These days, Omar Minaya isn’t a beloved figure in Flushing, Queens. A former general manager of the Mets and, before that, the erstwhile Montreal Expos, Minaya has been blamed for the team’s prior spending excesses on short-lived superstars and, in some cases, for trading away top developmental chips.
Now he’s overseeing another of those chips in his own New Jersey home, he just happens to compete in a different sport.
As reported by the New York Times, and previously by our partners at the Bergen Record, Justin Minaya has blossomed into a legitimate Division I basketball prospect at Old Tappan High in New Jersey. He’s unlikely to land at Kentucky or North Carolina, but he does already hold scholarship offers from Boston University, UNC Wilmington and nearby Iona, among others, with plenty of other mid-majors and apparently even powers like Indiana also checking in on him.
All of that is a significant shift for the Minaya family, which has previously been focused strictly on baseball. It’s the family business which put food on the table for Justin and his older brother, Teddy, and the game that he and his father always assumed he would grow up to play.
That was before Justin grew to a wiry 6-foot-7 with a strong jumper, with legitimate potential to be a contributor at the next level. Now he could still consider a final season of baseball once his high school basketball career comes to an end, provided his next basketball destination will allow him to.
Until then, the younger Minaya will continue pushing forward for Old Tappan, the school which he has refused to leave despite potential higher attention at a private school powerhouse, both from a sense of loyalty and because, “I have more fun here.”
Surely, no one could fault him for that. After all, isn’t that the whole point of high school sports?