Monday, December 16, 2013

Slow Motion With Ivan Gandia

For those of you who have had the pleasure of watching Ivan Gandia play basketball one of the many things that sticks out is that he looks like he is playing in slow motion. He is a lefty so everything he does looks different but the result is always the same. Gandia makes plays and now he is learning to be a true playmaker by making those around him better. The 6'1 Class of 2016 PG is doing his thing at high school powerhouse Huntington Prep. He decided to transfer late this summer after having an incredible run with the PR 16U National Team. IPRB caught up with Gandia in between taking midterms. Q: You were one of the last kids from the 2016 PR Playmakers Team to decide to go to the states. Why did you decide to leave? A: It will challenge me in all aspects of my life. In the basketball court, academically and also in life because I had to leave friends, family and old school to be here. Q: Moving from Puerto Rico to West Virginia is a huge jump. What is living in West Virginia like? A: It's a lot different. Moving from a tropical island in PR to West Virginia where it gets to cold sometimes was hard. Hopefully I'm adapting well to the weather. Also, the people are so nice so sometimes I feel like I'm home. Q: You had a great summer playing for the 16U National team. You led the team in scoring and proved you could play against the best players in the world. What was that experience like? A: It was a great experience playing against the best players in America. Especially against the USA. It was one of the best experiences of my life. Q: A lot of young players are leaving Puerto Rico to go the states. Why do you think so many kids are leaving? A: The elite and best basketball is in the USA and better chances to go to college is better in USA. Q:You are playing with several high major D1 prospects at Huntington Prep. What is practice like everyday? A: In practice is where you earn your playing time and your spot on the team. In games we support and cheer for each other but practice is where you gotta show what you can do. Practicing with D1 prospects everyday shows me all the areas I have to get better when I have to guard people stronger quicker and better than me. Q: Huntington's Head Coach, Rob Fulford is a great guy and a really good coach. What have you learned from him since being there? A: I've learned that you gotta have pride in everything you do and play hard every time. Q: You talked about guarding players that are quicker and stronger then you. Is that one of the big differences playing at an elite level. In Puerto Rico most teams play zone. Was that an adjustment for you to learn to play man to man? A: Definitely. My last years in PR I played a little man to man but is totally different guarding man to man the whole game than just sometimes. Also guarding players quicker and stronger is a whole new level. Q: You never know how things may work out but you guys could end up playing St. Benedicts at the NHSI this year. Huntington didn't play in it last year but you guys are loaded with talent and should make a run at a National Championship. Have you spoken to Arnaldo, Nick, Josh or Edwin since you got t West Virginia. And if you play St. Benedicts do you think you will beat them? A: Unfortunately I haven't talked to them but if we play them I think we can beat them! Q: We got a hold of a video clip of you putting in work! . How cool was it to see yourself on a highlight video of your team? A: Well I felt really good because that is the second video of team highlights. Is a great experience. Q: You are playing this summer in the 17U World Championship. Your team has tons of talent. Do you think PR can win a World Championship this summer? A: We can get far in the tournament. We have a good team that can make damage. We definitely can be in the top spots. Q: PR Playmakers 16U is playing some live events this spring before you guys go play for the National Team. Are you going to play for PRP again this summer? Q: Hopefully I'll be there!