Interview: Former ‘Cuse Player Ross Diliegro

A while back we interviewed, then, New Hampshire center Dane Diliegro. Dane was an excellent player, but apparently he learned it all from his big bro. While Dane was in High School, Ross was at Syracuse with Eric Devendorf leading the way. More recently Ross participated in the Maccabi games and he told us all about his experience.

1) Tell TGR a little bit about yourself?
I’m originally from Lexington, MA, went to school at Syracuse, and now live in NYC. 

2) You played at Syracuse. What was that experience like? How was it playing for Jim Boeheim?
“Played” is a very generous term for my experience at SU. Yes, I was on the team, but that was mainly for comic relief and to boost the average GPA. 
Just kidding. Kind of. It was incredible – to be able to play for a hall of fame coach and be part of an elite program is something I certainly didn’t take for granted. People in Central New York bleed orange, and the support the show to the team is unparalleled anywhere. I’m proud to have been a part of the program for four years as a player and one as a student assistant coach (while in grad school), and I wouldn’t trade my experience there for anything. 

3) Can the Orangemen win it all this season?
They can. And they will. 
4) Your brother played at New Hampshire. One on one who wins?
I think the last time we played was around 5 years ago, and if I remember correctly, I won. If we played now things would probably go differently. He’s a lot better at basketball than I ever was. Not to mention, he’s an absolute beast. 
5) What do you do these days? Do you still play basketball?
These days I work as an energy consultant in NYC, helping companies and buildings become energy efficient, sustainable, and green. Besides playing for team USA in the Pan-American Maccabi games a few weeks ago, the extent of my basketball playing is limited to rec leagues and pickup games in the city. 

6) What was your experience like playing in the Maccabi games? Was it hard to shake off the rust?
It was amazing. We started preparing for the games fairly early, with our initial mini-camp in July, and subsequent camps in September, November, and right before we left for the games in December. We had an amazing coaching staff and they weren’t taking things lightly. In addition to the mini-camps, we had to send weekly reports tracking our workouts and the progress each of us had made, which ended up being a great motivational tool to get in the gym. By the time we got to Brazil, we had a tight-knit group with chemistry on and off the court. While we spent a lot of time at the hotel and the Hebraica where we played our games (essentially a college campus-sized JCC), we did get a chance to take a tour of São Paulo and visited some great places throughout the city, like Ibirapuera Park and the Mercadão, or municipal market. The team consisted of 1 current and 11 former college players from all over the country, a great group with a few TGR vets on the squad – Sean Wallis, David Liss, Adam Carp, David Fine, and Jon Greenberg. 
Mexico, Canada, Brazil, and Israel also entered teams into the Open Men’s division that we played in. Our team played well and went 4-0 in group play (including a 3-point buzzer beater for the win against Brazil that was featured on Sportscenter’s top 10 plays click HERE to advance, and beat Israel in the semifinals then Canada in the finals. Winning the gold medal was the icing on the cake to an experience I’ll never forget. 
7) Any future basketball plans?
I have an NY Urban league game next Tuesday. At this point, that’s about it. 
8) Who is your Final Four this year?
Syracuse, Kansas, Michigan State, Nevada (for Adam Carp)

Thank you to Ross for his time. Interested in playing on my Urban team next season?

And Let Us Say…Amen.
– Jeremy Fine


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