Nate Sestina is preparing for professional basketball with professional sommeliers.
The former Bucknell and Kentucky basketball standout has taken his talents to wine country. Most spend their time vacationing in Napa Valley to sample some of the world’s best grapes. While I’m sure Sestina has dabbled a time or two, he’s primarily using the vineyard as a workout facility.
Sestina’s former Bucknell teammate, Matt O’Reilly, works for the winery. A secluded space with a basketball gym and a pool, O’Reilly asked his boss if Sestina could use the facility to train for the NBA Draft, and he happily obliged. We’ve heard that athletes have been forced to get creative to find facilities to use during the coronavirus pandemic. Sestina hit the lottery.
In a conversation with The Daily Item, the Pennsylvania native said he’s had a few different opportunities to play professionally overseas. He’s open to using the route down the road, but he not until he gives the NBA his best shot first.
“I’m really waiting it out,” Sestina said. “I’ve had a couple of good offers to play overseas, but the opportunity to get my foot in the door with an NBA team — or on a two-way contract with a G-League team — is more appealing to me. If you get even a two-way contract, you’re right there on the fringes of the NBA.”
When Sestina originally chose to become a grad transfer, his primary goal was to use the year to prepare for professional basketball. He believes one year in Lexington got him ready to take his talents to the next level.
“I was a chubby buzzcut kid from the middle of nowhere Pa.,” Sestina said. “I had no idea what it took. Four years of ups and downs at Bucknell is what prepared me for playing at Kentucky. Playing as a grad transfer at Kentucky prepared me physically and mentally for what’s next. It’s hard. You get a lot of stuff thrown at you at once.”
If playing basketball at Kentucky isn’t living the dream, it certainly looks like Sestina is living it now. I can think of worse ways to stay in shape than by running through the rolling vine-covered hills of Northern California.
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