Late Friday afternoon some big news was released by St. John's Athletics: senior forward Orlando Sanchez will miss Saturday's game against #9/11 Villanova due to the birth of his daughter. Orlando's wife, Flor Esthefani Sanchez, gave birth to 6-pound, 7-ounce Ysabel Angela on Friday morning in Providence.
In a statement released by the school, Sanchez stated that he and his family would like to, "thank God for giving us this treasure."
"I will be back with my brothers soon to help our team accomplish our goals of finishing the year strong and making the postseason," Sanchez said about returning to St. John's.
On the court between Orlando's absence is very crucial at a pivotal point in the season. The Johnnies are thin going into a crucial game against Villanova; sophomore Chris Obekpa, who injured his ankle on Monday, is said to be out 10-14 days. Head coach Steve Lavin didn't rule out Obekpa coming back in Philadelphia but if he doesn't the Johnnies' front line is very slim.
The loss of Orlando is also very big because of the type of player he is. Despite coming off the bench of late, he is still the team's second leading rebounder and a player that can stretch the defenses with his ability to go inside and outside to shoot. If he has a guard on him he'll go to the post; if he has a big he will take him outside and take him off the dribble. Along with that, Sanchez going outside also clears up penetrating lanes for the backcourt.
In the first game against Villanova, Sanchez was assigned the dangerous JayVaughn Pinkston on defense. Pinkston drew quick fouls on Sanchez, but Sanchez was able to match Pinkston's size and quickness.
Orlando Sanchez is averaging 7.0 points and 5.2 rebounds per contest.
Everyone at Rumble in the Garden gives our best wishes and congratulations to the Sanchez family!