Terrell said 10, and that 10 would be

Cesare Milanti
12 min readApr 23, 2022

A journey in the career of Terrell McIntyre, holder of an unbeatable record to say the least.

A surname and a number to identify the champion (Ciamillo-Castoria)

That game was kinda unusual for us, because we played Virtus but we went there right before the game, so we didn’t stay the night in Bologna, cause it was twenty minutes away from Reggio Emilia. When we arrived there was some kind of kids game before ours, so we just sat in the stands. It was such an unusual circumustance for us preparing for the game. We didn’t practice before, we didn’t shoot; we only went to the game and warmed up for it, getting ready to play. But I felt good all day”. Terrell McIntyre is sitting on the stands of the Bianconeri fans, and with him you have to imagine the face of a good guy who turned into dynamite on the court such as Ricky Minard, mister triple double Joey Beard - last Italian to register two of the, before the current dizzying season of Andrea Cinciarini - and the 211 cm of Angelo Gigli.

Not in the strictest sense for the term “derby”, but it can be considered a sort of it. The two teams from Bologna have already faced each other both at PalaDozza (93-81 for F) and at the Unipol Arena (84-86 and 2/2 for F), and Reggio Emilia has already concluded the seasonal meetings with Fortitudo - a victory each, with the 97-96 Bolognese of a few weeks before it left the Biancorossi with some gray hair more. So, on 22 April 2006, the last Emilian confrontation of the season takes place.

The boys’ game ends, so the Bipop Carire trained by Fabrizio Frates can go to the locker room to change. They took to the court (“I went on the court, I relaxed, I enjoyed the atmosphere of the arena and I started to shoot alone”, he told Stefano Benzoni of Superbasket in an interview in 2011) and they started the preparations for the big dance, one of the last of the season. The number 20 came from a good period of form: ten consecutive double-digit matches, with important numbers against Fortitudo (34 points and 7/11 from the arc), Treviso (26 points) and Varese (33 points and 6/10 from the perimeter). I mean, you know him. But not enough.

In the championship of the great coaches of the past and those to come (Repesa, Blatt, Recalcati, Pesic and Djordjevic, but also a Walter De Raffaele at first experiences), in a season where Americans as Lynn Greer, David Bluthenthal, Joe Crispin, Damon Williams, Devonte Holland and Marcus Goree leave the mark, among others, the compatriot from the promotion in the top division with Capo d’Orlando begins to get noticed. Terrell McIntyre leaves his opponents with a headache like bread crumbs so as not to lose his way home, even if on that day the journey had lasted very little.

Similar to the one that brought him from Fayetteville to Clemson for the adventure with stars and stripes in college, but certainly in contrast with the ocean crossing that leads him to a round trip to Europe, France first and Germany then, between the two centuries: “My team in Germany (the Braunschweig, where he goes close to averaging 20 points per game, in which it had arrived after a year with Gravelines, ed), during my second season in Europe, went bankrupt. I was young, 22 years old, and I was homesick: I had never been away from my friends and family. I had five offers when the team went bankrupt: I was playing well in Germany, averaging around 18 or 19 points per game, but I was homesick. I decided to go back home and then eventually figure out what to do in the summer and the D-League came by. It was close to my hometown and I deep down knew I wanted to get the NBA another shot, so I thought that was the best avenue to do it at the time. I ended up spending two years there: I was pretty close to the big goal, but as we know it didn’t happen the way we wanted to. During the second year in the D-League, I pretty much knew that if I didn’t get an NBA call-up I would just go playing in the Summer League, so that european teams can see me to get back there”. And, of course, he went back.

The two years at the Fayeteville Patriots brought back to the minds of the Americans what Boogie was able to do in Clemson, where he now returned as a Player Development Coach and explain it again. Today, the Terrell McIntyre sitting on the bench instead of on the court, has all the ingredients for the perfect recipe for the next guys ready to dominate: “I always wanted to stay in basketball world after my retirement and one thing that helps me in this role, that kinda fits me perfectly, is that I’ve always been keen on the development side of the game. I worked really hard in the summer to make sure my skills were great, I gave up some things off the court and made sure that everything was in order. I was shooting basically a thousand shoots per day during summer, cause I knew the pick&roll was really a big part of my game and it was starting to be a big part of offense in Europe. That’s kinda what I do now in this role as Player Development Coach in Clemson: it’s not just basketball, it’s everything with helping these young men grow up into being men and getting to understand what is like going from a college to the professional world. And in this age, from 18 to 22 years old, initially when they first get here you have to help them grow until they become a man and they develop as a person. It goes over basketball”.

