How A Trip to Puerto Rico Changed A Basketball Player’s Game

Photo courtesy of

Photo courtesy of

Sean Browne, Editor in Chief

For Pace men’s basketball player Victor Jusino, basketball isn’t just a game. It is a lifestyle that has taken him to the island of Puerto Rico.

“When I played in Puerto Rico I was representing my country,” Jusino said. “It was a great experience, and I just learned so much .”

The New Jersey native has been a basketball junkie his entire life. But he would have never thought that his talents would take him Puerto Rico.

While in high school, Jusino became in close contact with a scout for the Junior National Puerto Rican Team and eventually that relationship propelled him to a spot on the team when he was 16.

Playing in Puerto Rico was definitely a different experience for Jusino, especially the little things.

“They do not play in air conditioned gyms so it’s not as spoiled as it is here,” Jusino said. “They like to think that it makes you tougher.”

The style of play was something  that was new for Jusino.

“In America there is a lot of ball screens and pick and rolls,” Jusino said. “There I do not think we had a ball screen, it was all knowing when to cut and knowing your back door passes. Also, the shot clock was twenty-four seconds so that was different too.”

While Jusino had to transition playing in Puerto Rico, it was off the court that proved to be difficult for Jusino.

“I was going there for a month by myself and it was the first time I was on my own , so I was nervous in that regard.” Jusino said.” I also did not speak Spanish all that well, and my teammates all spoke Spanish and my coaches did too.”

However, Jusino was not alone, having family on the island meant that Jusino was able to connect with his grandparents and other family that he had never met before.

Once he got adjusted to the island, Jusino found great appreciation in representing Puerto Rico on and off the court.

His appreciation for playing in Puerto Rico has carried over to his game here at Pace.

He uses his experiences giving a helping hand to his teammates.

“I will use some of the things that I learned down there to help my guys,” Jusino said.” There are little things that I will pick up on and try to help everybody out, whether it is a freshmen, my own class or even a senior.”

Jusino also learned to importance  of being on a team, and knowing that you’re a representing a community.

“You are representing a whole number of people when you play the game,” Jusino said.” When you put on the Pace jersey you represent Pace, and when you put on the Puerto Rican jersey, you represent Puerto Rico.”