Soph Garcia Is A Player

LYNCHBURG, Va. – He's been playing basketball for just three seasons and only five months in America. Jose Garcia (pronounced Joe-Say), a native of Angola, is a legitimate high-major caliber player. We had a chance to watch him on Tuesday night.

26 Points For Garcia

Right now, shooting guard Jose Garcia knows six languages. Five months ago, he knew just five but that was before he picked up English by watching Jungle Book.

Garcia, a 17-year-old sophomore and native of Angola, holds citizenship in Belgium and plays for Lynchburg (VA) Holy Cross.

His story is an amazing one. When he was six years old his parents were murdered by military forces. He was raised by his sister who moved the family to Belgium. Five months ago, he convinced his sister to let him come to the United States to play. He's been playing for only three years and his basketball education began with a set of videos.

Apparently, Michael Jordan – via a set of videos – was the teacher for Garcia's only crash course in basketball. Garcia wasn't playing the game at the time, but he was in Belgium watching Air Jordan do his thing. "For three years I was watching," Garcia said. "I was watching all the time. When you watch you learn." It looks like he learned quite of bit of poise, patience and passing from the Jordan collection.

Well, we watched Garcia on Tuesday against an out-manned Hargrave varsity team that was soundly defeated by Holy Cross 70-51. Garcia was the only Division I player on the floor and scored 26 points. When it was over, we learned too.

Right now, this sophomore is a legitimate high-major prospect. In fact, he's one of the better sophomores we've seen all year. He has a good-looking body, his share of athleticism, a quick release and range on his jumper. He's not a bad passer either. In fact, for a young man who's basically an infant basketball-wise, the guy really sees the floor well.

Now, understand he's by no means a finished product. Though his game has good pace and he's not prone to forcing shots, he still must learn the subtle nuisances of the game. For instance, he's got all the tools to be a super defender, but he will have to work on his understanding of principles. Clearly, all things considered, he's very advanced at that stage and willing to learn.

"When you see every kind of player … you like to compare them with other players. When I see one better [then me] I want to be better than him." Garcia speaks of improving with passion. He plays with intensity. It's almost contagious.

The guy has certainly seen a good portion of basketball schools since his arrival. He's been to North Carolina State, Virginia and Wake Forest for games. NC State, Florida State and Virginia sent coaches to watch him play. He was supposed to attend a game at North Carolina this weekend, but a make up game will force those plans to be rescheduled.

The former top player in Belgium for his age group has charisma. After the game, it was like he was running for office, that's how many hands he shook; mine, referees, teammates, opponents, girls, concession stand workers, parents. You name it, he was shaking a hand.

Actually, everything about him was quite impressive. Can you imagine where he'll be a year from now?

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