May 10, 2012

Mina's efforts pay off

Kevin McCarthy

He knew. It was just a matter of working long and hard enough and the reward would be there at the end. What J.J. Mina envisioned was landing a college basketball scholarship and now what was once a goal has become an achievement.

photo of J.J. Mina

Entering his junior year of high school at Bradshaw Christian, Mina stood all of 5-foot-8. As he described his game: "I would just sit on the three-point line and shoot."

A couple of full turns of the calendar later, he was producing 17 points and 10 boards a game while measuring out as a 6-foot-3 senior.

Now having completed his sophomore season at Consumnes River College (CRC) playing for Coach James Giacomazzi, he's at 6-foot-6 and 225 pounds, with 11.7 points and 7 rebounds a contest averages enhancing his recruiting attractiveness, and ready to take on his next challenge.

Mina has signed to play for Colorado State University-Pueblo and Coach Ralph Turner. The Thunderwolves participate in D-II level athletics and are coming off a 13-13 season, 10-12 in the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference.

It was love and first sight for Mina. "When I went on my visit, I found the community and the people very inviting," Mina explained. "I loved the area and felt a family-type atmosphere." Pueblo is a town of about 100,000 in the southern part of Colorado and the school is the fastest growing university in the Centennial state.

What Thunderwolves fans will be seeing from Mina is "a lot of versatility. I can go inside and bang with the big guys and also shoot from outside (he shot 47% overall, 37% from three-point range this past season). I also think I'm a good teammate."

A multi-sport participant when younger, Mina settled on basketball. "I fell in love with it -- it was the sport I looked forward to waking up and playing everyday."

Influencing him in his attraction to basketball were Bradshaw Christian Coach Mike Ruble and teammate during high school and also at CRC, Orion Kidd. "I've been friends so long with Orion, we call each other brother."

Asked about his best time on the basketball court, Mina offered, "It was at ARCO Arena in the sectionals. I was averaging 11 and five but I had 26 points, 17 rebounds and six blocked shots." He believes that basketball life moment was what fully convinced him that a scholarship would be forthcoming if he kept working at getting better at everything.

Mina wished to thank all the assistance from "Coach Giacomazzi, Coach Ruble, Jordan Shortino, my grandmother, my brother and all my friends and teammates in high school and junior college" for helping him get to this point.