Player Portrait: Quiñones Ready To Make Puerto Rico Proud
Winter Garden, Fl. — Perhaps an underrated source of athletic talent, Puerto Rico has a fairly strong history of churning out quality hoops prospects, with the University of Illinois guard André Curbelo and St. John’s University commit, Rafael Pinzón, serving as the latest examples. Meanwhile, St. Benedict’s (NJ) Preparatory School duo of Aaron Clark and Aaron Davis have each earned impressive NCAA Division I offers while representing their Puerto Rican lineage.
Another young player with a bright future ahead of him is Felipe Quiñones. The Class of 2026 prospect has lived in the United States for less than three years but is already establishing his reputation on the hardwood among his seventh-grade peers across the country. While it may take some time before he is ready to become a major contributor, the talented backcourt prospect has the profile of a player that may soon be on the radar of the Puerto Rican Basketball Federation (Federación de Baloncesto de Puerto Rico).
Will Quiñones receive an invitation to join the Puerto Rico national basketball team (Selección de Baloncesto de Puerto Rico) in due time? If you ask the director of his current grassroots team, Mike Jelinsky of The Ivy Lions, the answer might surprise you.
“In a few years, when he’s older, I think that [Felipe] will have the choice between the Puerto Rican U17 team or the USA [Basketball] U17 team,” said Jelinsky.
Perhaps a bold statement, but there is no denying Quiñones’ talents. As a member of the Class of 2026, he already stands at 6-foot-1 with an even longer wingspan, and an enormous skill set. His long arms are perfect for the Ivy Lions scheme, as Quiñones anchors the top of the team’s diamond pressure defense. By most accounts, the wiry backcourt prospect is an absolute game-changer on the defensive end, capable of causing deflections as well as defending nearly any position due to his length.
“He [can] truly play any position on the floor,” Jelinsky commented. Against players in his age and grade division we play him some inside because of his size. His versatility is excellent. He’s not just versatile on the defensive end; he can get it done on offense as well.”
Quiñones is described by many to have a smooth handle, and he is a good passer, making him capable of running an offense. He can beat defenders off the bounce, can create space to generate his own offense, and has demonstrated a nice touch around the basket. Quiñones is also able to play with his back to the basket; in fact, he started his playing career as a big man.
Fast forward only a few years and he is now a slasher that can also knock down jumpers from well beyond the three-point line. As impressive as Quiñones’ physical tools and basketball skills are for his age, his versatility may not be his greatest strength.
“He’s capable of scoring 30 points on any given day against the best competition and he’s a very tough defender,” stated Jelinsky. “As remarkable as his versatility is, it’s his work ethic that is his biggest strength at this stage in his career. He works harder and harder on his game every day.”
Still a few months shy of his thirteenth birthday, Quiñones clearly has a bright future ahead of him. Currently, he’s committed to traveling from his home in Florida to New York, where he plays with The Ivy Lions on the travel circuit.
It’s too early to know if the Empire State could lure Quiñones to a high school like Long Island Lutheran that produced Curbelo and Pinzón or if the benefits of national hoops powerhouses like IMG Academy or Montverde Academy will tempt him to remain in Florida. Either way, expect Quiñones to have excellent options, and make his impact felt on the program that he ultimately chooses.
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