PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — Chris Carideo has made an incredible impact on Widener University basketball, first as a player scoring more than 2,000 points, and for the last decade and a half, as the program's head coach, winning more than 200 games.
Carideo grew up down the shore in Ocean City and he says basketball down there was something special:
"When I got into the later part of high school and college, the Jersey Shore basketball scene was amazing at that moment for me. It helped me grow immensely. In Ocean City, at 34th Street, those basketball courts used to be packed every Saturday and Sunday," he recalled.
"I can remember being in high school and guys like (former North Carolina State star) Chris Corchiani were coming down. We used to play, games would be six-game wait, no blood, no foul, it was intense. It really made you kind of grow and appreciate competing. That was our AAU. That’s how we got better, because we knew that if you lost, you could be done for the day."
After starring at Widener, Carideo did get the chance to play some pro basketball, spending time with the now-defunct Trenton Flames of the Atlantic Basketball Association. He talked about getting everything he could out of his playing career.
"Sometimes I'd be like, 'Here I am, a kid that grew up in Ocean City, six-foot-nothing, and I really don't have great God-given abilities, and I've made it to the point where I'm competing against some pro athletes.' Certainly, not the highest of the pros," he remarked.
"So I was satisfied when my career ended at that point, because I knew that I did everything I physically could to put myself in a position to be the best player I could be. Honestly, that's the biggest message I try to give to my guys now, is that you'll never know your ability until you maximize it and try to do the most you can."
You can listen to the entire interview with Chris Carideo below by checking out the latest episode of the KYW Newsradio original podcast, "1-on-1 with Matt Leon." Subscribe on the RADIO.COM app or wherever you get your podcasts.