In the tremendously fickle college basketball recruiting world, Pete Aguilar saw schools pop up one minute, only to vanish the next.
However, Long Island University was the one program that stayed on the Mount St. Michael shooting guard from the beginning and that meant a lot to Aguilar, who verbally committed to the Broolyn school last week.
“I feel like they were the ones who stood by me,” said Aguilar. “That’s what I thought was the right fit for me.”
Aguilar chose LIU over St. Francis College in Brooklyn and Manhattan College. The proximity to home wasn’t as much a factor as Jim Ferry and his staff’s loyalty.
“I was willing to play anywhere because I felt I could play with anyone in the country,” Aguilar said. “I liked the campus and the coaching staff just stuck out to me. They seemed to be the kind of coaches I’ve been dealing with my whole life. They’ve been the most in contact with me.”
Aguilar said Ferry and his staff first expressed interest when they saw him at an AAU event in Las Vegas last July and remained in contact throughout his senior season. He took an unofficial visit to the Downtown Brooklyn campus last month and loved what he saw. That the Blackbirds are coming off their first trip to the NCAA tournament in 14 years was an added bonus.
“I met the team yesterday at an open gym and they seemed to be very cool people that I can get along with,” Aguilar said. “That’s a good thing.”
The 6-foot-2 Aguilar finished as Mount St. Michael’s all-time leading scorer with 1,881 career points and averaged 24.6 points per game, earning All-Bronx first team honors by The Post and helped lead the Mountaineers to the CHSAA Class A intersectional title.
“He had everything you’d want in a high school career,” Mount coach Tom Fraher said. “He started every game since his sophomore year, he led the city in scoring as a junior, was top three as a senior. He had a great career here.”
Aguilar is the first Mount player to land at a Division I school since Alejo Rodriguez went to Iona College in 2006 and Fraher thinks Aguilar’s skill-set translates well to the Northeast Conference.
“I think his strength is really going to help him,” Fraher said. “They really like the idea that he can finish and if he doesn’t finish, he gets fouled and he’s 90 percent from the free throw line. I think LIU has got themselves a real good player.”
Aguilar said he isn’t academically qualified yet. He said he suffers from delayed reading comprehension and will be taking an untimed SAT shortly and has plans on taking the ACT, as well. Instead of testing the murky prep school waters, Aguilar chose LIU even though he might not play as a partial qualifier his freshman year.
“I was thinking of going to prep school, but I didn’t want to go to high school for another year and maybe get lost in the prep school system,” Aguilar said. “Even if I have to sit out next year, I still get four years [to play]. That’s the school I want to be in.”