For the next installment of the Pro Insight Q&A series, we present Fresno State commit Leonardo Colimerio, from São Paulo, Brazil:
Pro Insight: Talk a bit about your background...when did you start playing basketball? Do you have any family members that play?
Leonardo Colimiero: I started playing when I was 9 or 10 years old, I started watching because I have a big brother (Lucas Colimerio). He’s 24 years old now. He’s a pro back home (plays for Joinville) so he’s basically my inspiration. I first started practicing with him and watching his games before I ever played on any team, myself. When I was like 10 or 11 years old I got on a team and when I was like 12 or 13 I started falling in love with the game...so I think that’s it...I started playing mostly because of my brother.
PI: Did you play any soccer growing up, as well?
LC: I usually play futsal...it’s inside court soccer, so I usually play sometimes. I used to play with my school team and when I turned 9 or 10 years old my brother was like “you should try basketball” and I tried it and I fell in love.
PI: Is your brother Lucas the only one to play basketball in your family? Did your parents play at all?
LC: No, my mom she tried in high school, but my grandparents said “no, she can’t do that,” so she stopped playing. My dad used to play handball back home and I have an uncle who used to play basketball when he was young...he kind of played pro for a couple years, but yeah so basically just my uncle and my brother.
PI: How would you describe yourself as a person off the court? What are some things you enjoy doing?
LC: I’m probably pretty easygoing. I talk to everybody, I smile, I like to go out with friends and go to parties and stuff...so more outgoing.
PI: Describe your game – what are your greatest strengths and biggest areas for improvement?
LC: I think for me, I like to be all over the place...I like to get my teammates involved, make the extra pass, make sure everybody is in the right position, be a leader. So I think I do a pretty good job...like sometimes I make the right pass in the right position and stuff...my job is to get the team involved, make sure everybody is doing their right job and stuff like that. I think a strength of mine right now is my transition game, I have a pretty good transition game. I’m working a lot on my shot and my handles, I think that’s basically my weakness right now. I’m growing more so I just have to keep my handles tight and consistent.
PI: Who are some tough individual matchups you’ve faced in AAU and with Wasatch Academy?
LC: I think at Wasatch the toughest player that I played against last year was Cole Anthony at GEICO Nationals. I think we couldn’t guard him, he could do whatever he wanted...I think he had like 30 points, so I think we didn’t know what to do. But in EYBL I played a lot of good players like Scottie Barnes...he’s like a 6’8” PG and long, so he was pretty good.
PI: What are your primary goals that you want to accomplish before your high school career is over?
LC: For me as a player I’m just trying to work on my body, get my shot more consistent and stuff, and get my handles tight like I said. As a team, I think we should win nationals. First of all to get invited and then win. It would be my second time and the team this year we’re really tight so I think we have a good chance.
PI: You’ve made it through the recruiting process. What were you looking for in a school during the process and what made Fresno State that school?
LC: So in the beginning, my first summer here I was looking for a high major school (UCLA was his dream school), so this last summer when I was playing EYBL I was like with the top guys “everybody can score, but nobody plays like real defense” so I just try to work on my defense at EYBL. I was looking for somewhere where I can play right away, that I can get a chance and play some minutes my freshman year, and a school that really wants me. So like during Peach Jam and stuff, Fresno State really wanted me, they would call me every day, text me every day. So basically they showed me love and showed me that they need me and that I’m going to play right away. I went on my visit there and fell in love with the campus and coaching staff, I think it was a perfect fit for me.
PI: Name 4 words that best describe you.
LC: Toughness, unselfish, team player, family with everybody on my team.
PI: College or pro, current or former player – do you model your game after anyone?
LC: In the NBA now I’m a LeBron James fan so I pretty much just watch him and in college I like Myles Powell’s game, the PG from Seton Hall, I think he’s pretty good. And when I play as a PG I try and look at Paul Peterson sometimes, just watch his highlights and stuff, he can teach me a lot with his IQ. So Paul is pretty much my mentor right now.
*Paul Peterson is the associate head coach for Wasatch Academy and was a former professional basketball player overseas
PI: What has been a defining moment or story in your life?
LC: I think for me, it was when I got out of the house and went on my first international trip. I didn’t have nobody to help me and stuff and I think it helped me a lot to be invited to camps. And when I first came over here (at Wasatch Academy) I didn’t speak English, so I think I learned a lot...it was hard in the beginning, but I think it was worth it. I left home when I was like 15 or 16 years old so I think it was really cool for me to mature as a man and a player everything inside and outside the court so I think it was really good.
PI: What was the process like coming from Brazil to Wasatch Academy? How did you find them or did they find you?
LC: So I was invited to international camps, one was called Eurocamp...it was in Italy and I was 17 years old. I went to the camp and this Brazilian guy named Walter Roese – he used to work with the Utah Jazz and now he works for the NBA Academy – he was there and invited me to the camp. After that camp I was invited to the NBA Basketball Without Borders camp. He was there too and I played good there, I made the All-Star team and stuff. After that, he stayed in touch with me, he knew my brother Lucas before because he invited my brother to Adidas Nations so he basically knew me from back home. He introduced me to the coaching staff and asked for my highlights and my grades, after that I came here. He helped Bernardo da Silva (former Wasatch Academy player from Brazil) to come to Wasatch Academy too.
PI: Did you and Bernardo da Silva know each other from before?
LC: I met him at the NBA camp in the Bahamas. I wasn’t sure if I was going to come here (Wasatch) so I started talking to him and he explained everything to me so he helped me out.
PI: What, or who, would you say is your biggest motivation in life?
LC: Right now I think it’s my brother from back home, as well as Mady [Sissoko] and Paul [Peterson]. They both push me hard to get better every day and they are always there and got my back. My family, my mom and dad, my brother, Paul, and Mady.
PI: Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
LC: For me, my goal is to make it to the league, of course. I don’t think I’m a one-and-done, so I’ll probably try four years in college and if I don’t make it to the league I will still play pro and stuff. That’s my goal now, is to keep playing basketball
PI: Would you go back and play professionally in Brazil?
LC: It would be my last option, but if I didn’t have anything else going on then probably yes.
PI: At the end of the day, what do you want to be remembered for?
LC: The guy that’s unselfish, that makes sure everybody is involved, more like a team guy and family guy is probably what I want to be remembered for.