Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
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Hurley Proud of St. Ben’s Products in Olympic Qualifying
Dan Hurley won’t be in Mar del Plata, Argentina Monday afternoon for the Olympic qualifying game between Venezuela and Puerto Rico, but his imprimatur will be all over the game.
Four of Hurley’s former St. Benedict’s Prep players will suit up when the two teams battle it out in the second round of the FIBA Americas tournament.
Venezuela features Creighton forward Gregory Echenique and former Marquette player David Cubillan, while Alex Galindo and John Holland play for Puerto Rico.
“They were four of the most respected student-athletes at St. Benedict’s over the course of our nine years,” said Hurley, entering his second season at Wagner College. “They were a huge part of our program.”
All told, there were eight former St. Benedict’s players in Olympic qualifying.
The 6-foot-9 Echenique is a junior at Creighton and a former Rutgers standout. He has started each of Venezuela’s first four games of the tournament, averaging 9.3 points and a team-best 6.3 rebounds while shooting 64 percent from the floor.
He scored in double-figures in three of the four games and pulled down a double-double (10 points, 10 rebounds) in Friday’s overtime win against Canada that clinched a spot in the second round.
Cubillan dished out 10 assists and hit a huge three in overtime in the Canada game, and Greivis Vasquez of the Memphis Grizzlies led Venezuela with 29 points.
Knicks guard Andy Rautins scored eight points for Canada in the game
“David was a coach’s dream,” Hurley said. “He’s the greatest competitor I have ever been around. He helped Gregory transition into St. Benedict’s.
“Gregory was an NBA rebounder as a high school player and the most physical intelligent post player that we had.”
Venezuela is coached by former NBA head coach Eric Musselman.
Holland, who played at Boston University, and Gallindo, who transferred to Florida Atlantic from Kansas, have helped Puerto Rico to a 3-1 start to the event. The 6-7 Galindo is averaging 5.5 points through four games, and Holland is averaging 5.0 points, the same amount as Knicks forward Renaldo Balkman.
“Alex was our first international student and his success opened the door for others to be given an opportunity to attend the school,” Hurley said.
Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle.
A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013.
He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.