Kyle Cuffe, Jr: An Athlete Makes His Name on the Hardwood

Photo courtesy of Dave’s Joint.

By David Cordova.

Whenever Kyle Cuffe, Jr. is on the court, he will give plenty of energy and is a driven competitor. He will also bring plenty of athleticism, as he is known for his ferocious dunks on the court. If you are under the basket, move out or become a part of the wrong side highlight-reel mixtape.

The 6-foot-1 sophomore guard has shown plenty of promise throughout this season and it has landed him plenty of attention and offers from plenty of Division I schools throughout the nation. Chances are, there will be more and more of those coming his way very soon as his game continues to improve.

When asked what motivates him to be successful on the court, Cuffe replied, “Making sure my teammates get involved, listening to music before the game and get hype.”

Cuffe drives to the hole during the Kyrie Invitational at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn back in December. (Photo courtesy of Dave’s Joint)

Cuffe, originally from Harlem, but now lives in Toms River, New Jersey, is definitely a city kid at heart. He learned the game from his father, Kyle Cuffe, Sr., who played at Rice High School in Manhattan and played four years at St. John’s University.

On the hoops tutelage from his father, the younger Cuffe replied, “My dad went to St. John’s University and played for Rice High School, so I get all of my basketball experience from him. He played with Andre Barrett, Kenny Satterfield and Anthony Glover. My dad told me work hard, there’s going to be days when I don’t want to work hard, but if I keep up the intensity and keep up the energy, then things will go my way.”

On the strengths and weaknesses in his game, he replied, “Right now, my strengths is working hard, I’m good on defense. Right now, what I need to work on is being locked in, got to get some shots in, I need to work on my shooting, ball-handling and things like that, but it’s coming along.”

Cuffe goes up to the basket for two points. (Photo courtesy of Dave’s Joint)

One of Cuffe’s greatest qualities on the court is his amazing leaping ability when going up for a dunk. When asked about his secret to his leaping ability, he replied, “I don’t even know what my vertical is, it’s like a 42, 43. The secret to my bounce, I have no idea, I haven’t worked on it yet, I’m trying to work on it right now, though.”

From his younger years up until last summer, Cuffe played for the legendary New York Gauchos program. When asked about playing for the Gauchos, he replied, “With that experience, I didn’t play the guard position at all. I played the four and the five, that’s where I got my toughness from, playing down low with bigs and stuff. And now, it carried over for me with the guard position.”

Throughout high school, he was always at top-flight academic prep schools. When asked about his time at the academically-elite institutions and what it’s done for him, he replied, “The prep school experience is way better then going to school in New York, I believe. It forces you to be ready for real-life situations besides basketball, and you play better competition, I feel like.”

Cuffe looks to pass the ball to a teammate during the Kyrie Invitational. (Photo courtesy of Dave’s Joint)

Cuffe first started out high school at Avon Old Farms School in Avon, Connecticut, where he made a name for himself. When asked about his time at Avon Old Farms, he replied, “What Avon did, it prepared me to come to Blair, and it made me see what type of player I could be, what type of player I could become, and Blair now is showing me and putting the pieces together and paying attention to detail.”

After two years, he decided to transfer to Blair Academy, the prep powerhouse in Blairstown Township, New Jersey, which has produced several NBA players such as Charlie Villanueva, Luol Deng, Royal Ivey (now the assistant coach for the New York Knicks) and Marial Shayok (Philadelphia 76ers).

When asked about what made him want to come to Blair, Cuffe replied, “What led me to come to Blair was Coach [Joe] Mantegna and Coach [Jon] DeJesus. They’re known for getting people into great colleges and making sure that you’re paying attention to detail, like I said. Blair, so far, has been great, I’ve learned so much from Coach Mantegna and Coach DeJesus.”

Cuffe shoots a free throw during the Kyrie Invitational back in December. (Photo courtesy of Dave’s Joint)

This summer, Cuffe will be playing for the Pro Scholars Athletics Cardinals on the Nike EYBL circuit. When asked about playing for PSA, he replied, “In a short time, they’ve allowed me to go to camps like Hoop Group, Pangos, and different college elite camps. That’s helped me a lot in my recruiting and things like that, I was able to pick up Stony Brook and Holy Cross.”

In a short amount of time, he has gained offers from other schools such as Manhattan, St. John’s, Hofstra, UConn, Seton Hall, Iona, Pittsburgh and UCLA. Pretty soon, he’ll able to gain more schools as he continues to get better and better.

This season, he helped lead Blair to a 19-4 record and a MAPL championship, as well as an appearance in the New Jersey prep state championship game, where they lost to Blair.

Cuffe rattles home a one-handed dunk in the Kyrie Invitational. (Photo courtesy of Dave’s Joint)

Last summer, Cuffe played at the Dyckman Basketball Tournament in the Inwood section of Manhattan and had a tremendous two-handed dunk on a defender. When asked about playing streetball, he replied, “I never really played it as much, but usually I’m in the gym at Gauchos, and things like that, but the last few summers, I’ve been playing at Dyckman, and it’s been fun. I like playing against old teammates like Malachi Smith, so it was cool playing against old friends and things like that.”

And what’s next for Cuffe? “Working on my shooting, helping my teammates through long stretches, and try to win a MAPL championship and a state championship.”

Now, the young Cuffe has two more years to go in high school. Chances are that for him, the best is yet to come.

3 thoughts on “Kyle Cuffe, Jr: An Athlete Makes His Name on the Hardwood

  1. Hey, Dave! Know you like to do articles about City kids doing well. Appears that Brooklynite Travis Atson will be joining Unique McLean on the St. Francis College Terriers for the 2020-2021 season. (Let’s hope we have one!) Both Atson and McLean played on the New York team in the 2016 Jordan Brand Classic Regional Game held at the Barclay’s Center in April 2016. Atson and McLean scored 20+ points apiece in that game, which was loaded with talent throughout for both the Team New York and Team East rosters. Interesting article may be how they feel about being reunited again and whether they think they help can push the Terriers into the NCAA Big Dance after all these years. Coach Braica has his entire backcourt coming back, including McLean, and All-NEC pick Chauncey Hawkins and NEC All-Rookie Rob Higgins. Rumor is that Braica did very well restocking the frontcourt, including Atson’s addition. Understand that online Brooklyn Paper had an article on Shamorie Ponds, Atson and McLean around that time. Stay well.

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  2. In looking at the SFC backcourt, doubt if any other NEC program is as deep. Hawkins, McLean and Higgins, backed up by Stevan Krtinic and youtube sensation Larry Moreno, is a tough combination to defensively plan for.

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  3. St. Francis just announced adding four bigs, including 6-8/220 Rheaquone Taylor, who graduated a couple of years ago from OSL HS in The Bronx and should be an absolute beast in the NEC. Also added another promising Brooklyn kid, 6-7/220 Eli Hardison from Xaverian HS. Things really looking up.

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