Getting to know David Cubillan

MarquetteHoops.com went one-on-one with Marquette signee David Cubillan from St. Benedict's Prep in New Jersey. In this story we will help Marquette fans to know a little more about Cubillan who is originally from Venezuela.

Growing up in Venezuela, David Cubillan loved playing baseball. However, he often couldn't find others to play with as his two older brothers were always playing basketball. By the time he was 8, David put down the glove and started playing basketball with his brothers. By the time he was 11 he was playing organized team basketball.

His basketball skills progressed rapidly and by the time he was 14 he dreamed of playing in the United States, specifically, in the Big East. "I always wanted to play in the Big East. When I lived in Venezuela, I only knew two conferences – the Big East and the ACC because that is what we saw on TV. It was always a dream to be able to play there."

David grew up with two older brothers and a younger sister. When he was nine years old his parents divorced so his mother and grandmother raised him. "My father and I still always talked a lot, but then he moved to another state and I didn't see him as much." said Cubillan, and now thoughts of his mother are what drive him to succeed. "Staying with my mother, Miadalis, she was always there for me. She took care of me and was always there when I needed her. Now that I am here in the United States, everything I do, before I play or practice, sometimes I feel like I don't want to practice today, I just think about my mom and the things I want to do for her, I want her to be proud of me. Someday I want to be able to help her and do things for her like she did for me."

By the time David was 16 he was playing on the Venezuelan 16U National Team. They were playing in the South American Tournament in Columbia where David's three point shooting led his team to the championship. He was ultimately named the tournament MVP, and it was there that he was noticed by Florida International coach Sergio Rouco. Helping South American players come to the United States was something that Coach Rouco had done many times before, and when he saw the potential in Cubillan, he made some phone calls. "Ever since that tournament people started calling me about coming to America. Then Coach Rouco, who was good friends with Coach Hurley, told him about me. Coach Hurley called me and said that they needed a point guard, so I decided to come to St. Benedicts."

Over the next two years St. Benedict's did get some additional help at the point guard spot, so David found himself playing more of a combo guard position. David's junior year teammate Dwight Burke was being recruited by Marquette and that was the opportunity David had hoped for. "Coach Rab (Marquette assistant coach Jason Rabadeaux) was the first one that saw me play. He came to watch Dwight over the summer and after the workout he told my coach that I was looking good and he liked how hard I worked. He came to see us play a couple more times, and I guess he told Coach Crean about me."

Florida International was known for bringing in student-athletes from South America, and with David's ties to Coach Rouco, it was assumed by many that Cubillan was destined to become a Golden Panther. "Everyone thought that because Coach Rouco helped bring me here, that I would go there, but that was not the level that I wanted to play at. So once I got the opportunity to go to Marquette and play in the Big East, that's where I was headed. When I told him that I was going to go to Marquette, all of these schools started calling me; Rhode Island, Utah and many more. They all thought it was a done deal that I was going to Florida International, so when they found out, they said that they would have recruited me if they thought I was open, but I told them all it was too late."

The Big East was a big factor in Cubillan's decision, but there was so much more. "When I took my visit, all of the people around the Marquette campus was so nice to me, but when I went to watch practice, I had a feeling that told me that this was the right place for me. The way they were working and the way that Coach Crean was talking to the players – just the way they worked was amazing."

There was one player in particular that David pointed to that was very helpful during his visit, "I was watching the practice next to Steve Novak. He was sitting out, and I didn't even know who he was, that he had that kind of reputation. I was talking to him and he had been there for four years so he knew everything about the school and the team. He was so nice to me, and then when I saw him play during the season and saw how good he was, I couldn't believe that he was the guy that was so nice when he was telling me everything about the school."

David also got to spend some time with his former teammate on his visit, former St. Benedict's standout Dwight Burke, who was in the middle of his freshman year at the time. "I spent most of the time with Dwight, Dominic, Jerel & Wesley, and being with them for two days I could see how happy they were, and knowing Dwight and how happy he was there? I could easily see my self fitting right in with them."

Cubillan was also sold on the way that Marquette developed their players. "The way Coach Crean makes them work so hard is a similar to the way we work hard here at St. Benedict's. Coach Crean's intensity, the way he coaches, he puts a lot of work into it. Also, I saw Dwight (Burke) when he left here in June, and then five months later I saw him at Marquette, he was so much better – his progress was amazing to me. I thought – if Coach Crean can make him that much better in five months, he will do the same for me."

There was really only one question that David had about choosing Marquette and that came out after our interview. When we finished, I asked him if he had any questions for me, "No, not really, wait - Are you in Milwaukee right now? How cold is it right now?" asked Cubillan.

"David I am wearing shorts right now – it is 65 degrees and sunny." I said.

"When everyone asks where I am going, and I say Marquette - they say, ‘oh my God it's going to be so cold!' But coming from Venezuela where it is 90 degrees every day, if I got used to the weather here in New Jersey, I can get used to the weather in Milwaukee!"


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