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When will the 🅿️ain go away?

Well… here we are again. I believe my emotions have gone completely numb from what we’ve had to endure this season. The amount of times we have cut a game to insigne digits in the second half… even one or two possessions… I don’t think I’ve seen a team come this close so many times.

I want to let it be known… WE ARE ACCEPTING NO FUCKING BANDWAGONERS. IF YOU WEREN’T HERE TO SUFFER WITH US AT OUR LOWEST YOU ARE NOT WELCOME.

This uconn game is going to be filled with more heartbreak I’m sure.

I’m sure we’ll complete a nice 20 pt comeback in the last 5 minutes and miss a game tying free throw with 15 seconds left. Just enough to keep you coming back for more.

Honestly though, I think the basketball gods may have something for us. This team, although they love to not execute, has shown they can, many, many times.

I think this Big East tournament is going to surprise a lot of us… I think we say this very year. But c’mon, we are so close. If we hit free throws, have maybe half the horrible, unnecessary, eye gauging worthy turnovers… we might be able to win a few games!

Also let’s take a moment to say we played this close last night without Posh. We’ve got the talent but we really need to just put it all together. Same thing that’s been said all season of course.

We’re getting sold out by Uconn this weekend, it’ll be embarrassing, we’ll probably lose in with an airballed free throw, but hey…. There’s gotta be some positive at the end of tunnel, right? We can’t be losing all these games without getting anything in return, right?

Life of a St. John’s fan I suppose. I guess of turned into the stereotypical Johnnie. I’ll still die for this team.

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What’s Ahead

Last time you heard from me we were about to play UCONN. It’s basically taken me until now to mentally recover from that. Theres only so many times you can watch your team resurrect itself mid game only to come to a burning crash minutes, even seconds later! Story of a St. John’s fan I guess.

The path ahead is fairly clear for us though. Not easy, but what we have to do if these guys, … (I can’t believe I’m about to say this again) want to save their season. We have to take one from Nova, if we drop both we’re done, simple as that. We need to take our home game with Providence, both with Butler, both against Xavier, I think if we drop one we’re done, the other against Creighton and both against Marquette. Oh and we have to beat UCONN in what’s basically going to be a bigger home game than the one at Gampel. It usually happens as of late that we’re outnumbered by opposing fans in MSG but I think this may be on another level. UCONN fans have been itching to get back in the Garden ever since their begging attempts toxin the ACC went south and they came crawling back to the Big East with their tail between their legs. My hate for them is immeasurable, and that last game didn’t help.

So basically we have to win out. Maybe one loss to Nova. But that’s it.

Now for my coaching and player usage gripes.

Once again. What more does Omar Stanley have to do to get playing time? The kid is the first off the bench when someone comes out, he’s the biggest cheerleader we’ve got and it’s obvious to anyone in the building he’s giving his all every second he’s pout on the floor. PLAY THIS KID. He’s done nothing but impress. His size is lacking but at this point Iron Mike’s gotta roll with the results. He’s given other teams bigs the most trouble by far this year. WE were very close in the Providence game before he got yanked and he definitely gave Segon Hall bigs more trouble than anyone else that I saw.

Aaron Wheeler has impressed! This kid is finding his stroke on the floor and it’s looking great. Tareq Coburn as well came off the bench and hit two threes last game. If we want Julian to get back to shooting the clip he’s used to that is what needs to happen. Show the other teams we have more shooting threats beyond the arc than just him. If we space the floor and get him open the shots will start to fall for him again.

This isn’t really the second half of the season but I think it’s smart we all start to consider it that. We’re once again one loss away from needing the mythological Big East Tournament win to get into the big dance.

The future is not bright but there are still possibilities. If this team really wants to impress and show off the talents we were promised before the season (or just get some fucking rebounds) they could turn this ship around.

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We’re Close… Again.

Well the season certainly hasn’t gotten off to the start that we all wanted, that much I think we can all agree on.

The Indiana game was a tough one, if Mathis doesn’t get that flagrant AND get kicked, I think we come out of Bloomington with a win. Asking for a huge upset win against Kansas is just too much to ask for as a fan, I mean it’s Kansas basketball coming off an upset loss… no one in their right mind wants to face that.

