FAU guard Pablo Bertone to pursue professional basketball opportunities in Italy


Pablo Bertone increased his scoring from 9.4 PPG in his junior year, to 19.0 PPG in his senior year. Photo by Sean Webster

A few years ago, FAU basketball’s Pablo Bertone missed his flight to Europe  — he’s not letting that happen again.

Bertone, who went on to score more than 1,000 points in his FAU basketball career and is the reigning FAU Male Athlete of the Year, arrived in Boca Raton a few days too late to accompany his team on a pre-season trip to Europe. Then a true freshman, Bertone missed the opportunity to travel with his teammates because of paperwork issues.

Now, Bertone has his sights set once again on Europe — Italy in particular — but not for a pre-season team bonding trip. Bertone, an Argentinian native, is looking to embark upon a basketball career.

Sam Rines, one of Bertone’s former coaches at Rise Academy (Philadelphia) revealed that Bertone will end up playing basketball in Italy.

“He’s pretty much guaranteed a job overseas,” Rines said. “He’ll do some workouts for a couple NBA teams, but he is pretty much resigned to his future being over in Europe.”

Bertone will make between $120,000 to $180,000 a year in his professional contract. Because he has citizenship in Italy, he won’t affect the number of Americans on whichever team he joins, which means a higher salary for him.

Florida Atlantic was not always in the plans for Bertone.

A phone call from a mysterious Argentine man that Rines knows only as Miguel tipped him about Bertone. Bertone joined the Rise Academy program, and the team played a tournament in Sarasota, Fla. during his prep school year.

Several schools became interested in Bertone there — (Belmont, Georgia State, St. Bonaventure, Niagara especially according to Rines) — but FAU had no representatives at the tournament.

Rines, who has known former FAU basketball coach Mike Jarvis for about thirty years, had his team stop in Boca Raton to see his friend after visiting Florida International University.

“Pablo fell in love with it,” Rines said of the FAU campus. “He wanted to be in Florida.”

“Once I told [Jarvis] about the type of player Pablo was, he flew up to Philly to watch him work out,” Rines said. “Then he took him.”

Bertone has seen many highs and lows during his four year tenure. Bertone saw the program win 21 games and head to the National Invitation Tournament during his freshman year, and the team won 35 games combined in his final three years of eligibility.

He watched nine players leave the program, most of whom cited issues with former head coach Mike Jarvis. Jarvis resigned in February of this year after 10-22 campaign.

Rines claims that Bertone did not enjoy his first year at Florida Atlantic, but that the situation improved with time

“He wasn’t happy. Maybe a little homesick, and he had  to adjust his style of play. He got more comfortable, but he was playing out of position because of some of the other players on the team,” said Rines.

“This year and last year, he was really able to play his natural position as a two [guard] and show everyone that he could score. But he was always a talented player.”

Now, the Argentinian native will head to a third continent and attempt to flourish while playing basketball for a living.

“To come to the school you wanted in America and be able to continue your career overseas, is a foreign kid’s dream,” Rines said.

Two former Owls have found modest success in the European professional basketball realm.

Paul Graham III, who was second on the FAU all-time scoring list with 1,521 points when he graduated in 2009, is playing professionally for Polish team, Anwil. Graham has also played in Puerto Rico and Romania. Jordan McCoy, who graduated in 2013, is now playing for Germany’s BSW Sixers.

Wesley Wright is the Sports Editor of the University Press. He can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter @NotEvenWes.