UConn’s Joey Calcaterra says it’s ‘crazy’ to face old rivals SDSU in national title game
Former San Diego guard Joey Calcutta says it’s “crazy” that he will face his old rival San Diego State with a new team, UConn, in the National Championship game, and warns that “it’s going to be a battle from start to finish the end”
Joey Calcaterra spent most of his college basketball career in a heated rivalry with San Diego State. Now, the UConn transfer guard is preparing to battle his old foes for a national title.
The Connecticut The Huskies and San Diego State Aztecs are set to square off in the national championship game Monday night — as UConn tries to win its fifth title and SDSU tries to win its first.
Calcaterra is a native of Marin County, California upstate – played four years for the University of San Diego Torres. At the time, SDSU was their biggest rival.
Now the man affectionately nicknamed “Joey California” by UConn fans will see his college career come to an end against the same opponent on a new team with higher stakes than he’s ever faced before.
“You know, it’s really something special when you keep your confidence and decide to move somewhere else,” Calcaterra said in response to a question from DailyMail.com. ‘[We’re] playing in tournament teams like St. Mary’s and Gonzaga, I never had a chance to win in San Diego.
Connecticut guard Joey Calcaterra is scheduled to play in the NCAA national championship game on Monday
Calcaterra played for the University of San Diego – San Diego State’s cross-town rivals
This Monday, Calcaterra will play against their old hated foes for a win
“And then finished his career playing for San Diego State in the national championship. It’s just… you know, it’s just crazy. Crazy. You really can’t describe it.
“You know, they’ll be ready to go and it’s going to be a battle from start to finish. They have a great team, a great coaching staff, and we’ll have to prepare for them.”
Calcaterra was a starter from his sophomore to senior seasons for the Torres – averaging 9 points, 1.4 assists and 2.4 rebounds per game all four years.
At the time, he was coached by Sam Scholl, who now sits across from Calcutta’s bench at SDSU as an assistant coach.
SDSU also has Marin County native Darion Trammell on the team. Trammell transferred from Seattle University last season and arrived at the same stage as Calcaterra.
Opposite Calcaterra at SDSU will be his friend and Marin County native Darion Trammell
“We’ve been friends our whole lives just playing basketball against each other [and] playing with each other in open gyms,” Calcaterra said. “We used to train with the same coach.
“I’m just proud of him and happy for what he’s been able to do at this level. You know, he didn’t have any scholarship offers out of high school. So he had to practice… and ended up in Seattle.
And then [he] got an opportunity to play at a major program like san diego state…so [I’m] happy for him.
“Happy for the recognition that Marin County is getting now … we have our fair share of football players. [Detroit Lions quarterback] Jared Goff is a student at Marin Catholic High School.
Calcaterra will be important off the bench for Connecticut head coach Dan Hurley (R)
“There aren’t many basketball players who have reached the pinnacle of college basketball and beyond.”
At some point on Monday, it’s likely that Calcaterra could guard Trammell if they play similar positions. But unlike the recommended courts they’ve played on before, Houston will demand excellence from both of them.
“It will be a cool experience for both of us,” Calcaterra admits. “This is a very cool experience. Knowing that the national championship trophy will end up in Marin County anyway.
“So one of us is going to bring him home to our people and that’s just cool.”