around the game somehow,” he said.
“That’s the think that makes me the happiest. As long as I can be successful i want to stick with it.”