Player of the Week, Profiled - Written by Kram Staff on Monday, January 21, 2013 22:03 - 0 Comments
Since a very young age Adonis Monfort-Palomino knew he wanted to be great at the game of basketball.
The game is a 24/7, year-round obsession for the 16-year-old, who gets the added advantage of serious basketball tutoring outside of high school ball from his parents, who run Calgary Foundations basketball club in Calgary.
The 5’9″ guard has meticulously studied everything and anything related to the game he loves to help him add more pieces to his already deadly arsenal of hard court weapons. He’s logged hours upon hours in gyms across the city, honing a craft that he’s hoping will lead to a free ride at a post secondary school north or south of the 49th parallel.
And thanks to his dedication, hope is turning to reality thanks to his incredible growth as a player and the positive national attention he’s getting thanks to rock-solid performances in exposure camps and knowledgeable basketball pundits like North Pole Hoops, who send nothing but positive vibes towards the young man.
“I’ve always had a love for the game,” explained Monfort-Palomino. “Because of my parents I’ve had no other choice but to dribble that basketball and I just breath, sleep and eat basketball. I’m always searching on the internet, I’m always watching it. I love to play the game.”
His progression is showing no signs of slowing down as the 2012/13 season moves along. In fact, it’s picking up some serious steam. He’s garnering plenty of attention from college scouts and coaches from Canada and the United States.
So far this season he’s led the Bulldogs to a 3-0 regular season record, and most recently he captured the MVP award at the Bedford Road Invitational Tournament in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, which the Bulldogs won thanks to a 76-73 finals win over Garden City High School from Winnipeg. The only hiccup he and the Bulldogs have had this season is a surprise loss in the final of the Calgary Basketball Classic against the Bishop O’Byrne Bobcats.
As a second year high school player Monfort-Palomino has already established himself as a special player. The success started last year, where he seamlessly fit into the Sir Winston Churchill Bulldog’s senior boys basketball team as a grade-10 student. He quickly earned the starting point guard position and carried the momentum all the way to a team MVP award.
So far this season he’s averaging 18 PPG, 8 APG and 3 RPG. Along with taking care of business as far as stats are concerned he’s also taken on the leadership role on a team that is considered one of the best high school teams in the country.
“Probably the biggest thing that he brings is leadership and calmness,” said Bulldogs head coach Mike Fullerton. “It’s on the floor and obviously off the floor in terms of leadership and being a good student athlete. But on the floor it’s leadership and he brings a certain calmness to the team.”
“It’s extremely rare. He was the leader of the team last year, and as a result of his play last year, MVP of the senior team as a grade 10.”
The calmness Fullerton talks about becomes obvious when you watch Monfort-Palomino play. Like any good player, he manages to perform extremely difficult things at an extremely high pace, only when the ball is in his hands the pace of the game seems to slow down. Before the defence knows what happened, the ball is tickling the twine on it’s way to two, maybe three easy points.
Knowing what Monfort-Palomino brings to his team, Fullerton has implemented an up-tempo style of play that allows his athletic roster to use their skills to wear down opponents.
“I love it,” said Monfort-Palomino. “Since a young age I’ve been playing at that kind of tempo. I like pushing the ball, I like to push the ball because I’d like to think I’m fast. I love playing at that tempo.”
“Coach Fullerton and Coach Tudor, they’ve established that type of game. In our first practice we were just running sideline to sideline. It’s a very fast tempo, like a Phoenix Suns type of thing.”
Speed is without a doubt his most effective weapon. It allows him to gain some space to set up a jump shot, find open teammates before the defence has a chance to get set and get to the rack when a lane opens up. Either way, chances are that when the ball is in his hands something good will happen offensively.
“My quickness really helps me with my shooting and my passing and getting to the rack,” said Monfort-Palomino.
“I’m creative and I like distributing to the rest of my team and trust my teammates,” said Monfort-Palomino. “I like mixing it up when I’m attacking, shooting, pulling up. When the creativity kicks in it’s all about the instincts for me. I love getting my teammates easy shots, keeping the coaches happy and being that pure point guard.”
Keeping the coaches happy is something he doesn’t need to worry about, they’re well aware that they have a special player on their roster, and even better, they get to keep him for another year past this season. For them the job is easy when it comes to managing Monfort-Palomino – put him in a position to be successful and let him do his thing.
“He’s had a lot of terrific coaching over the years and we’re just reaping the benefit of it right here, there’s absolutely no doubt,” said Fullerton. “My job is just to give him an opportunity to put him in a position to use what he’s learned.”
“We’ve had a lot of good players come through here, but a kid that is able to see the floor and get the ball to where it needs to go, knock the shot down when he has to, but his strength is on-the-ball defence too, it’s unbelievable. He’s a real shut-down guy.”
Monfort-Palomino’s speed is definitely an asset on the defensive end as well. In a league that is stacked with excellent point guards he’s pretty much guaranteed to draw a tough matchup each and every night. But the intense pace at both ends of the court is exactly why he loves the game and where his work ethic shines.
Skipping a season with the junior team and moving straight to the senior team was a huge plus for Monfort-Palomino, especially when it comes to feeling comfortable with the leadership expected of him by his coaches as well as the demands of point guard position. Typically, a guard is looked upon to dictate a game by controlling the pace and ensuring teammates on the court are involved.
“I’ve always been in that leadership position because of my point guard position,” said Monfort-Palomino. “My coaches have always pushed me to be that type of leader that you can always depend on and be that second type of coach on the floor.”
“I feel a lot more mature out there and I know what it takes, I’ve seen the championship teams. I have a great coaching staff that’s always pushing me to make the right decisions and push me to the next level.”
Like any young player, there are things that still need to be learned to keep advancing to the next level. Monfort-Palomino knows that his offence needs to be more consistent, especially his jump shot.
“Consistencey with my shot,” said Monfort-Palomino when talking about areas he wants to improve in. “I’m always looking for constancy in my shot and I’d like to be a knock-down shooter by the time I graduate. I’m also working on finding my teammates where they like the ball and controlling the complete tempo of the game.”
Knowing his weaknesses and being willing to work on them to make himself an even more complete player is another reason why his future is so bright. Settling for mediocrity is out of the question.
“I compare him to Ryan Weatherall, who went through here 2003 to 2006,” said Fullerton. “Ryan was a walk-on at USC and then was a scholarship player until he was injured, and then he finished his career at another university in Los Angeles. He had an unbelievable work ethic. It was unbelievable and I’d never seen anything like it, but Adonis is that kid now. I see it in him all the time.”
But before he starts thinking too much about basketball life beyond high school Monfort-Palomino knows there’s still plenty of business to take care of, both as a basketball player and a student. Based on what we’ve seen so far, chances are good we’ll be watching him play for many more years. The only question is where?
KRAM 5 with Adonis Monfort-Palomino
Who is your favourite NBA Team? Los Angeles Clippers
Who is your favourite NBA Player? Chris Paul
What are your sneakers of choice? Nike
What is your favourite pre-game meal? Salad and Chicken Breast
What is your favourite movie? Coach Carter