Honestly we had played just about how we were expected to until the Pitt game. And yes, you can put the blame on COVID and Julian as it literally happened right before the game and gave us no time to prepare… but a team that wants to go far needs to be able to beat a HORRIBLE team like Pitt. Someone else NEEDS to step up when Julian is absent or is being clamped like we saw this Saturday in Providence.

We need a reliable second scorer from outside. Posh and Dylan have done their best so far, Dylan putting up career highs in points his last two games and Posh has been holding it down as always. Aaron Wheeler came out of his shell a bit in Providence this weekend hitting 3 corner 3’s. But there’s more capable guys who need to show up. Stef Smith, known for his 3 point shooting ability has got to take more shots and make the defense expand in a game like Saturday’s when Providence is all over Julian the entire game. Credit to the Friars they’re much more talented than anyone thought coming into the season but that was not our best effort by any means. Missing Pinzon also hurt us this weekend, we haven’t seen much of him but he’s looked promising with good defense and a smooth shot.

There was so much promise coming into the season that we had finally added the size that we needed. We stole the big man from Fordham and added four near seven footers, not including Drissa Traore who chose to redshirt. Joel Soriano has not looked like what we were promised from Fordham to say the least. He has got to come into his own, finishing easy putbacks and boxing out on defense. He had a tough game in Providence with some shit calls from the refs giving him four falls 30 seconds into the second half. Either way though we need to see him put the rocky start behind him and be the backbone of our team down low and be the workhorse we saw him as at Fordham. Omar Stanley played very well from what I saw in the PC game early in the second half when Joel came out and did a good job holding off Nate Watson down low, I thought he should have gotten more minutes based on the way the rest of the team was defending him. Nyiwe also only saw 3 minutes in that game which is another problem I saw. With Wheeler and Soriano getting into foul trouble you would think it would make sense to rotate our bigs instead of having them play with foul trouble for most of the second half.

The things I saw Saturday and basically go for the whole season are:

  • Our big men need to start acting like they’re the 6’10 monsters they really are and not rely on Julian, Posh and Dylan’s help. If we can get them out in transition early and running that’s when and how our team is going to thrive.
  • We need someone other than Julian to hit threes. It was obvious Saturday the only player they were worried about guarding from three was Julian and if we can’t space the floor even a little more for him it’s going to be a long season
  • My third improvement is one we’ve been going over incessantly for the last few years fo the Johnnies… hit your free throws. Way too many points being left at the line again. 8/17 is a terrible clip and when the final score is 83-73… well you do the math. It’s a lot different game.
  • My final critique is one that I think really summarizes the teams struggles thus far into the season. Our last two games we are 39-81 within 5 feet… unacceptable. We’re missing the gimmes! It’s honestly a promising stat to me because that’s something hard to do. A fluke I hope.

This team is far from done. These are simple fixes that really just come with time and to panic like I may or may not have just did is silly. We’ve beaten the teams we should have and have lost to very talented teams. Two games into the Big East and we took a tough loss to the best defensive team in the league in our star player’s worst game in a long time. We can do this and what better time to turn things around than giving the Huskies another rude welcome back to the Big East.

Now it’s time for our boys to go up to farm country and trample those stupid fucking mutts.

Go Johnnies.

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How we are Going to Beat the Kansas Jayhawks

Get Hot, Stay Hot

In my opinion, the biggest key to beating a national powerhouse like Kansas is getting out to a hot start and showing that you belong from the start. They need to put Kansas on their heels from the opening tip and never let them get comfortable.

Since the game versus St. Peter’s on November 13th, we haven’t played a strong first half of basketball. Against teams like NJIT and St. Francis Brooklyn, a slow start in the first half is fairly easy to overcome, but against Kansas a slow start could cost us the game. Take the Indiana game for example; we played an outstanding second half of basketball, socring 47 points and outscoring Indiana by 10. Unfortunately such a slow start in the first half put us down 12 at the break, and we just fell short of overcoming it. Tonight we need to get hot and stay hot.

