By Reinaldo Bessa
Despite being born in New Jersey (NJ), Elliot Cadeau enjoys so much representing Sweden, his mother’s country. The point guard from Bergen Catholic (NY) played the 2019 Baltic Sea Basketball Cup where he showed why he is considered one of the top players of the 2004 generation in Europe. This past season, in America, he took a leap and earned a presence on every ranking, including the top-5 at Eurohopes 2004. In this interview, Cadeau talks about his experience in Europe and his expectations as a basketball player and a student athlete.
How did you start playing basketball?
When I was really young I played American Football but my mom thought it was too dangerous for me so she put me in a basketball league and I just stayed with it. My first AAU event was when I was in second grade so I started pretty young.
How do you describe yourself as a teammate?
As a teammate inside of the court I think I’m really unselfish, every big man I play with says that I am the best point guard they’ve played with because I share the ball with them a lot. I take that as a big compliment.
Do you have any role models?
I don’t really look up to any specific player as a role model. The only role model I have is my older brother, he is a D1 tennis player at Howard, because when he was my age he would workout for 6 or 7 hours straight so I just wanted to be in the gym as much as he was. He motivated me to get better everyday.
What are your aspirations for the future with the Swedish National Team?
My biggest goal is to play the Olympics with Sweden. If it gets to the point that I have to choose between the USA and Sweden, I would pick Sweden most likely because it would be more unique to play for my mom’s country.
Do you think that playing against all those top prospects in the US will give you un upgrade when you play with the National Team?
Yes, I think it will put me on another level. Some of the players on the Swedish team play against pros at a high level but I believe they don’t get a chance to play against Kentucky commits, Kansas commits, etc. regularly so I feel it will be a bit easier because of these experiences I have had already.
One of your biggest qualities is your defense and the way you approach it. Where do you got that from?
I got it from my middle school coach, he pushed me to play defense. It’s funny because back in the days, I didn’t score or do anything except defense and now that I got the offense, the passing and shooting, I like to stay with defense too.
How do you manage all the pressure that comes from being a high regarded prospect in the class of 2024?
It brings some pressure and I think about it when I’m off the court but when I get into the court I just play my game and have fun. Honestly, of course, it feels good to be recognized internationally but it didn’t change anything to who I am, it's just a number next to my name and that’s it.
How is your recruitment going?
My coach is talking to some colleges because they are not officially allowed to talk to me yet. I have some offers but right now I’m just waiting until I’m able to talk to them directly to make further considerations on my future.
What will you value the most when making your college decision?
It depends on where I will be as a senior, if I know I’m at a high level and I know I can get to the NBA I will pick a school that will allow me to take it to the next level and make me a pro. If I’m not on that level, I will want to go to a school with better academics that will allow me to focus on my studies too. But that will depend on my situation as a Senior, not now.
How do you describe your experience in the Peach Jam against older prospects?
It’s really rewarding because most of the guys in my class are playing against 14 or 15-year-old players and I’m out there playing against the best players in the country, like Team Final which is the number 1 team in the country. That experience of playing against the top high school players in the country was unique and different but I had the same approach as I have to every game because I knew a lot of the guys there and I had played them before.
You are playing High School basketball at Bergen Catholic (NJ) and AAU with NY Lightning. How did you start with them and what are your plans going forward?
I picked Bergen because they had very good academics and I liked their playstyle; they play really fast, the coach there is the best coach I have ever had. I really look forward to going there next season and for the rest of my high school career. It’s my school and, for me, it’s all about loyalty.
About NY Lighting, it all started in 8th grade when we went to the Made Hoops Tournament, they invited me to go with them and despite being in the B team we still wore their jerseys and everything so the connection was there. The coach liked me and asked me to stay and this season I got bumped up to the 17U team and I feel that’s the best place I could be placed in to grow as a player. Like Bergen, me and my mom are really loyal people, so unless anything goes really wrong we plan to stay with NY Lightning for the next four years too.