NEW YORK – Rayner Moquete was in his dorm room Tuesday evening on the south lawn at Rose University on Rose Hill. The freshman guard from Santo Domingo joined the Rams roster on December 26th got a call from interim head coach Jared Grasso. He would getting the start Wednesday evening when Fordham hosted Atlantic 10 Conference opponent LaSalle University,
“Try not to do crazy stuff,” is what he told me explained Moquete. The 6’1, 181-pound point guard who cleared NCAA Clearinghouse issues in late December, scored his first collegiate basket on January 13th at Madison Square Garden and finished with seven points in a Fordham loss to A-10 opponent Dayton.
Moquete is one of those promising athletes coming from the Dominican Republic, an Island known more for its production of baseball talent that come to the states. But the last few years there has been a revival of talent coming off the basketball court from Santo Domingo and other parts of the Republic,
And as Grasso says, his new point guard has the potential to be a leader and for the time being will get the start as Fordham continues to struggle. They lost their 12th straight game Wednesday evening 80-73, now 2-17 overall, 0-7 in the conference. Moquete finished with five points, had three assists and was 2-for-2 from the free throw line.
“He’s going to be good in certain spots and comes here in the middle of the season as a starting point guard in a difficult situation,” said Grasso about Moquete. “He’s trying to pick up everything we do offensively and defensively. It was his first start, solid and he will get better.”
Moquete is also getting some help from newcomers, because the young Rams have only one veteran player from last year’s squad that get the start, senior Brenton Butler. Moquete was one of four freshmen that got the start against LaSalle. And he seemed to adjust quickly in his new role, not doing the “crazy: things that Grasso referred to.
“let the game come to you and give me the opportunity to help this team win,” said Moquete after the game, referring to how he approached his first start. It was the same type of approach that got him a spot a spot on the Fordham roster. A graduate of Our Savior New American School in Centereach New York, Moquete averaged 15 points per game in his last year.
A call came from Miami Dade Community College, but he waited to get cleared and go for the good education and potential start up at Rose Hill. “They showed interest,” he said about Miami and other schools,” so did Fordham. “I think this is a perfect fit for me. Fordham is a good school and we can do something big here.”
This was the first game Fordham stayed competitive in the second half. And at one point it looked like the Rams were headed to victory. But LaSalle made 17 of their 25 shots in the second half, including mistakes by the young Rams that led to four important free throws in the final minutes that made a difference.
On the court most of the time, Moquete played 25 minutes, there was the intensity, hustle and leadership. Butler missed one of key free throws that could have tied the game at the four minute mark. Moquete went to the line and quickly gave Butler a tap to the head after he missed the first shot.
“Part of my game is to pick my teammates ,” he said “He will make a difference for us, said the other freshman, forward Chris Gaston who led the Rams with 21 points and 15 rebounds, his 12th double-double game of the season.
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