Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Justin Reyes: Hoop Dreams

Justin Reyes   (photo:

By Jeremy DeCarlo

Justin Reyes is an American-born Dominican and Puerto Rican basketball player at St. Thomas Aquinas College.  Justin grew up in a large family with 4 half-brothers and 4 half-sisters. When Justin was 11 years old his family moved from his home town of the Bronx, NY to Massachusetts. Justin has been playing basketball for 6 years and wears the number 21 for STAC.

He was inspired to play basketball when he was young and would watch his father play on the local street courts. “My dad could out jump everyone,” Justin said. “He was able to dunk on everyone and now when I play, that’s what I do.”

Justin is a Business Administration major with a minor in Economics. He hopes to use his degree to work in the hospital with his stepfather, if basketball doesn’t work out. Justin’s dream is to one day play basketball in Europe. Preferably, he would like to play in France or Italy, because “The women are beautiful there and I love spaghetti.”  If Justin were to play in Europe, the first thing he would buy with his contract would be, he said, “Anything my parents want. Anything they want, I’d get for them.”

Although Justin wants to play in Europe, basketball isn’t his biggest passion. “I’m a fan of the Miami Heat and I like playing, but I’m not crazy about basketball.” Justin, however, truly likes to sing. His suitemate said of Justin’s singing, “Justin’s voice is like a combination of Fergie and Jesus.” When asked about his singing, Justin laughed and told me that “My sister is the real singer in the family.”

Asked about his highlights from playing basketball, Justin said his greatest game came in high school when he had 41 points, 21 rebounds and 7 blocks. The highlight of Justin’s college career, he said, was playing at Gonzaga this season.

“Although we got destroyed, it was just awesome playing in there,” he said. “It was a huge crowd in a Division 1 arena with a team that’s ranked 10 in the entire nation. They’re going to go on and play in the March Madness tournament and potentially win it and we had the opportunity to play them.” STAC lost that game in a blowout 109-55. Justin shot 1-6 from the field and 4-6 from the charity stripe with 2 rebounds, 1 assist and a turnover.

Justin says that if he could’ve gone to any Division 1 school, he would’ve chosen to be a Kansas Jayhawk. He says “The Jayhawks produce a lot of NBA players. That would be cool, I rather play in the NBA than win a championship; I don’t need a ring.”

Asked how he liked going to STAC, Justin responded “I don’t really like STAC, to be honest, it’s too small for me, but it’s the only school that offered me a full scholarship to play basketball.” Asked what he likes about STAC, he responded “I do really like the people here.” His best friends on campus are his roommates and he’s thankful he was placed in the room with them, “otherwise I never would’ve ended up talking to them,” he said.

When Justin isn’t playing basketball or going to class, he loves hanging out with his roommates and suitemates. “I love just chillin’ in my room, playing [Call of Duty] Zombies and watching Netflix with my boys,” he said. “I love watching ‘It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia’ with them; it’s my favorite way to unwind.”

Justin also says he likes to “hangout with the girls.” His roommates described him as the definitive “ladies man of the room.” Justin also likes spending his free time in the caff. “I always eat chicken parm before a game,” he said.

After talking to Justin, it became obvious that the most important thing to him isn’t basketball, it’s family. “I love when my aunt and cousins come from the Bronx and watch me play,” he said. “It makes me play better knowing that I’m playing for them and then she always bring some doughnuts and home cooked food.” He says he can’t wait to be back in Massachusetts chillin’ with his family.

Jeremy DeCarlo is a Communication Arts major at St. Thomas Aquinas College with an interest in sports.

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