Manhattan’s Michael Alvarado helped lead his team to a 71-68 win over Iona in the MAAC tourney title game on Monday, securing the league’s automatic bid to the NCAA tourney. CHD’s Jon Teitel sat down with the senior point guard to discuss his international experience and the importance of FT shooting.
You and your college teammate Emmy Andujar played for Puerto Rico at the 2010 FIBA Americas U18 Championship: which of your opponents impressed you the most (Myck Kabongo/Kyle Wiltjer/Lucas Nogueira/other)? I would say Canadian PG Myck Kabongo due to his all-around talent, as well as the PG for Brazil (Raulzinho Neto).
You currently play for Coach Steve Masiello: what makes him such a good coach, and what is the most important thing that you ever learned from him? The most important thing is his work ethic: he preaches it all the time. He also has taught us the right thing to do from a disciplinary standpoint, and we trusted him.
In mid-November you scored 8 PTS in a 6-PT loss to GW: what makes the Colonials so good, and what did you learn from that loss that you think can help you in the postseason? Their record speaks for itself: they are a good team. We just learn from every game whether we win or lose and keep moving on.
Your team was 14-6 through the end of January, but has won 11 of 12 since then: what changed to allow your team to go on such an amazing run? Not really: we just tried to work hard at practice and enjoy the moment. We take pride in our defense and stuck with it.
Your FG%/APG went way up this year, but your FT shooting dropped from 82% to 66%: what is the key to making FTs, and do you attribute your decline due to something physical or mental or other? It is just technique: I need to put more time into practicing FTs, but I will be fine for the tourney.
Your team shot almost 1000 FTs this season, which is among the best in the nation: how much of an emphasis does your team place on being aggressive offensively? Before every game Coach preaches to not settle for jump shots and get into the paint.
You scored 2 PTS in a 3-PT win over Iona in the title game on Monday: were you out for revenge after losing to them by 3 PTS in last year’s title game, and what was the feeling like in your locker room afterward? You could say it was revenge, but we would have come out with the same mentality regardless of our opponent because we did not want to lose for the 2nd year in a row. It was crazy in the locker room: everyone was excited and a couple of guys were even crying tears of joy.
SR SF George Beamon was named conference tourney MVP: how crucial has he been to your team’s success this year? Not only does he lead us in scoring, but he helps us with every other category too: his rebounding, his defense, and his leadership on the court.
Your school is in the NCAA tourney for the 1st time since 2004: what has the reaction been like since you got back to campus? There is a lot of excitement with people congratulating us everywhere we go, so we are just blessed. We worked real hard for this and everyone is supporting us.
What kind of seed do you think you will get, and what kind of seed do you think you deserve? It does not really matter: we are just happy to be in the tourney. We know we could lose in the 1st round depending on our match-up, so we will just go out and play.