Former Queens College standout tries luck with Long Island Nets
by Bryan Fonseca
Sep 19, 2018 | 241 views | 0 0 comments | 7 7 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Opportunity. When you come from a Division Two program, they arrive infrequently. But as a young man fighting to make a career in the game, it’s all you want. Diego Maldonado was one of the many participants in this past weekend’s Long Island Nets open tryout. The tryout is designed to give a chance – at the cost of $175 – to players just like Maldonado searching for that golden ticket to the NBA. “I figured, how great of an opportunity it is to have an NBA G League team 20 or 30 minutes away from where I live,” the Valley Stream native told BQE Media on Monday, two days after the tryout. “It was a great opportunity, I’m thankful for it and we’ll see what happens.” Maldonado is a product of Queens College in Flushing, where he played basketball from 2013-2017 and was a three-year starter before graduating. As a senior, the 6-foot-4 guard averaged 13.3 points while shooting a very efficient 43.8 percent from three and 45.8 percent from the field. Maldonado’s already had a taste of the pros, having played for the San German Atleticos for Baloncesto Superior Nacional, the premier basketball league in Puerto Rico. Maldonado came off the bench for San German, where he played alongside former NBA 20-point scorer and eight-year veteran O.J. Mayo. Through 35 games, San German finished 14-21, but Maldonado described his rookie campaign as a phenomenal learning experience. “My teammates were all very good basketball players,” Maldonado insisted. “Everyone at least had one major skill that I can learn from. The veterans had multiple skills. The league was very competitive, a lot of former NBA guys.” In particular, Maldonado sought out advice from Mayo, the most accomplished of the Atleticos, whom he described as extremely wise and accommodating. “That was the biggest thing that really helped me,” Maldonado said. “I got a little close with him here and there, worked out with him every chance I could, and picked his brain often. From 2008-2016, Mayo played in 573 regular season and playoff games for the Memphis Grizzles, Dallas Mavericks and Milwaukee Bucks. As a rookie, he averaged 18.5 points per game en route to All-Rookie First Team honors. “We talked about everything he learned in the NBA from all these different players and coaches like Jason Kidd and Rick Carlisle,” added Maldonado. “He talked about details, offensive schemes, defensive schemes, what the scouting reports are like, what the coaches looked for with different players. “I learned more about basketball down in Puerto Rico than I did my whole life,” he said. “Everything that came out his mouth, if you weren’t listening, you’re an idiot.” The BSN season runs from May through August, and over time Maldonado played with other well-versed basketball standouts who shared the floor representing San German. Raphiael Putney is a former G League All-Star who’s been a pro since 2014, and former 2010 MAAC Player of the Year Ryan Franklin was a 2012 BNS Finals MVP and part of three-time NCAA Tournament bound Siena from 2008-2010. The Queens College sharpshooter was also under the tutelage of Pedro Carrillo, a 10-year assistant coach in the Euro League, who was on the San German staff under head coach Ferdie Toro. “His basketball intelligence is through the roof, and his perspective is just very different,” said Maldonado of Carrillo. “A lot of ball movement, passing the ball from side-to-side before you even think about taking a shot, being able to pass with either hand.” All of which prepared him for this past Saturday on Long Island, where players were evaluated through a number of drills, such as full-court scrimmages, pick-and-roll situations, weak-side defense, defensive communication, spacing, versatility on both ends, and more. “I made sure to sign up early to get an opportunity to use the pro experience I gained in Puerto Rico to try to show what I could do on the basketball court,” said Maldonado. The Nets have made a considerable effort to utilize the G League, more so than the common NBA team, with the goal of finding additional talent to cultivate. Spencer Dinwiddie, one of the league’s most improved players of 2017-18, was initially a G League signing in December of 2016, for example. JJ Moore is also the Nets most-noted product of the Long Island tryout. Moore, also a Long Island native, tried out in 2016 and played two seasons with the G League Nets through 2018, even suiting up for the Brooklyn Nets summer league squad this past July. Elsewhere, Jaylen Morris, a standout at Molloy College from 2013-17, is currently with the Milwaukee Bucks on a two-way contract, and spent six games with the Atlanta Hawks last season.
