Leicester Riders head coach Rob Paternostro has revealed the struggles and surprises of being an American living ‘across the pond’.
Having moved to the UK almost 20 years ago, Paternostro took the reigns of Britain’s oldest basketball club back in 2008. Since taking charge of the Leicester Riders, Paternostro has become a fan favourite leading his team to three BBL titles.
Despite enjoying a large amount of success with the Riders, things were not always as bright for Paternostro.
“I think that when you come over here there is a little bit of a culture shock initially,” he said.
“When I first moved here, things like the internet were only just being invented so it was hard to call home and keep in contact with friends and family.
“It’s certainly easier nowadays with the way technology is but back then it was hard being so far from your comforts”.
However, a somewhat scary and bold decision to leave the ‘Land of Opportunity’ hasn’t stopped Paternostro from encouraging others to do the same.
“I also think that the experience you get from going overseas is not only beneficial for your basketball but also for life because you really get to learn a lot about yourself,” he added.
— Leicester Riders (@RidersBball) October 31, 2019
Another US-native who followed in Paternostro’s footsteps is that of 23-year old Kyron Cartwright. The Compton-born point guard said that moving from home didn’t have much of an impact on him.
“For me it was fine. I went to school on the East Coast and I’m from California which was as far away from my school as you could possibly get.
“I haven’t lived at home for the past five years and I rarely go back so for me it hasn’t been so hard.”
On the younger players who may be contemplating a career path in the UK, he said:”It can be kind of difficult for some of the other guys.
“Me and Namon [Wright] grew up in the same city just on opposite sides, but just seeing a familiar face or somebody he knows can really help him.”
Cartwright drives inside for two!
— Leicester Riders (@RidersBball) October 26, 2019
It’s not just being far from home that can surprise players that may not be native to the British Isles. Paternostro admitted that his experience of the UK is nothing like he expected and certainly not how it appears on TV.
“I expected everybody to have these big, crazy, punk hairdos and for everyone to speak in the Queen’s English so it was more than a little different than what I thought,” said Paternostro.
“Whenever you saw anything about England on the TV back home you never got to see what it was really like.
“But I’ve grown to love it, it’s my home now. I have two children who were born here so I consider myself an honorary Brit.”