Photo courtesy of Damion Reid/News 12 Varsity
By David Cordova
For many, many years, St. Raymond High School of the Bronx has produced plenty of talent, especially in the guard department. Their guards can do one or two things, either lead or score, another thing they can do is play defense.
Throughout the years, they have had plenty of elite guards come through their doors, such as Eddie Rivera (UTEP), Terrence Rencher (Texas), Kareem Reid (Arkansas), Majestic Mapp (Virginia), Allan Ray (Villanova), Darryl Bryant (West Virginia and most recently, Isaiah Washington (Minnesota).
There is another great guard on the horizon in the Ravens’ Nest. The guard’s name is Omar Silverio. The 6-foot-3 senior guard is a shooter that is lights-out from three-point range and will do whatever he has to do to get the ball in the basket.
When asked to describe his game, he replied, “Shooter, passer, all-around player on the court, basically. I can shoot, I can pass, I can be scrappy, so everything, basically.”
Silverio is a product of Santiago, Dominican Republic that hails from the Bronx. When asked what motivates him to be successful in the game of basketball, he replied, “Coming from D.R., coming from a city in which nobody plays sports, I do it so my family can be proud of me.”
So far, Silverio has only been playing the game since he was in the seventh grade, but one would never know it from his skill level. He once played baseball, which is the native sport in the Dominican Republic, but then turned it down in order to play on the hardwood.
Another player from Santiago that also turned down the baseball diamond for the hardwood is none other than Felipe Lopez, a basketball legend was the No. 1 high school player in the United States out of Harlem’s Rice High School in 1994. Lopez then graced the cover of Sports Illustrated before ever playing a college game at St. John’s University. He then played four years for the Red Storm and scored 1,222 points in his collegiate career and then played four seasons in the NBA with three teams.
When asked about the basketball culture in Santiago, Silverio replied, “Basketball is not really the main sport over there, it’s baseball. Every kid plays that over there.”
Since his freshman year, he’s been at St. Raymond, where he’s also been a four-year player on the varsity. When asked about why he chose to be a Raven, he replied, “The environment, I like the coaches, people at St. Ray’s, the students, teachers, everything is perfect.”
When asked to describe his time at St. Raymond, he replied, “Amazing, I like the school, everything basically. Every day I learn something new, so that’s the good thing about it.”
Another program that he has a strong connection with is New Heights, an AAU program and a community-based organization that he’s been with since middle school. “They were the first people that was there for me. That’s family right there, whatever they need in the future, I’ll try to give it to them,” says Silverio about his close relationship with the program. Over this past summer, he averaged 7.5 points per game on the Under Armour Association for New Heights.
He had plenty of offers from mid-major schools such as Fordham, UMass, Rhode Island, Dayton and VCU. But when it came time to make his decision, he chose Santa Clara in October. Santa Clara plays in the West Coast Conference, in which they will see opponents such as BYU, Loyola-Marymount, Pepperdine, Saint Mary’s and Gonzaga, who just came off of an appearance in the Final Four. When he walks into Santa Clara next fall, Silverio will be ready for battle.
One of the main reasons as to why he committed to Santa Clara was the recruiting of assistant coach Julius Hodge, a 2001 graduate of St. Raymond, who was a McDonald’s All-American, played four years at North Carolina State and spent some time in the NBA with the New Jersey Nets and the Denver Nuggets. Also, Silverio will be playing for an established head coach in Herb Sendek, who was won Coach of the Year awards in schools such as Miami (Ohio), North Carolina State and Arizona State, respectively.
“Julius Hodge and Herb Sendek,” said Silverio about the reason he committed to the Broncos. “Both of them are great coaches and I think I’ll be really successful over there in California and in the West Coast and I like the conference.”
With his collegiate commitment locked in, all Silverio has to do now is focus on his senior season, in which he is now the elder statesman on a team full of underclassmen. Last season as a junior, he was the second-leading scorer with 16 points per game, and he also averaged six rebounds and four assists. So far, in the first five games of this season, he has averaged 15.4 points for the Ravens.
His mission for this season: “I mean, [be] the best Omar I can be right now, so whatever the coach needs me to do, I’ll do, I’ll just go out there and play my game.”
Highlights of Omar Silverio:
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Courtesy of Bingo’s All-Stars.