Pena has interest in Cards
6'7 junior Antonio Pena from Brooklyn Lincoln High School ranks among the top players in the nation in the class of 2005 and enjoyed an excellent week at the adidas ABCD Camp.
Pena, who teamed with Sebastian Telfair to lead Lincoln to the New York State Championship last season, is highly ranked nationally in his class. BaskteballPhenoms.com ranks Pena #29 nationally and he's listed as a four star prospect by TheInsiders.com.
Pena led Lincoln to the state title over Christ the King after Telfair fouled out in regulation. Pena sunk two key free throws with five seconds remaining in regulation to force overtime and finished the game with 18 points and 7 rebounds. Afterwards, Telfair gave Pena his MVP trophy in recognition of Antonio's outstanding performance.
Antonio played well at ABCD, showing a bit of versatility to his game. Pena, a Jamal Mashburn type, grabs the boards inside and has some skills facing the basket. His stroke is soft and fundamentally sound, and at 6'7 he can put it on the floor and do some things. He's a fluid performer and averaged 7 points and three rebounds last week in Teaneck.
"It was a very positive experience," Pena told ITV. "I learned a lot playing with the top points guards and just playing against people my own size."
Pena went to ABCD focused on improving certain aspects of his game to make him a more well rounded, attractive prospect for college recruiters.
"One thing I'm trying to improve on is my ball handling skills because in college I may not be a four or five," Pena explained. "So I have to work on the perimeter more, my three point shooting and being more fluid on the court."
Pena describes himself as a hard working type who enjoys the game of basketball.
"I'm a hard worker," Pena said. "I like to have fun so I'm not selfish... I make people around me better."
After his strong sophomore campaign at Lincoln that culminated with his outstanding performance in the state championship game, Antonio's recruitment is beginning to heat up.
On Friday afternoon at ABCD, Coach Willard and Coach Pitino focused their attention on the junior forward from New York.
Asked if he had heard from Louisville, Pena responded, "No I haven't."
Pena then quickly and without prompting, expressed interest in the Cardinal program.
"I like Louisville a lot too," Pena said. "I just like the way they play and run up and down the court. I've liked them since I was little."
Pena, who hasn't listed factors he'll use to narrow his list and eventually use to make a decision, indicated he wants to get out of New York to play his college ball.
"I don't want to be close to New York…too close to home," Pena said.