Jamaican Facey heads to UConn

Long Island Lutheran’s Kentan Facey #22 in action against Bayside during a high school basketball game at Baruch College in New York, Monday, Jan. 21, 2013. L.I. Lutheran won the game 58-55.
AP Photo/Gregory Payan

Kentan Facey, a senior at Long Island Lutheran High School, located in Brookville, New York, grew up in St. Bolt, located in Jamaica, West Indies. His high school days took him from playing soccer for three years and at the same time basketball. He also indulged in cricket, competing with his friends.

After he gave up soccer, he concentrated more on basketball, especially when he came north. He was 15 years old when he started playing more of the latter activity in Jamaica, his native land. He focused more on conditioning than at any other aspect of the hoop sport.

“That’s the difference between basketball here (in America) and basketball in Jamaica,” the 6’9” forward said. “In Jamaica we worked on our legs and on exercise. Here we work more on skill development (including) shooting.”

He was 16 years of age when he came to New York.

Facey started his high school days at a private school in Deer Park, located in Suffolk County and transferred to another private school, Long Island Lutheran located in Brookville, Nassau County. At the latter school, there was better quality of basketball. He wanted more competition than he was getting in Suffolk County to better his game. After he entered LIL, he felt that he was getting better coaching and played with and against better competition.

“Lutheran had a better developed program and was better both academically and in athletics,” he added.

“When he first started being involved in basketball, he didn’t know much about the game. Now he understands it more. It’s coming easier to him nowadays.”

Long Island Lutheran recently competed in the 10th annual Big Apple Invitational at Baruch College in Manhattan, with big crowds including college recruiters sitting in the stands and taking notes about what could be their future players.

“We played in a well organized tournament,” said assistant coach Ronn Hall, “and we had good competition.”

“It’s a great opportunity for teams to compete in such a big classic,” said Facey.

Besides Long Island Lutheran other participating teams in the classic included Hills West, South Shore, East Boston, Vermont Academy, Massanutes, Military Academy, Pope John XXIII, Wings Academy, Prnceton Day Academy, St. Frances, Curtis, Coolidge, Bayside, and Thomas Jefferson.

Facey has certainly improved from his junior to senior years of high school ball..

“I understand the game a lot better now (especially) positioning on defense,” Facey added. “It’s coming easier to me now. Defensively I have to work on being at the right place at the right time.”

“He still has to work on his foot work and offensive aggressiveness,” said Long Island Lutheran Head Coach John Buck..

He is averaging around 14 points, 11 rebounds and four blocked shots a game this season at Lutheran. He credits all his coaches for his success in high school. They also include Josh Corbin, Mike Plunkett and Darrel Foster.

“They help me out by understanding the game and by working on defense, offense, and every aspect of the game,” the senior added. “They are very patient with me knowing that I haven’t been playing basketball my whole life. They are teaching me and fine tuning my game.’

Facey will be graduating in June and will continue his basketball and education at the University of Connecticut, which over the years had a very successful program in the Big East Conference. Highly recruited, he chose UConn over Virginia Tech, St. John’s, UCLA, and Rhode Island.

“That’s the college (UConn.) I wanted to go to since I came from Jamaica,” he went on. “The dream come to fruition (a reality now). My (immediate) goal is to do whatever it takes us to win the Double A Championship (at Long Island Lutheran come in March).”

Long Island Lutheran’s Kentan Facey #22 in action against Bayside during a high school basketball game at Baruch College in New York.
AP Photo/Gregory Payan

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