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Deja Blue: NYG Start 0-2
by John Jastremski
Sep 19, 2018 | 215 views | 0 0 comments | 7 7 recommendations | email to a friend | print
It wasn’t supposed to start like this. And it wasn’t supposed to look like this. Not after last year, not after this offseason, but here we are. The New York Football Giants are 0-2 for the fifth time in six seasons. With the schedule being the way that it is, it makes the 0-2 start feel that much worse. And it’s one thing to lose two games, but it’s another to look the way the Giants have starting off the 2018 season. The Giants have been nothing short of a nightmare offensively in their first two games. You have seen horrific offensive line play, a coaching staff that has not designed play calls with any sort of creativity and, yes, you have gotten poor quarterback play as well. In fact, over the first two games of this season, the Giants have looked like a carbon copy of the offense we have seen each of the past two years. The Giants so far this year have been one of the worst offensive teams in the sport, which was also the case each of the last two years. However, when you consider their plan of attack in the offseason, the fact that the Giants offense has been so bad is absolutely shameful. The Giants tried to put together a win-now approach for the 2018 season. They tried to build around their aging quarterback Eli Manning. The Giants hired Pat Shurmur, who had tremendous success with the Vikings as their offensive coordinator a season ago. The Giants signed Nate Solder and made him one of the highest-paid linemen in the sport. They paid Odell Beckham to make hime the highest-paid wide receiver in football, and they drafted running back Saquon Barkley with the second pick in the draft. Giants fans were promised that an explosive offense was on it’s way back to MetLife Stadium and into your living room on Sunday. Instead of that excitement that you expected to see, it has been nothing but ineptitude. The Giants will have 14 more games to change their season narrative, but I continue to go back to the question we all were pondering around town back in mid-April. Why would the Giants, after a 3-13 season with an aging quarterback, pass up a quarterback in the first round of this year's draft? It just made too much sense for the Giants to get their successor for Eli Manning. They had their chance and decided to pass up Sam Darnold, Josh Rosen and Josh Allen. By choosing Saquon Barkley at number two, the Giants put themselves in a win-now position for the 2018 season. If you fail to win now, it will only make April’s decision that much worse. You can listen to me Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Monday & Tuesday from 2 to 6 a.m. on WFAN Sports RADIO 660/1019 FM. You can also watch me on GEICO Sports Night Sunday at 11 p.m.
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St. John's unveils ‘18-19 men's schedule
by Bryan Fonseca
Sep 19, 2018 | 194 views | 0 0 comments | 7 7 recommendations | email to a friend | print
This past week, the St. John’s men’s basketball squad unveiled their schedule for the upcoming 2018-19 season. Coming off a 16-17 (4-14 Big East) campaign last season, the Red Storm, who entered conference play with a 10-2 record, memorably losing 11 consecutive contests in the conference before putting together a monumental few days in which they shocked fourth-ranked Duke at Madison Square Garden on February 3, followed by upsetting a number one-ranked Villanova squad on the road on February 7. The Red Storm topped out the stretch with two more victories in a row, which gave them a 5-2 record in February after a winless January (0-9). In the Big East Tournament, the Red Storm upended Georgetown in round one before falling in the quarterfinals for the second straight season, losing this year to Xavier. The club will open up play against Loyola Maryland on November 6 at Carnesecca Arena, as part of the Legends Classic. In their non-conference slate, they’ll also face the University of California and the winner of Temple and Virginia Commonwealth University game at Barclays Center from November 19-20 to finish up the annual Legends Classic. The Red Storm will also face Georgia Tech down in Miami on December 1, host the first of five regular season games at Madison Square Garden on December 9 against Princeton, and face St. Francis Brooklyn on December 19 in Queens. Big East Play for SJU begins at Seton Hall on December 29. The Red Storm will also play at MSG on January 27 against Georgetown, February 9 against Providence, February 17 versus Villanova and February 23 opposite of Seton Hall. The regular season concludes after a March 9 road match-up at Xavier, and the Big East Tournament will run from March 13-16 at The Garden. After entertaining his NBA Draft prospects, Shamorie Ponds not-so-surprisingly returns to lead the Red Storm in what will be his junior, and possibly final, season with the team. The Brooklyn-born guard, who has led the team in scoring each of the past two years, initially entered the NBA Draft following a sophomore season where he paced the Johnnies with 21.6 points, 5.0 rebounds and 4.7 assists per game. Michigan State transfer Marvin Clark II enters his second year with St. John’s, which will serve as his redshirt senior year of basketball. The forward was the Red Storm’s second leading scorer last season at 12.5 points per game, followed by Justin Simon, who added 12.2 points and a team-high 7.1 rebounds from the two-guard spot.
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ITA comes to disappointing end for Knights
Sep 19, 2018 | 169 views | 0 0 comments | 5 5 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The Queens College men’s and women’s tennis teams saw their run at the ITA East Regional Tournament come to a bitter end on Monday, as the Knights were bounced in the semifinals of the men’s and women’s doubles and women’s singles competitions. Richard Sec and Cosme Jubera competed on the men’s doubles flight and had a semifinal match-up with the brothers Van Biezen---Willem and Bas from Southern New Hampshire University. On the hard-courts of the USTA National Tennis Center, it would be the tandem from the Penmen that claimed an 8-6 victory to advance to the championship match. In the women’s doubles draw, Reehan Rashad and Luisa Auffarth had their hands full with the top team of Lotte Lesscher Y Post and Catarina Zheng of Goldey-Beacom in the first semifinal. The match ended up in favor of the top-seed, 9-7. Queens placed two players into the women’s singles semifinals with dreams of an all-Knights final very much intact as Louisa Brunetti faced Roberts Wesleyan’s Nathabi Mogopodi while Marisa Ostoja tangled with doubles champion Quagliardi. Both matches went two sets, but Brunetti and Ostoja were on the losing end of the results.
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