Former App State guard begins pro career overseas


Hiatt Ellis

Former Mountaineer guard Michael Almonacy drives past a USC Upstate defender in his final collegiate game March 15, 2022.

Sam Vanolinda, Reporter

In his first game for CAB Madeira, former App State basketball guard Michael Almonacy led Clube Amigos do Basquete with 13 points, three rebounds and two assists in a 88-62 loss vs FC Porto, Sept. 24. Almonacy continues his season in his second game vs Ovarense Basquetebol Oct. 1.

Almonacy signed with professional team Clube Amigos do Basquete in the Portugal-Liga, the highest division in Portugal, July 27.

Almonacy, the 2021 Sun Belt Tournament MVP, averaged 11.4 points and three assists per game in 63 games for the Mountaineers; most notably his 32-point Sun Belt Tournament final performance against Georgia State, which sent App State to its first NCAA tournament since 2000.

“Michael Almonacy was a great player for us here at App State and will be a great player for Cab Madeira,” said App State basketball head coach Dustin Kerns. “He is the ultimate competitor and has a strong work ethic. Those things combined will help him have longevity as a professional player. We are thrilled for Michael that he got his start with such a great organization and country like Portugal.”

Almonacy joined the Mountaineers as a transfer from Southern New Hampshire in the 2020-2021 season. Prior to that, he appeared in 51 games over two seasons for Stony Brook. 

For App State, Almonacy was All-Sun Belt third team in 2020-21. In the aforementioned 2021 Sun Belt Tournament, he led the Mountaineers, averaging 21.8 points, 3.8 assists and 6.5 rebounds per game, scoring a tournament record 20 3-pointers. 

This booked the Mountaineers a trip to March Madness, in which the Black and Gold lost a close play-in game to Norfolk State.

“App helped me understand the life of a professional,” Almonacy said. “Playing against good guys every day, with a good schedule, a good coaching staff and scouts who prepared us to win games, has helped me over here.”

CAB Madeira are one-time Portuguese Cup winners and one-time Portuguese League Cup winners. The team was formed in 1979 and is the former home of Utah Jazz and Portland Trail Blazers player Nate Johnston. 

The team is based in Funchal, Madeira, Portugal, which is the capital city of the Madeira Islands, a region of Portugal off the Northern coast of Africa known for its tropical climate and wine.

Almonacy joins Jett Speelman, Matt Johnson, AJ Cheeseman and Gabe Sabean as North American players on the roster.

“It’s awesome having four Americans and one Canadian so I’m not the only American person, and the Portuguese guys have been teaching me how to live in Portugal. They’ve been great,” Almonacy said.

A Brentwood, New York native, Almonacy is a long way from home but excited for the next steps in his career.

“It feels good to get my foot in the door,” Almonacy said. “Getting a job in Europe is definitely dope, and being a professional athlete … it’s really just the beginning, the first step towards where I really want to be.”