Last year's Red Storm had an obvious deficiency in height in the post and in rebounding, where the Johnnies were one of the five worst teams at grabbing defensive rebounds and ending possessions.
The St. John's staff hope to address that issue with multiple players, including Monroe College forward Orlando Sanchez. Sanchez is teammates with Marco Bourgault, who we profiled yesterday.
The staff is looking at other Junior College players and some other possible athletes to help newly-signed Jakarr Sampson and Sir`Dominic Pointer battle on the boards. But the 6'8", 200+ pound native of Nagua in the Dominican Republic is a major target that fits the height-deficient Red Storm's needs - especially with the departure of Moe Harkless to the NBA Draft.
More, below the fold.
Kentucky was interested in Sanchez in the past, but seems to have backed off, despite Kentucky Head Coach John Calipari's side job as head of the Dominican Republic's national side. Playing for his country, Sanchez had modest stats, averaging 2.3 points and 2.1 rebounds per game in the FIBA America Championship.
Of course, that team includes NBA players Al Horford, Charlile Villanueva, Francisco Garcia, and Edgar Sosa, along with a couple of 30-year old forwards - time may be hard to come by, and his inclusion in the team has to be good practice.
From our friends at Friar Basketball, Monroe College head coach Jeff Brustad speaks about the benefit of playing for the national team:
"His experience this summer was tremendous. Not only did Orlando have the opportunity to play for one of the top coaches in college basketball, but he played for his country. From a basketball point of view, he was able to play against top-level competition, and his confidence and productivity have grown immensely since returning."
Brustad also gives a snapshot of Orlando Sanchez' game:
"He’s highly skilled and plays with a high motor. Orlando is 6’8, 215 lbs, and plays both the four and three positions. Defensively, he was in the top five in rebounding and blocks in the country, and he runs the floor very well and attacks the rim."
Follow the link above to read more on Sanchez, from Coach Brustad's perspective.
From his game stats at Monroe:
Sanchez is the leading rebounder and fourth-leading scorer on the Monroe College Mustangs, averaging 10.2 points per game and 7.7 rebounds (2.3 offensive rebounds per game), and added 1.8 blocks per game. Sanchez averaged 4.2 blocks per game in his freshman year at Monroe, with 9.8 points and 7.7 rebounds.
Seven percent of his shots are from outside the arc; he's hit 4/18 from the perimeter and is shooting 57.4% from the free throw line, so his perimeter shooting doesn't appear to be a strength at this time.
But inside the arc, he's connecting on 58% of his two-pointers and assisting on 15.8% of his team's shots - not the rate of a point guard, but the rate of a conscientious wing.
Sanchez is grabbing 22.8% of available defensive rebounds when he's on the floor, and 9.6% of his own team's misses. It's hard to tell his defensive skill set from statistics, but we can see his athleticism in the following video:
And I believe this is Orlando Sanchez showing off his dunking versatility - but the Rumble staff translator is currently busy so I cannot confirm.
The Rumble will be watching tonight's matchup between Monroe College and South Plains in the Junior College National Tournament in Hutchinson, KS. The Monroe/ South Plains Game link has been posted, and we will update it if that's a dead link.