A legend like Terrell McIntyre deserves to be considered such

It’s there in Clemson that he became who he is, with four years in which he became the Tigers’ second all-time scorer, taking notes on what would be the most challenging exam of his career: “I remember playing every team in college was tough, everyone is great in the ACC: it really prepared me for when I got the opportunity to play in the Euroleague. Every team there is tough and I was already used to that in the US. It was a matter of just getting the opportunity. I wasn’t afraid of any moments, teams or players. I was prepared for it because of what I went through in college”. The toughest exam, which he will pass but without the praise of the title, is not the NBA; and to get there, Terrell McIntyre starts from below in the Old Continent, entering through the secondary door.

There are two consecutive years in A2, but if with Ferrara it was a calm setting, like a landing after a very few turbulence in flight, the second of the two experiences starts with unconventional hopes. If you take Americans like Brian Oliver, the late Rolando Howell, Ryan Hoover and Terrell McIntyre, placing them in a Sicilian village of just over ten thousand souls, what many would expect is the incipit of a joke that tears more than a smile. Instead, that Capo d’Orlando opens its wings towards the continent and with a record of 27-3 crowns the Serie A dream.

Terrell finished with 18.7 points, 4.7 assists and 3.3 rebounds per game, one of the most incredible years of his career. If not the most incredible: “What people don’t know is that I had first division offers after Ferrara from different countries, but I decided to come back to the second division. I thought we could win with the team that we had and it was put together. That was a big goal of mine, in any teams in which I played: I wanted to win, actually win. I didn’t want to just go and trying to make money and just saying “I’m playing”. I wanted to win, cause I enjoyed winning: that’s the reason I play at a professional level. I decided to go back to A2 and we had a great year, one of the best I had in Europe. Playing was so fun and I think it was the first team that I played on that had so many good players: Ryan Hoover, Brian Oliver, Rolando Howell, Brian Montonati. And we had the guys coming off the bench: Marco (Caprari, ed) could really shoot the basketball. Any five of those guys could take over any games and that was really unique and different from what I was used to. We had a great year that year, we only lost three games, with a ridicoulous record and we took Capo d’Orlando to the first division. Actually, Brian Oliver works with the ACC Network here so I see him a few times a year when he does our games, so I saw him a month ago. We talked about our time in Capo d’Orlando. My career took off from there”.

Terrell is sitting in the stands of the Unipol Arena. Who knows what he’s thinking. Who knows what’s going on in his head when he goes out on the field, he shoots two shots, and it’s game time. Kris Lang and Benjamin Ortner are out. The first ball is controlled by McIntyre. I wonder if he knows that at the end of the game his name would have entered the history of the championship. Because one after the other, the first and the second coming out of the screens, the third after a great ball movement, the fourth and the fifth off the dribble as a great champion, the threes go in. And they don’t stop. Before the half-time break, it comes the sixth in stepback and the seventh just before the shot clock ended. He ends his first half with 23 points, 7/7 from the arc and 127.7% of true shooting percentage.

The eighth came out of the screens again, after not attempting a three for fourteen minutes straight and equaling the record of 8/8 from three points so far in the hands of Oscar Torres and David Rivers. The ninth in the fastbreak and the tenth with an incredible basket. In the meanwhile, you can also enjoy a gold medal slalom downhill and admire the epilogue: 41 points with glacial free throws to sign that are worth the victory, as well as an anthological 105.8% of true shooting percentage.

One of Terrell McIntyre’s threes on the evening of 10/10 (Ciamillo-Castoria)

I ask him a simple question, the answer is already in his eyes: “Terrell, is this the game you always talk about to your friends?”. You decide whether to take a yes or a yes from what he tells me: “That is the game that everybody remembers, and rightfully so. At the time I didn’t realize the magnitude of what just happened. 10/10… now that I’m older I’m able to look back on it: that’s really really hard to do (he laughs, ed)! After I made 3 or 4 threes, I knew that I was feeling really good that night. I didn’t realize that I had made 10/10. I made a shot close to the half court after the buzzer went off and I got a foul on the three-pointer, that I missed. So it didn’t register that I had missed that shot. And it didn’t register to me until after the end, because of those circumstances that happened throughtout the game, it was a really tough and close one, we managed to win by only a few points with free throws at the end. I didn’t have time to really think of it. One of the things I’m probably most proud of that game is that I didn’t force anything: my teammates were looking for me and everything came within the offense. It wasn’t like I was out there seeking and trying to break a record I didn’t even know existed at the time. It just happened organically and naturally, that’s the best feeling about it. It was one of those days in which I felt like I couldn’t miss. I could kick the ball and it would have gone in. It’s amazing that after 16 years it’s still up there! 10/10 is something I’m definetely very proud of, when I talk about my career is always one of the highlights that I always talk about to this day. And I will continue to”.