Defensive Pressure

As I said above, we can never let Kansas feel comfortable on the court tonight. This is a HOME GAME for us, let’s treat it like one. Our identity is defense, tonight we need to give Kansas hell for 40 minutes. Kansas has some really talented guards, but they have not yet faced on ball defenders as talented as Posh Alexander or Montez Mathis. St. John’s ranks 18th in the country in turnover rate, they need to continue to play at that type of level tonight in order to secure the win. Ochai Agbaji is the leading scorer for Kansas, tallying 22.5 PPG. He is extremely efficient from beyond the arc, as he shoots 41.7% from deep. He needs to be priority number one from a defensive standpoint. And of course, the defense will feed off the energy from the crowd.

Get LOUD

Let’s Get Loud, Let’s Get Loud
Turn the music up, let’s do it
C’mon people Let’s Get Loud
Let’s Get Loud
Turn the music up to hear that sound

Need I say more. Everyone knows how much of an affect home court advantage can have on a college basketball team. It is our moral responsibility as fans of St. John’s basketball, to help give our team the edge in anyway possible tonight. It may mean yelling at a Kansas player that they have a hot sister/mom, screaming at the ref when he blows a call, or starting a chant to get the arena going. We have over 1,000 students going to the game tonight. That’s a lot of Johnnies in one place. Let’s make sure UBS is rocking.

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Back in the New York Groove

“I’m BACK, back in the New York groove….back, back in the New York groove.”

Mike Anderson and the St. John’s Mens Basketball team are off to a hot start to the 2021-2022 season. There is so much to be excited about with this team, let’s dive into a few of my key takeaways from the first two games of the season.

Key Takeaways

Tareq Coburn Doesn’t Miss

Tareq Coburn has turned himself into a St. John’s fan favorite very quickly. There is something about the way the ball looks coming out of his hand when he shoots the three, that just looks perfect. He has a super effortless three-point stroke and does his scoring extremely efficiently. Against Mississippi Valley State, Coburn shot 3-5 from beyond the arc and 5-8 from the field, tallying 13 total points. Following that performance, Coburn shot 3-5 from deep, 5-7 from the field, and 4-5 from the free throw line, in a 17-point performance against St. Peter’s.

Tareq Coburn’s 1,000th career point.

Landing Coburn in the transfer portal was an absolute steal for Mike Anderson. He is seemingly going to be the X-factor for this very talented St. John’s team.

Get Out of my Paint

For anyone who has watched St. John’s basketball in recent years, you are well aware of the struggles that we have had with getting a solid big man to hold down the paint. Well, ladies and gentlemen we have our guy. Introducing, Joel Soriano.

Joel Soriano vicious dunk, assisted by Posh Alexander.

Standing in at 6-foot-11 and 260 pounds, Soriano represents the first true “Big East level” big man that St. John’s has had in many years. Perhaps what stands out the most about Soriano is his ability to consistently knock down free throws. Past St. John’s big men have struggled immensely to gain consistency from the line, however Soriano looks to be very comfortable. In the home opener, he went 7-8 from the free throw line. Consistent free throw shooting from our big men is going to be vital against tough opponents. It is also worth mentioning that through the first two games of the year, Soriano has averaged 9 rebounds and 3 blocked shots per game. Joel Soriano is primed for a very special junior season with the Red Storm, and fans are thrilled to have him on our side.

Back and Better Than Ever

Whether your watching the game live in the arena, on a television, or even if you are just checking the box score, your eyes are drawn to two players. Posh Alexander and Julian Champagnie. These two guys were incredible last season, and they look even better now.

St. John's weekend outlook: looking to improve pride, team cohesion -  Rumble In The Garden

Posh Alexander stuffed the stat-sheet against Mississippi Valley State and St. Peter’s.

PTSREBASTSTL
Mississippi Valley State18173
St. Peter’s12291

His unselfishness with the basketball and tenacious defense is the motor that keeps this team rolling. He plays the game at 100 MPH for the entire 40 minutes and his passion rubs off onto others around him. After a freshman campaign that saw him achieve the Big East Freshman of the Year award and Big East Defensive Player of the Year award, the next step in his progression as a player was clearly to develop a consistent three-point shot. And so far, it looks like he has.

Posh shot 4-5 from beyond the arc against Mississippi Valley State, and followed up that performance by going 2-4 on three-point shots against St. Peter’s. If he can keep up this type of pace, he is going to be even more of a nightmare for opposing teams.

