Tag Archives: Rashond Salnave

Cardozo HS boys basketball team wins city crown


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Liam La Guerre

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There has been lots of murmuring about Benjamin Cardozo sophomore guard Rashond Salnave being one of the best basketball players in the city.

Expect those whispers to grow louder after his performance in the PSAL Division AA city championship on Saturday, March 9.

Trailing the Thomas Jefferson Orange Wave by one point at the Barclays Center, Salnave drove hard to the basketball and was fouled while shooting with 2.5 seconds remaining. The shot didn’t go in, but then, despite enormous pressure weighing on him, the sophomore buried two free throws to win the game, 55-54.

“I was nervous, too,” Salnave said. “I’ve been in those situations before, it’s just that the situations before weren’t as big as this one. Some people say I’m only a sophomore and it’s a big feeling, but I knew what I had to do.”

Salnave finished with 16 points, and was 10 of 12 from the free-throw line, to help lead the Cardozo Judges to their first city crown since 1999. He was the undisputed recipient of the league’s MVP award.

After the final buzzer, Salnave and Cardozo head coach Ron Naclerio cried and shared a hug. It was an emotional win because during the 15-year drought between city titles for the Judges, Naclerio said the team faced many hardships, including losing a player he “considered a son” to another school, and Naclerio’s own suspension of a few games during the playoffs last year after he tossed the Queens Borough Championship runner-up plaque.

Naclerio satirically cradled the championship trophy from the time he received the golden basketball, and didn’t let it go while taking tons of pictures with fans, then walking through the halls of the Barclays Center, then during the press conference with reporters, and even in the locker room.

Cardozo senior Francisco Williams embodies the difficulties the team faced during its drought. Williams started as a freshman at the high school, but personal problems, such as joining the wrong crowd and health issues with his mother, forced him to transfer schools. But this academic year he transferred back to Cardozo, and became one of the team’s most complete players.

Williams added 21 points and six rebounds in the win, and was a dominant defensive presence under the rim. The senior was so happy that his return helped win a championship that he was looking to celebrate in a special way.

“I’m really excited,” Williams said. “We’re going to stay up all night tonight. I’ll probably play 2K (NBA 2K14 video game) and go to Hooters.”

 

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Cardozo boys basketball team still determined after losing star player


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Liam La Guerre

The Benjamin Cardozo boys’ basketball team has a bone to pick with those who doubted them.

After top-notch transfer Jaquan McKennon left the team preseason, media outlets dropped the Judges in the PSAL rankings. But behind two key players and a solid roster they still believe they will be one of the city’s top teams.

The Cardozo Judges (2-0) proved just that in their home opener against Martin Van Buren High School (2-1) on Monday, December 9, routing the Fighting Vee Bees, 76-40. Senior Francisco Williams scored 22 points and grabbed 12 rebounds to lead the team, and sophomore guard Rashond Salnave had 20 points and six assists in the game.

“They said we weren’t going to be that good, so every game we play we got to show out,” Williams said. “Without him (McKennon) we are still going to be a good team. We’re going to win with or without him.”

Williams, who started his high school basketball career at Cardozo, transferred due to personal issues and a health problem with a family member. But following his hiatus he has returned for this final high school year and played his first-ever home game with the Judges against Van Buren. He wants to help the team go far this year.

“I want to take it to the [Madison Square] Garden,” Williams said, referring to the location of the PSAL city championships.

The Judges’ other breakout player is Salnave, who is becoming a top-notch guard in the league. In just his first two games on varsity, the 15-year old combo guard is averaging about 23 points and 5.5 assists.

Besides these two players, the Judges are chock full of talent this year. Senior Carl Edoua Balthazar is a long, lanky forward and a defensive presence on the floor. In the match against Van Buren he finished with 12 rebounds, six blocks and six points.

“Carl is a shot-blocker,” Salnave said. “If we get beat, although it’s not something good to brag about, we know Carl has our back.”

Having coached basketball at Cardozo for more than 30 years, head coach Ron Naclerio knows that the competition will get stiffer as the season drags on. He believes in his team’s strength, but doesn’t want to be cocky.

“I try to say be humble and be hungry,” Naclerio said. “Things could change. Today we were on the north side, but we had some scrimmages where we were on the south side.”

 

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