Posted On: 05/26/17 11:34 AM
Puerto Rico native Giovanni Santiago (2018) is three days away from celebrating one whole year spent in the United States. Yet, the 6’0” point guard from Cincinnati Hughes has already established himself as a Division I prospect, and one of the best floor generals Ohio has to offer.
“Yeah I have one [offer from Northern Kentucky] … I think it was a month ago. Yeah they came to watch me play at an open gym,” Santiago told Prep Hoops.
The emerging local Division I program isn’t the only one keeping Santiago on their radar. Other programs, who aren’t quite as close to the Queen City, have put Santiago on their recruiting radar also.
“Stony Brook, when they recruited Corry [Long], they’d come to some of the practices and start asking about me. It’s not really an offer, but they’re kind of interested right now. And they said they will come one day to watch me play AAU,” Santiago said.
“Those two and Akron has been asking about me. The last one has been Ashland University.”
“Stony Brook and Ashland and Northern Kentucky, they’re speaking with me. The ones at Akron, they’re speaking with the coach, the high school coach,” Santiago said.
When we asked Santiago what he’s looking for in a school, he made it rather clear that he’s still figuring that sort of thing out by remaining impressionable.
“Right now, I’m open minded. Like I told you, I’m from another country. So, it’s just open-minded right now and waiting for my opportunity.”
— Giovanni Santiago (@giova10sf) May 21, 2017
The elusive lefty is playing summer ball with the Team One Phenoms, alongside some other talented Southwest Ohio prospects.
We only had the chance to watch his team on one weekend, at the Circle City Shootout in Indianapolis. Santiago’s talent is immediately recognizable.
The point guard operates the hardwood in a fluid fashion. He’s always looking to find passing angles, which are ever-widening as he splashes home pull-ups consistently.
But, according to Santiago himself, there’s a lot of room for improvement.
“I’m working on my handles, my decision-making. I’m working out with the team, having open gyms and all that. I’ll be in the weight room … I think I’m doing pretty good [this spring], but I still have a lot of things to work on and accomplish, so I’m not satisfied right now,” Santiago said.
He also has some more specific parts of the game he’s developing.
“Slowing down the games, to control more of the pace of the game. Better decisions in the pick and roll, making them quicker … This year at Hughes, we played more of a fast tempo, so I think I play better that way. But I can play a slow tempo too. But I think I prefer the fast tempo, because I got the open floor and I can see more of the court.”
When asked about his strengths, Santiago talked about everything in the context of the team.
“Making my team better. My leadership. I would say, the decision-making again; I can see the court different than other guys.”
Currently, the cerebral player has a 3.2 GPA and scored a 15 on his first ACT. While he’s not satisfied with the ACT score and is re-taking it, it’s mostly due to his understanding of the English language.
“I had a pretty good grade on math and science, but when it came down to reading and English, my points went down … I would say that I for real starting learning English when I was 13 years old,” Santiago said.
Santiagho will not be playing in any tournaments this weekend.