Lastly, you can simply never talk about/write an article about St. John’s and not mention Julian Champagnie. The best way I can describe him is as “Mr. Consistent”. A year ago, Julian was the Big East scoring champ and so far this season it seems like he is coming for that honor yet again.

Champagnie is the centerpiece to an extremely special St. John’s team. He tallied 20 points in the opener and 22 points vs. St. Peter’s last night. Every team needs “the guy” offensively and he is THAT GUY for the Red Storm.

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Jalen Rosemond Interview

Allow me to introduce you to Jalen Rosemond, your favorite walk-ons favorite walk-on.

Journey to D1

Jalen Rosemond had no offers coming out of high school. Local division three schools like Suny Oneonta, Suny Cortland, John Jay, and Brockport expressed interest in the 6-foot-8 forward, but Jalen wasn’t interested in playing division three. He said, “I wanted to go somewhere that I started at the bottom of the ladder so I could expose myself to the best competition, most strict coaches, and tough practices that would develop me into the best version of myself”. Clearly, Rosemond is an extremely motivated individual who consistently pushes his limits athletically. He went on to say, “I wanted to play for a D2 or D1 where I had to fight for a tick of playing time everyday at practice”, he recognizes that this type of competition on a daily basis is what will maximize his growth as a basketball player in the long run.

Unfortunately, the St. John’s Men’s Basketball team did not pick him up right away.

In Jalen’s freshmen year he was a practice player for the women’s basketball team, while playing on the men’s club team at the same time. Although this was certainly not the end goal, it proved to play an important role in his basketball journey at St. John’s. Being a practice player for the women’s team helped propel his growth on the court, “I love the game, I love playing and watching and I wanted to develop a better IQ for college basketball. Being on the women’s practice team that entire year in the division 1 environment helped me learn and sharpen some fundamentals”.

In case you didn’t know, Jalen has got bounce out of the gym.

Fast forward to his sophomore year, Jalen shows up to tryouts for the men’s team. Coaches already were familiar with him because of his time spent with the women’s team, and they knew that he wanted to be a part of the men’s team. He took care of business at tryouts and throughout his sophomore year he was used as a practice player for the men’s team. He takes pride in competing with the scholarship players and pushing them everyday.

In his junior season (2020-2021), Coach Anderson promoted Rosemond to a walk-on. All of the hard work paid off. Unfortunately, Jalen suffered an injury in early November of 2020 which forced him to miss his Junior season. He will be fully recovered for his Senior year and says, “I can’t wait to see the fans back in Carnesecca for Tip-Off this year”.

Top Attributes on the Court

What’s the number one thing Jalen brings to a basketball team? He says it’s “that I’m going to compete and make my teammates better”. He values the importance of stepping in for charges, being relentless on the board, and diving on loose balls…in ANY DRILL or scrimmage. Rosemond works his tail off daily and in doing so, makes his teammates work a little bit harder.

Jalen Rosemond in the weightroom.

Inside a St. John’s Practice

I asked Rosemond who the most difficult person to guard was in his last couple of years with the team. He acknowledged that it was a tough question, but ultimately said “either Mustapha or Champagnie”. Which is really a surprise to no one at all, I wouldn’t want to be on the defensive side against either of them in a 1v1.

Favorite Spot to Eat on Campus

Jalen’s favorite food on campus is “hibachi from Monty’s, not the law school, at Montys”. Of course this was closed this past year due to COVID, as was his second favorite food option, the Campus Diner.

What’s Next?

Jalen says that he is super excited to see how far this team can go. He said, “I think we have some great new pieces to the team and seeing them go at it in pickup you get excited about what we can do when the season starts. I think you will see us standing come late March”. Music to St. John’s fans ears. The 2021-2022 season cannot come soon enough.

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Knicks-Hawks Game 2 Preview

Julius Randle and the Knicks try to hold off Walmart Steph Curry and the Hawks in what is anticipated to be a chippy and impassioned matchup in the Garden tonight.

