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Dozo’s Salnave conditioning himself for title, scholarship push

By Laura Amato

Rashond Salnave has been running.

He’s also been lifting weights and eating better. He’s even got plans to start a pool workout regime. Anything to get better.

After a standout sophomore season at Benjamin Cardozo, which ended with a 2014 PSAL Class AA boys’ basketball city championship, Salnave saw his role, and by extension his stats, change last winter. The rising senior wing went from scoring 18 points per game and collecting three assists and three rebounds a contest as a sophomore to post 15 points, 6.5 rebounds and nearly four assists a contest last season.

Interest in Salnave from colleges failed to take off and Cardozo lost in the PSAL Queens and city final last season. So with one year left in his high-school career, Salnave is doing whatever it takes to make sure his on-court opportunities extend beyond ’Dozo.

“I’ve got to get myself in better shape, get stronger, got to work on my mind. Then, just hopefully, have the best year possible,” the 6-foot-1 Salnave said of his off-season workouts. “I’ve been running a lot. I’m starting to do some pool workouts too. Anything, really, to get my body in tip-top shape. I think once I get my body ready and all that, I’ll be a whole different player.”

Salnave, who spent the summer on the AAU circuit and competed in last Saturday’s Big Strick Classic regional all-star game, has seen interest and scholarship offers from a handful of top-tier college programs. Leading that pack is Rutgers, which has been in heavy contact with the Queens standout for months. He also has offers from Iona and Fordham, among others.

“Right now they’re highly recruiting me. I talk to them a lot,” Salnave said. “But right now it’s just like a dead period between us, we’re letting things move out a little bit, going into the next season and going into the next school year and then see how things work out from there.”

Salnave is keeping his recruitment options open, simply looking forward to the upcoming season at ’Dozo. He knows he needs to improve his conditioning and has already told long-time Judges Coach Ron Naclerio that he’s ready to do whatever it takes to do so and win another city crown.

“Unfortunately, he has the type of body that he’s so physically strong and there was some excess weight, but he has lost weight,” Naclerio said. “He put a lot of pressure on himself to repeat and teams were keying on him. I think now he knows because people around him are telling him, have fun, trust your teammates.”

Those factors have Salnave playing with a bit of a chip on his shoulder as the summer winds down. He still thinks about last year’s loss to Wings Academy in PSAL title game. It’s been the driving force behind everything this summer.

Salnave has one eye on his future and an ear to college suitors as he looks to make a little history before he leaves. Another crown would make him the first Cardozo player to win two PSAL titles—just another way to get better.

“We shouldn’t have lost last year,” Salnave said. “I think about it a lot. A lot. So this is my last year and I definitely want one more.”

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