The City Rocks (NY) were sneaky good last year, due in large part to sophomore sharpshooter Andrew Platek. Adept at picking his spots and knocking down triples in key situations, Platek led the Rocks in scoring, and will make his encore on Saturday in Brooklyn.
He will be surrounded by a talented core, but will be expected to improve on his numbers from 2015. After speaking with the 6-foot-4 high-major prospect, expect a big showing during the circuit from Platek.
Read below, as Platek breaks down his high school season, workout routine, and plenty of topics on the EYBL & City Rocks.
Alec Kinsky: How has your time been at Northfield Mount Hermon? Break down the advantages it gives you, both by attending school and playing in the NEPSAC.
Andrew Platek: Well, as my coach always says, and this is true, it’s the best combination of academics and basketball anywhere in the country. Being at such a prestigious and rigorous school will help me tremendously in preparing for the academic part of college, which is half the battle. On the other hand, it is the best league in the country, in my opinion. You play multiple Division I guys night in and night out, there are no days off and you can’t take any team lightly. We bring our ‘A’ game every night because we have to in order to win.
AK: Walk me through a typical day for yourself…
Platek: Okay, this is for a Saturday home game. Usual day would be waking around 9:30 a.m, go grab some breakfast with the team, and then finish some homework. (If it’s a) six o’clock game, I would get up 200-300 shots and at least 50 makes from the (free-throw) line around 1 p.m. until 2 p.m.. After that I’d grab some lunch and go over the scouting report and see what the team is up to until 4:30 p.m.. After that, just stretching and team shooting to get ready for the game.
AK: What’s the biggest different between NEPSAC and EYBL?
Platek: The biggest difference I felt is the level of superstardom that is inherent in the EYBL. In the league, you’re playing against future lottery picks and pros from everywhere in the country. There’s no better competition and everyone you face wants to win more than the last. I love the competitive nature and the players. Playing against the best had made me a better player for sure.
AK: Does playing against that “superstardom” being your game to another level?
Platek: I believe it does. To be able to compete with the best and to have success both as a team and individually at the highest level with the best players is definitely a confidence booster. The mindset would be that “if I can play with them, I can with anyone.” It’s definitely elevated my game and the way I approach every time I step on the court, I take nothing for granted.
AK: Do you have any pregame rituals?
Platek: I wait for a good luck text from my mom and dad, and I’ll meditate for a few minutes in the locker room before hitting the court just to clear my head and focus only on what’s ahead.
AK: How are you approaching your second EYBL season compared to your first?
Platek: Last year, I didn’t really know what to expect, so I approached it with the same mentality as I did in previous years in AAU. It took a few games for me to get adjusted to the pace of play and the athleticism of some of the guys. It’s all a mental preparation for me. I know I’m going to get my body ready for the physical play and hone in on every aspect of my game. I’m going to approach this season as a leader to my teammates not only as an older guy, but as a veteran. I know what to expect now.
(Photo credit: Hardwood Insiders)
AK: Who is the best player you’ve played against?
Platek: Best player I’ve faced? Easy. De’Aaron Fox. Can’t describe the pace of play that kid plays with. Everything you want in a point guard, and one of, if not the fastest player I’ve ever see with a ball in my life.
AK: How do you think the City Rocks stack up this year?
Platek: We’ve added some new pieces in Kristers Zoriks, whom I’ve played against already and he is tough. I’ve played with many of the kids who will be on this year’s team, and we are a “show” rather than “tell” squad, that’s for sure. We’re all looking to make that Peach Jam run and enjoy the time we get to play the best game in the world at the highest level.
AK: What’s the strongest aspect of your game besides your jumper?
Platek: I’d have to say my defense. I’d always guard the opposing team’s best player and had success many times. My coaches and teammates give me confidence in my defense and with that, I feel like I can guard anyone. It’s a surreal experience, guarding players of the caliber that I do. I learn from every player, every game.
AK: What’s the most important factor for you when picking a school?
Platek: There’s a lot of factors, but the most important one to me is academics. I want a school that I can proud to say I graduated from with a degree that means something. I want the coaches and players invested in their success off the court as well as on it.
AK: Who is recruiting you the hardest right now?
Platek: Right now, definitely Miami, Davidson, George Washington, St. Joseph’s, Yale and Butler.
AK: How is the travel in the EYBL? Does it get tiring?
Platek: I mean, yes it does, of course. But being able to travel the country doing something that you love with your boys is an amazing experience.
AK: What has the City Rocks program done for you personally?
Platek: They’ve given me an opportunity to play basketball at the highest level possible and learn more about the game than I ever did before. I am beyond thankful for everything that they have already done and will continue to do for me. It goes beyond basketball with the City Rocks organization.
AK: When did you first realize basketball was going to be an avenue of success for you?
Platek: I didn’t really know until I met coach Hart that this is what I wanted to do. I’ve always had a ball in my hand, but it was him and my mentor Jeanna Cornetti that really told me I could be great and to pursue basketball to the fullest.
AK: Coach Hart is really good people.
Platek: One of the best people I’ve ever met.
AK: What will make basketball successful for you?
Platek: Using it as a gateway to build relationships, first and foremost. I’ve met people through the game that I’ll be in contact with for the rest of my life. Also, I believe that how much you put into something is how much you get out of it. And that mentality in life in general, as well as basketball, is what is going to make me successful.