2001-03-17 / Sports

Athlete Of The Week: Richard George, Jr.

Athlete Of The Week: Richard George, Jr.

By Emanuel Jalonschi

Over the last few weeks the paper has been very fortunate to have several very talented athletes featured in this section. We have had basketball stars, tennis stars and even lacrosse stars.

This week we’ve hit the jackpot. We get two for the price of one. Our featured athlete, Richard George, Jr., is a dual sport star. He is a standout baseball and basketball player out of the Rockaways.

A sophomore at Loyola High School in Manhattan, Richard exemplifies the blue-collar athlete. Between his responsibilities to the two sports and his academic work, he has squeezed in trying to get himself recruited by a big name college or two.

He typifies dedication to athletics. "I want and will play baseball in college," says the determined infielder/rebounder.

As a power forward at Loyola High’s basketball team, he is, as he himself puts it, "a physical player." He scores about 6 a game and has three assists. Add on 12 rebounds and 3 blocks a game and you see how he becomes an even more complete player. Consider that he’s 6’3" and weighs 175 pounds as only a sixteen-year-old sophomore in high school and his potential becomes obvious.

This past year his team went to Madison Square Garden for their league championship. "I got to play ball in the greatest arena in America. It was the most amazing thing to play on the same court as Allan Houston." Loyola won in a crunching double-overtime game that went on so long that the Knicks and Seattle Supersonics (who were scheduled to play later that night) actually had to delay their warm-ups.

He picked up basketball in third grade after his family moved out to the Rockaways. Baseball, on the other hand, he’s been playing since he was a four-year-old kid living in Tennessee.

When playing baseball, he is mainly a shortstop but also serves as a utility player. It’s hard to compare him to any professional baseball players out there. "If only Randy Velarde could switch hit." Well, he’s got a couple of other things up on Randy Velarde. He bats just under .500 with a fielding percentage above .920. During the 30-game season, Richard only had 2 errors. He did have over 25 runs batted in though.

As a freshman he won the varsity starting shortstop position from the captain of the team. "I knew I could hit anyone," says the confident Richard George. "It was just really hard for a freshman on a good team to win the starting job from the captain." Loyola High School is no slouch so this wasn’t an easy position to take over. With him batting third in the line-up, Loyola won the league last year. This fall, they entered an independent little league and they won that as well.

This isn’t the first time Richard has graced the pages of the Wave. Last year he was featured for his late inning heroics to win his high school championship game.

With all this success, you’d think that it would go to his head. Not this kid. When asked who the most important role model in his career so far has been, he quickly responds "without a doubt, my father and my grandfather."

Richard, who grew up a Cubs fan but has converted to the Yankees, has dreams of playing in Yankee stadium. "It would be so amazing to just walk out on the field where Mantle and all those guys played."

How dedicated to his dream and in love with the game is Richard? "I could just spend forever with my dad hitting me grounders and my brother standing over by first waiting for me to throw him the baseball."

With his potential, dedication and love for both basketball and baseball you need to remember the name of Richard George, Jr. You may just hear it over the loudspeaker at Madison Square Garden or Yankee Stadium.

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