Ryan Arcidiacono sits in his Chicago apartment and waits for news about the NBA resuming play. Other than watching a replay of Villanova’s 2016 national championship victory over North Carolina a couple of weeks ago and Tweeting about the game with his former teammates, there hasn’t been much in the way of pleasant distractions.
“How many NBA players have a court in their house or access to a court, a private court that no one else has access to?” Arcidiacono, the Chicago Bulls guard from Langhorne, said. “I know I haven’t touched a basketball in like a month. All the parks are shut down.
“I don’t know what everyone else is doing, but there’s only so much you can do in an apartment building. Our apartment is like 1,200 square feet. We have a rooftop. I live with my girlfriend and we’ve had makeshift workouts in the living area. We do some Peloton to get a sweat in. But it gets repetitive and there’s only so much you can really do.”
The NBA suspended play on March 11 after Utah’s Rudy Gobert was revealed to have tested positive for COVID-19. When he heard the news, Arcidiacono was in Orlando with his teammates awaiting a game the next night against the Magic.
As for what happens when basketball is played again, he has a guess.
“My guess is that we’ll be playing in the end of June-July-August area, but I don’t know how that affects everything else, like draft, free agency, next season,” he said. “Clearly if and when we come back, I don’t think there’s going to be fans in the stands.
“I think they might try to condense the games to make it feel like a better atmosphere, maybe in a practice facility or something and still have the jersey but just try to keep it as condensed as possible.”
Arcidiacono said he has no problem playing in an empty arena or gym, being that he competed in G League games during his first two professional seasons “where there’s not many fans if at all."
“It’s better when it’s a smaller environment to make it feel louder, more energy in the atmosphere,” he said “But it’ll be interesting to see how it even plays out, if they just want to go right into the playoffs. There’s going to be a period where teams and players need to get back into game shape.”
Arcidiacono is in his second full season with the Bulls, averaging 4.5 points and 1.7 assists in 58 games. The year before, he played in 81 games with 32 starts, averaged 6.7 points and 3.3 assists with a 4.27 assist-to-turnover ratio, and earned a new three-year contract last summer worth a reported $9 million.
An appreciative Arcidiacono reached out recently to the Chicago community. In honor of his mother, Patti, a registered nurse in the neonatal intensive care unit at St. Mary’s Hospital in Langhorne, he has donated meals to doctors, nurses and health-care workers at the Lawndale Christian Health Center. He also has provided meals to children at the Suder Montessori magnet elementary school near the United Center.
“I have the utmost respect for my mom and for all the doctors and nurses in what they’re doing in trying to help fight this pandemic going on,” he said. “We see how tirelessly they’re working. So I just figured I would donate some meals to brighten up their days, kind of play my part as a professional athlete in giving back and just know they’re appreciated from my end.”
Arcidiacono said he was moved reading about young children who are not being fed meals provided by schools that are now closed. He said the Bulls have a relationship with the Suder school.
“Trust me, I’m so grateful for the job that I have and the money I do make,” he said, “but it’s my right as a leader both on and off the court. I try to be someone that kids can look up to, and hopefully if they get into my position, they’d do the same thing. I think we’re all in this together.”
Arcidiacono, who turned 26 last month, scored 1,604 points in his Villanova career, but it was his 535th and final assist in a Wildcats uniform that led to Kris Jenkins’ historic three-pointer for a 77-74 victory over the Tar Heels for the national championship.