By Troy Mauriello
Just minutes prior to tipoff at the Mayor’s Cup all-star game, Benjamin Cardozo’s Tareq Coburn sat in street clothes on his team’s bench, watching the rest of the participants warm up.
He was scheduled to play in the game, which pits some of the PSAL’s top boys’ basketball players against each other, but a misunderstanding left him without a pair of basketball shoes to wear.
However, Coburn ended getting on the court and going to work, scoring 12 points as he and his Bronx and Queens teammates took down a group of Brooklyn, Manhattan and Staten Island all-stars, 105-89, Sunday at Baruch College.
“They were getting really angry, because people were saying how this is important for me to play and show up… so I just had to just throw away my Jordans for this game,” Coburn said.
Aside from his scoring efforts, Coburn added a few highlight plays as well. He had a windmill dunk that sent the crowd into a frenzy as the game began to turn into more of a highlight contest as the second half went on.
“I enjoyed it for the most part,” Coburn said. “It’s kind of fun playing people you know from different teams.”
However, two of Coburn’s Cardozo teammates, Aaron Walker and Rashond Salnave, didn’t participate in the event. Salnave had a previous commitment to play elsewhere, while Walker decided not to attend.
Although Coburn, who averaged 20 points and seven rebounds, wasn’t able to play one final game with his Cardozo teammates, he did get one final chance to show off his skills as a high school athlete.
Coburn will play next season at St. Bonaventure, where he’ll join a Bonnies team that nearly reached the NCAA Tournament before going to the NIT last month, an early exit in the NIT last month. He will play for coach Mark Schmidt, the Atlantic 10 Coach of the Year. Coburn made the commitment official early last week.
“I’m really excited to play with a coach of the year, good players and hopefully we go to the tournament,” Coburn said.
Judges’ coach Ron Naclerio has high expectations for Coburn at the next level once he fully develops.
“I actually think, he might not want to hear it, but I actually think he’s going to do for St. Bonaventure what he did for us,” Naclerio said. “Where it’s going to take him a year or two to adjust. You know St. Bonaventure is in the A-10, which is basically a high major conference.”
However long it may take Coburn to adjust to the college game, there’s no denying that he’ll help St. Bonaventure in their efforts to reach to the NCAA Tournament.
“Once Tareq gets into that next level, he can really shoot the ball,” Naclerio said. “He’s got a lot of range, and his athleticism has really increased.”