That game puts him on the radar of several high-level teams in Europe, one of all Real Madrid, which tries to bring him to Spain. But he prefers to pass through Italy to get to the final exam, and there is only one team in Italy that can allow it: Mens Sana Siena. He arrives in a group that boasts names such as Rimantas Kaukenas, Benjamin Eze and Shaun Stonerook, with addition of the highest level of the caliber of Romain Sato and Joseph Forte. And then he will play with Nikos Zizis, Drake Diener, Ksystof Lavrinovic and many others. But the secret, for Terrell, has always been who put together the pieces of the puzzle: “I think one of the best things about those teams in Siena is that we had unbelievably great chemistry. We really enjoyed being around each other, we enjoyed hanging out with each other, playing with each other. It was really, truly, a team. Obviously the championships are great, but we had unbelievable practices: we had ten players with five who could start or the other five who could be starting. Our practices, everyday, were so competitive and it actually made the game easier because we kinda beat each other up and treated every practices as if they were games: we had a lot of scrimmages. Simone, Ale and Luca (Pianigiani, Magro e Banchi, ed) did a great job of organize practices where you could mix the players up. It didn’t matter if I played with Joseph Forte, Rimas Kaukenas or Marco Carraretto: it didn’t matter, because our chemistry was so good after they did such a great job mixing us up in practice”.

Terrell McIntyre and Rimantas Kaukenas: a memorable duo, with two discreet names in the background (Ciamillo-Castoria)

And if Magro defined Terrell McIntyre as “one of the recognized leaders and for that stature, for that physicality he could put he could be one of the best in Europe. The temperament and the desire to compete that he had made him make individual and team performances of the highest level”, his words of esteem for those three coaches do not end: “That coaching staff in Siena it’s definetely one of the best I’ve ever played for. They gave me the chance of being a leader of a team. I’ve been a leader on other teams, but specifically they gave me so much freedom: what do I do see out there, what plays can I run? They didn’t reject, they just let me kinda run the team and call the plays, trusting me. It was truly a 100% trust factor between me and the coaching staff: that’s what made it special”.

In order: 4 consecutive Scudetti, 2 Italian Cups, 3 Italian Super Cups and a third place in the Euroleague, after Terrell had placed 26 points with 5 assists in the semi-final lost against Maccabi Tel Aviv. And, individually: 2 MVP of the regular season and 3 MVP of the Scudetto Final in Serie A - no one has won so many since this award was introduced - 1 MVP in the Italian Super Cup and two consecutive years in the first team of Euroleague. Many victories and many successes, with some more special than others: “My first victory was my first ever winning championship. In Capo d’Orlando we didn’t play for the championship, we dominated the regular season. In Siena, we had to win three though playoff series. The first one for sure, and another reason the first one was so special it’s that we lost to Rome at home and we weren’t sure we would have won the championship. We got upseted and that was a really good series. The first one was so special, and the last one too: I kinda knew that would have been my last year in Siena”.

I like to imagine Terrell McIntyre in the stands of that building in Casalecchio di Reno, at the time known as PalaMaguti, thinking about what would be the future after his first years between Europe and D-League. Maybe a few smiles sketchy reflecting the early years of childhood, when he liked football and baseball so much that those ones worried basketball in its hierarchical scale of sports (he laughs telling me that “Because of my height and my stature, I was told it was the one I couldn’t do: that’s why I wanted to focus myself in basketball more”).

Surely, I can’t imagine him thinking that a few moments later he would come down on that parquet to engrave his name with the chisel in the marble of the Italian championship, as he would later do with dozens and dozens of other masterful performances, with Siena first and Virtus Bologna then, until the worsening of a left hip arthritis that would have forced him to stop. He who never stopped, who on the field was a crazy ball in the Serie A pinball. He was always ready to dribble, stop and shoot from three. One by one, counting to ten.

Every game matters for Terrell McIntyre (Ciamillo-Castoria)



Cesare Milanti

22 years old, 2 books, 1 Erasmus in Bilbao. Here some non-basketball related stuff (in italian) and the translations of some of my basketball articles.