The Camp is under the leadership of new head basketball coaches David Rodriguez and Martin Esquibel. School’s basketball players Alex Schandelwein, Antoine Gabaldon and Billy Hunter assist with the campers and learning more of the game as they become seniors
By ARNIE LESHIN, Santa Fe Today
No doubt about it, there’s always lessons to be learned.
Such is the case for St. Michael’s incoming seniors Alex Schandelwein, Antoine Gabaldon and Billy Hunter. All serve the boy’s basketball program under new head coach David Rodriguez.
Gabaldon is the lone returning varsity player of the three and Schandelwein and Hunter are hoping to join him on the varsity after playing with the junior varsity.
Obviously all three 6-footers realize that it’s never too late to learn more of the game. If this wasn’t so, they wouldn’t be turning out to assist with the campers at the annual Horsemen Basketball Camp at St. Michael’s. They tutor what they’ve learned while gathering in added things that can prepare them for their final season.
Plus, there’s noting wrong with being around Rodriguez before he even holds his first practices. Better of course than being out of sight, out of mind.
Gabaldon has the varsity experience of the past two years. He turned 17 in March, has also played baseball and football, and has no preference.
“I guess I like them all,” he said in Shelly-Perez gymnasium in Wednesday’s next-to-last camp day. “But I think it’s important to be at this camp. I learn more from the coaches who are here, and I transfer it to the campers who really appreciate it.”
He has been a versatile backcourt player in the role of shooter and point guard. He follows in the footsteps of his talented older sister, Christiana, who played basketball, soccer and softball for the Lady Horsemen. Their grandmother, Christine, has retired after years spent at the school’s main administrative desk.
“I’m looking for a real good senior season,” Antoine said, “and that’s why I come here to learn and teach and get to play some ball.”
He also has rooting interests in the National Basketball Association’s Los Angels Lakers as well as Duke of the college teams.
For Schandelwein, it’s the second year at the camp, and there’s no doubt he’s still learning as he seeks to land a spot on the varsity.
“I played on the JV,” he said, “and also played two varsity games when they were still waiting for the football players to report. I’ve been playing basketball since the age of 5, and it’s been my only sport. I consider myself a wing and have played both guard and forward”
He doesn’t have a college basketball favorite, but in the NBA he’s a fan of the Oklahoma City Thunder.
“It’s my final season,” Schandelwein said, “and my last chance to make varsity, so I’m just learning more by being here. It’s important to assist with the campers and listen to instructions from the coaches.”
Hunter also comes off the junior varsity. He turned 17 on July 10 and has played football and basketball since his freshman year.
“I hope to make varsity,” he said. “Basketball is my favorite. My dad played it when he was in Texas, and its neat learning to assist the coaches while getting to learn more about the game while here.”
Hunter’s a fan of the NBA’s Golden State Warriors and of Duke.
All three agreed that it’s a fine turnout for the camp run by Rodriguez and new Lady Horsemen head coach Martin Esquibel. And with assistance from this trio and other basketball coaches. Most were boys, but there was a good turnout of girls.
There has been two phases for the camp, one in June and this one. Wednesday, Schandelwein, Gabaldon and Hunter worked with those campers entering grades 7 to 9. Earlier in the day, the camp began for youngsters entering grades 1 and 2, and then came those entering grades 3 to 6.