Jason Quijada had an impressive debut for Mercy’s basketball team.
On Jan. 3 against Berkeley, the Monsey native scored 15 points on 5-of-7 shooting to go with eight assists. Since then, he has firmly established himself as the team’s starting point guard, averaging 10.1 points and 3.2 assists per game in going into the weekend.
“I’m still getting used to the system and playing with the players,” Quijada, a junior, said. “Everything is brand new to me.”
The 5-foot-8 guard has come a long way since high school.
Quijada played on Spring Valley High School’s varsity team, but was used mainly as a backup, aside from starting a few games as a junior.
He did not play his senior season due to personal problems, but he emerged at Rockland Community College as a key player. He averaged 20.4 points and 7.8 assists in his two years there.
“In high school, I wasn’t allowed to really play my game, which is fast-paced, rebound-and-go. Spring Valley was more of a slow-pace, half-court style,” he said. “You fit in certain systems better than others, and Rockland was more of my style. It really helped me develop as a player and as a person.”
Quijada said that he got interest from schools in New Jersey, but he didn’t want to go out of state. After Dowling, a school on Long Island, lost interest in him, it was an easy decision to pick Mercy, which he said had come in late in the recruiting process.
“Coach (Jody) King just convinced me and I bought into his system,” he said. “Being so close to home, I can go back home whenever I want and my family can come visit me.”
Having missed the first semester due to personal problems, he says he is still developing chemistry with his teammates.
“I know I can play way better than what I’m playing now,” he said. “It’s just a process I’m going through now. I’m getting used to everything, I’ll pick it up.”
Additional Achievements: Lesley men’s soccer junior defender Spencer Irwin (Somers) was named to the New England Collegiate Conference Academic All-Conference Team. … Purchase men’s cross country runners Zuriel Arellano (Port Chester), Daniel Levitz (Bronxville) and Mark Vasey (Yorktown Heights/Harvey) were named to the Skyline Conference Academic Honor Roll. Other athletes from the school to make the list include women’s cross country’s Emily Risoff (Eastchester), golf’s Manuel Cervantes Jr. (Port Chester) and men’s soccer’s Junior Sanguina (White Plains/Valhalla). … Westchester Community College bowling’s Natasha Morrison (Carmel) was named the school’s athlete of the week.