St. Francis Prep, Fresh Meadows, is known for producing top-notch basketball talent that thrives at the collegiate level.
Meanwhile, St. Joseph’s College Brooklyn, Clinton Hill, has become a hot bed for local CHSAA basketball players to continue their hoops careers.
Sounds like a perfect match, right?
Well this fall, four L’il Terriers basketball players – guard/forward Sebastien Etheart, guard/forward Stephane Etheart, guard Dimitri Sirakis and forward Lauren Quesada – enrolled as freshmen at St. Joseph’s and have begun the next chapter of their basketball journeys.
Playing basketball in high school under coaches Tim Leary on the boys’ side and Kerri White on the girls’ side has fully prepared these student-athletes both academically and athletically for college.
“I think that my basketball career at the Prep prepared me for collegiate basketball because the people that play in our league, most of them end up going D I so I basically already was playing some level of collegiate basketball,” Quesada said. “They (the Prep) really taught me discipline and how to keep your head up.”
Both the men’s basketball team, coached by Joseph Cocozello, and the women’s squad, coached by Tom Flahive, at St. Joseph’s have heavily recruited players from the local Catholic league, since they know the schools do a fine job of developing young men and women for the next level.
“I came in here, and defense is much more simple for me than it was back then,” Sebastien Etheart said. “We had to listen to Coach Leary word for word, and now it turns out that it helps more than you could have imagined. We are set up in the right positions, and we know how to take charges.”
In just several weeks of practices, the players have already seen many similarities to their high school program, which has greatly helped in the transition process.
“When I watch Coach Cocozello at practice, I think exactly of Coach Leary,” said Stephane Etheart, Sebastien’s twin brother. “They have the same mindset; they think exactly alike. Defensively, taking charges and staying in front of the ball…these are all things we ran for hours at practice in high school. When we came here, we had already been doing that for four years.”
The hands-on approach taken by the St. Joseph’s program has been a major draw for local players, especially those that experienced that same feel in high school.
“When I came to my first game here (St. Joseph’s), just the atmosphere was so positive,” Sirakis said. “Seeing how the coaches interacted with the players, it just felt like a family. The coaches here really care about the players, and it was evident just by watching the game.”
A unique aspect of the St. Joe’s teams is that a good majority of the roster all played in the local CHSAA. For these L’il Terriers, playing with former rivals now as teammates has been a welcome experience.
The St. Francis Prep community must be extremely proud for playing a role in the development of these four student-athletes, and St. Joe’s is just as lucky to now have them as students.
Contact Jim Mancari via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.