The Knicks fell short in game 1 as Trae Young sunk a floater with 0.9 seconds left on the clock to put the Hawks up 107-105. Young proceeded to go after the vocal MSG crowd after that shushing them with his finger to his lips saying “IT GOT REAL QUIET IN HERE” nice Trae. Real nice. You are the human embodiment of a lollipop dropped on the carpet. Real bold move of him to try and silence the MSG faithful after only game 1. I really expect things to get gruesome tonight. New York fans haven’t been allowed into arenas for months and you just know they’re chomping at the bit to verbally abuse someone, and that’s just on a normal night! Now coming into Game 2 down a game after being chirped by this prick and having him question their impact I expect nothing less for Knicks fans to come out in full on attack mode. We all heard it on the TV Sunday afternoon, MSG was ROCKING. The people were amped there’s no question about it and that was before Young decided to open his trap.

This game is going to be must watch. The build up and back and forth is proof that the sports world and New York sports are going back to normal.

Officials are saying The Mayor of New York, Bill de Blasio, has for the first time in his term decided to start a project on time! The Mental Warfare and public mockery of Trae Young! Today he put out a statement “This is very serious, want to get this message to Trae Young on behalf of the people for New York City and anybody that cares about playing basketball the right way: Stop hunting for fouls, Trae,” de Blasio said. This might be the best thing he’s done since taking office. Mr. Mayor does have a point here however, Young, as he always does was playing absurdly soft, looking for fouls at the slightest bit of contact just so he could get to the free throw line.

Derrick Rose also wanted to chime in prior to Game 2 tonight saying “That’s basketball. The league got so soft, That’s basketball. He came in, he played a great game. And the crowd is supposed to do that. It’s supposed to be that way. And it’s supposed to amp up and bring the atmosphere to where it is right now. That’s what I’m used to. I’ve been in series where drinks were thrown at a parent, people’s moms. You on the court and you see a beer splashed on your (family) — that’s the environment I’m used to. … Now it’s a little different. That’s all part of the game. When you got both sides fighting and you’ve worked your butt off all year. Summer time when nobody is watching you’re at the gym, working on your game and seeing the results of it. Not only in the regular season but in the playoffs. And you want to talk s–t, talk s–t. But the next game it’s going to be tougher. The environment is going to create a great atmosphere for great basketball.”

If that doesn’t get you ready to run through a wall as a Knicks fan I don’t know what will. Rose just big leagued the fuck out of Trae Young saying if he’s gonna talk shit he better back it up. I’d do terrible things to watch D Rose clampYoung in MSG tonight.

If the Knicks want to get back to their ways they’re gonna have to rely on what got them there. Julius Randle needs to prove himself tonight and show up the same way he did all year unlike game 1. They also have to rely on their shooters like Alec Burks. The key however as we all know is to stop Trae Young. I really expect it to happen. They need to start Derrick Rose he’s a veteran with plenty of playoff experience and if he’s gonna tell Trae Young to back it up he better do it himself too. The fans are going to be ruthless again and show everyone why they’re so feared. This is the underdog, reject, misfit toy Knicks team we’ve all learned to come behind this season and for someone to not even go after the team but their fans, probably the most valuable thing the Knicks franchise has to offer is flat out unacceptable. Tonight we start the demise of Trae Young.

Final predictions: Knicks 114 Hawks 103

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Drissa Traore Interview

Who is Drissa Traore?

Drissa Traore is a 6-foot-8 forward from LUHI. He has the perfect build, play style, and passion for defense for Mike Anderson’s up tempo style. He is a fierce competitor who is ready to challenge himself at the next level. Traore has played with and against some of the best high school talent in the country, which has prepared him tremendously for Big East basketball. When discussing his high school experience he said that playing against teams like Sierra Canyon, The Patrick School, etc. has “given me confidence to show that I can compete with those high level players.

Full Interview

Home Sweet Home

Believe it or not Drissa originally didn’t want to go to school in New York. However he loves Mike Anderson’s play style. He ultimately chose St. John’s to further his academic and athletic career because of the success he saw Mike Anderson have in his first year at the helm and because the coaching staff made him feel wanted. Traore is excited to be in the Red and White this fall, “For me, watching them (on TV) is so exciting because I’m going to be there next year”.

He personally knows fellow New Yorker’s such as Dylan Addae-Wusu, Posh Alexander, and Julian Champagnie. He says how these guys “Play for New York” and this was intriguing to him. He has actually played with Dylan Addae-Wusu when they were younger. The two will look to reestablish that chemistry for the 2021-2022 season.

