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Coronavirus Shuts Out College Basketball Fans As Latinos Make Impact On Court

Credit: Robert Cole

New York- March Madness has started but college basketball teams involved in conference tournaments and the NCAA Tournament will play in empty venues. The NCAA, Wednesday evening, announced that tournament games will not be played before fans due to the concern and precautions of the Coronavirus.

But the games go on, at least for the moment as the situation continues to change every hour. And there are many players of Latino descent who are on the court for their respective teams.

They are making an impact. Once it was boxing, and of course always baseball. Now, and in this past decade the game of basketball has opened more doors for Latinos.

They predominantly come from Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic. A baseball has been replaced with a basketball. There is more of a presence of basketball academies in latin America.

The academies are as popular as the training grounds that have been established by Major League Baseball in Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic.

This week, even as fans are not permitted to attend, college conference tournaments are taking place around the nation and more than one Latino player is making an impact.

Wednesday evening in Brooklyn NY, at the Barclays Center, the Atlantic-10 Men’s Tournament began.

On the court for Fordham, Josh Colon. The junior guard from Carolina, Puerto Rico, who has scored double figures in four of his last six games, got the playing time.

Though scoring three points, Colon was the ball handler. He controlled the court and got the ball to freshman Joel Soriano, who according to coach Jeff Neubauer, has come to be a player with more playing time.

Credit: Robert Cole

Soriano. scored 14 points with 12 rebounds as Fordham advanced in the A-10 Tournament first round with a 72-62 win over George Washington. Soriano had four double-doubles in his last five games.

“Rebuilding my confidence each and every game,”Soriano said. “Work and shoot the ball. Before the game we talked about this. We got the first one.”

The Rams, seeded last of the 14 teams, advance to play Duquesne Thursday evening.

On the other side, Arnaldo Toro, senior from Hormiguero Puerto Rico, scored two points.

Primarily used off the bench, the 6-8 forward, got his start at St. Benedict’s Prep in New Jersey and progressed at George Washington. Earlier this season, Toro had a season high 22 points against Howard University.

Credit: Robert Cole

The tournament continues Thursday afternoon. Thursday’s games and Friday’s quarterfinal contests will be televised on NBCSN and accessed digitally on the NBC Sports App, starting at noon.

Saturday’s semifinal contests will be aired on the CBS Sports Network, beginning at 1 p.m., and Sunday’s championship game will be televised on CBS at 1 p.m.


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