Former UCF Basketball Guard A.J. Rompza Has Bright Future AheadBasketball, Sports — By Allen Levin on August 7, 2012 at 8:51 pm Tweet
Getting a book published, trying out for the Harlem Globetrotters and potentially playing basketball overseas.
Yep, that’s former UCF basketball player A.J. Rompza’s upcoming slate as he moves on from his time at UCF and looks ahead to the future.
Rompza, the Knights primary starting point guard over the last four years, has had his plate full since graduating from UCF in May.
“It’s definitely different not being on a daily schedule with workouts and having to go through daily routines- you gotta do it on your own,” Rompza said. “It takes time to adjust to, but I’m trying to stay in my own daily routine.”
Since ending a memorable four-year run as one of the Knights most influential voices, Rompza has remained busy by writing his autobiography, in addition to leaving open the opportunity to continue his basketball career.
He has a tryout for the Harlem Globetrotters in New Jersey coming up on August 10, and is training rigorously to play basketball overseas, where he is focused on getting a dual citizenship to bolster his chances of getting a contract.
“That’s definitely something that’s a big focus (playing overseas) for me right now for the bigger picture. I have people I have been talking to and people that are interested,” Rompza said. ”I think the biggest thing for me right now is getting a dual citizenship so I wouldn’t be considered an American because they are only allowed to take two Americans per team.”
While Rompza has a heavy interest playing overseas, the summer months are a dead period in European basketball, so his upcoming tryout with the Globetrotters is something the Chicago-native is also weighing.
“I’m looking forward to that. That would be something that’s great for my book,” Rompza said.
As Rompza continues to explore his post collegiate basketball options, it’s all stuff that is proving to be great material for his book. Rompza originally wrote a 30-page, motivational work titled “A Little Guy In A Big Man’s World” that was released in 2010, but this time around he’s taking the first version of the book to a whole new level.
Rompza has upped the ante by getting writing lessons from his publisher, the Seymour Agency- located in New York- while also adding much more dialogue and life details to this book. He describes the upcoming version of the book as “10 times better” than the first one.
“It’s kind of the first one, but 10 times better. I didn’t really know what to include originally, but now I have dialogue and talk about the NCAA and what really happened,” Rompza said. “It goes into details about a lot of stuff…when I was having my seizures, I didn’t know if I was going to be able to play basketball, so it talks about basketball, but also what I had to overcome.”
Rompza’s increased time and effort into his book hasn’t gone unnoticed as he’s in talks with actor Donnie Wahlberg, older brother of Mark Wahlberg, for adapting a screenplay based off the autobiography. Rompza is scheduled to have a meeting with Wahlberg in September.
Rompza’s revised book will undoubtedly be interesting with all he’s endured over the past year, starting with his 12-game NCAA mandated suspension to the seizures he suffered that threatened his basketball career. Regardless, Rompza just wants to make sure his book influences people in a positive way.
“It’s coming along. It’s taking a lot of time because I want to have a great book rather than just an okay book. I want it to really affect people’s lives in a positive manner, and I want people to get something out of it,” Rompza said. “I’m just taking my time with it; there’s no rush.”
Even with all he has going on, Rompza still manages to keep close contact with his alma mater as it still hasn’t hit him that his time as a Knight is over.
“I still talk to Coach (Donnie) Jones regularly. But, it’s something that hasn’t hit me yet. It’s just like anything in life- good things come to an end. I think I did the best I could finishing on top,” Rompza said. “I met so many great people while I was here- people I’ll have relationships with for the rest of my life.”
“I can’t wait to watch these guys. They look amazing, and I’m excited to see how they do.”
Rompza sees a great future ahead for the UCF basketball team as they are on the verge of joining the Big East in 2013.
I think once we get to the Big East- once you go to a big conference- you get the attention and you get people noticing you. Once they go to the Big East, they’ll get bigger recruits obviously,” Rompza said. “UCF has so many great players coming in and when they’re able to put that together, then the sky is the limit for them.”
While Rompza will always reminisce on his time at UCF, he is excited to see what the future will bring for him. And with a published book, potential overseas basketball career and tryout with the Harlem Globetrotters upcoming, Rompza has a very bright future in front of him.
“There’s a lot going on for me right now. I think once a couple of them start going, things will really start picking up. So, I’m excited about it,” Rompza said.
Regardless of what happens, the passion and hard work that Knights fans saw from Rompza on the basketball court over the years is something that can be expected from the 23-year old off the court as he begins his life outside of UCF.