Thursday, February 14, 2008

Greg Echenique- National Team Player Wants a High School National Title

Greg Echenique is the starting center for one of the best high school teams in America, the St. Benedict's (NJ) Gray Bees. The 6'9 junior is an imposing presence, with a good frame and a terrific skill set. The big man has nice post moves, and has been learning from on of the premiere bigs in the nation, St. Benedict's senior Samardo Samuels. Echenique, who is from Venezuela, talked with me after the team's victory over the rival Celtics from St. Patrick's in the nightcap on Friday evening.

NB: You guys had a big game start to finish. This was a huge game for you guys. It looked like in the end [that] St. Patrick’s was coming back. How’d you guys maintain focus and pull out the victory at the end?
GE: Well, we really worked out hard during the pre-season. You got to go out there and practice, and it all comes down to this. That’s why we practice, that’s why we work hard, and I think we deserve it. I don’t think any team works as hard as we did, and now we have four games left, and we are trying to win everything so we can come back to being number one, and win a national championship.

NB: Coming to St. Benedict’s, is that your goal every year, to be the national champion, be number one in the country?
GE: Last year was [our first year competing for a national championship] because now we have two teams, we have the prep team and the high school [team], but my freshman year, we only had the prep team, so our goal was to win the prep tournament. So now we are trying to get the national championship.

NB: You’re still a junior, but I’m sure you’ve started thinking about colleges. Are there any schools that are at the top of your list? Any schools that have been sending you mail that you’re really thinking about pretty heavily?
GE: I’m still open-minded. I’m going to make my list as soon as I’m done with this season. Right now I have a lot of choices, but I think everybody is pretty even, so I’m just trying to wait until this season is done, and make my decision.

NB: Are there any goals that you have for your senior year . . . next year?
GE: Nothing, I just work hard and try to get us better [as best] as I can, and I also play for my national team, so playing here also helps me to help my country. That’s all I want basically.

Echenique is not only interested in helping his high school squad win a national championship, he also wants to help out his country. Any player who is good enough to play for a national team while just a junior in high school must be a phenomenal talent. Greg Echenique certainly fits that mold, as he is a high school star and a member of the Venezuelan national team. Colleges should definitely be interested in the big man, as he has a fantastic game that should become even better with more tutelage. It will be interesting to see where Echenique ends up playing his college ball. One thing is for sure though, that school will be getting a great basketball player.

Note- photo is from

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