What Does he Bring to a Basketball Team?

Energy.

Traore said that, “What I’m going to bring is energy. Energy, rebounding, defense, talking”. He truly seems like a perfect fit for Mike Anderson’s 40-minutes of hell style of play and I think that Drissa Traore will prove to be a real hidden gem in this recruiting class.

Off the Court

Hobbies: Collecting Shoes

Favorite NBA Player: KD or LeBron (but he says he has many favorites so I asked him for his All time starting 5 instead)

Dream Job: Having his own business or being a teacher/coach.

All Time Starting 5:

PG: Steve Nash

SG: Kobe Bryant

SF: Michael Jordan

PF: LeBron James

C: Hakeem Olajuwon

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Cobblestones and SJU Barstool: The Duo You Never Knew You Needed Until Now

Welcome to the blog, Cobblestones. We have a feeling you guys might be seeing more of them here in the future, so get excited. The collab is finally here. The Biergarten is one of the more popular destinations for college students at St. John’s, and tomorrow a new chapter begins with us. This Thursday, and moving forward, St. John’s students can come out to the Biergarten for great deals on food and drinks at an exciting venue.

Tomorrow night from 8-11 it all begins. Oh, and before I forget, come early. The line might be a little long and you definitely do not want to miss out on the new Johnnie Stool shot (I promise it’s good).

Image

$5 Johnnie shots and pretzels, as well as $15 pitchers kick off the event. On top of that, $5 Biergarten light lagers and $10 boots are other fantastic options for you and your friends.

It’s been a long time coming, but we are super excited to share this night and other Thursday’s each month with you guys. Remember to stay Covid-19 safe and wear a mask. We hope to see you tomorrow with shots in your hand, but if you are more of a boot or pitcher person we’re good with that too.

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Andrés Pinzón Interview

St. John’s fans are going to be seeing many new faces on the men’s basketball team next season. Andrés Pinzón is one of the team’s most highly touted recruits for next season. Pinzón is originally from Puerto Rico, but has most recently played his High School Basketball at LUHI. He agreed to join me for an interview via zoom where we discussed his High School/FIBA basketball experiences, why he chose St. John’s, what fans can expect from him, and some of his off the court interests.

Excuse my lack of video editing experience.

High School Career

LUHI is a national basketball powerhouse year in and year out. Of course, most fans tend to focus on the incredible highlights from LUHI games against schools like Sierra Canyon and the Patrick School. However, aside from the games, Pinzón explained how “every day in practice was a lot of competition”. He says that the competition he saw in practice against guys like Andre Curbelo, Zed Key, and Jalen Celestine prepared him well to succeed at the next level. He still keeps in touch with those guys, specifically Andre Curbelo (Illinois University Point Guard) as they both have connections with the Puerto Rico National team.

Playing on the Puerto Rico national team and his experiences in FIBA is certainly things that make Pinzón unique in comparison to other St. John’s recruits. He absolutely stuffed the stat sheet throughout the U17 FIBA tournament in 2019; his best outing was against the Dominican Republic when he scored 28 points. He spoke about his FIBA experience, saying that “the game is slower so you have to read a lot of defenses so it helped me when I play in the United States because the game is way faster”. This sort of experience with reading defense is so valuable to a young college player, especially in the Big East.

A Look Into The Future

Why did Andrés Pinzón want to come to St. John’s? Well the answer is really quite simple. He wanted to stay in New York. When I asked him why St. John’s over schools such as Florida or New Mexico, he said that he “didn’t want to move to another state”. He went on to acknowledge Assistant Coach Van Macon as a crucial piece in his recruiting process. He and Coach Van Macon made a connection that played a role in getting Pinzón to commit to St. John’s.

When I asked Andrés what the best thing he brings to a basketball team is he told me that it was the ability to make others better. He says, “I can create for me, for my teammates…I like to share the ball and keep everybody involved”.

Life Outside of Basketball

To complete the interview we talked about some of the things he likes to do when he’s not playing basketball.

Hobbies: Going to the studio to hangout with his friends who rap (Andrés does not rap himself)

Favorite Rap Artist: Anuel & Bad Bunny

Dream Job that’s not playing basketball: Astronaut