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St. Ray’s guard leaves Bronx for spot on Cardozo roster

Former St. Raymond guard Jaquan McKennon (c.), a Queens native, will transfer to Cardozo for the upcoming season. Photo by Joseph Staszewski
TimesLedger Newspapers

Jaquan McKennon is coming home to Queens to finish his high school basketball career.

The St. Albans native said he will not return to St. Raymond High School in the Bronx but attend Benjamin Cardozo next season. The 5-foot-9 guard cited a taxing commute to St. Ray’s as the reason. He nearly attended Cardozo out of eighth-grade and didn’t want to miss another chance to learn under longtime Coach Ron Naclerio, who has produced guards like Rafer Alston and Darryl Hill, among others.

“Coach Naclerio is a living legend and a great guard coach,” McKennon said. “Before I was going to St. Raymond’s, that was a choice, too, coming into ninth-grade. I always had love for Cardozo.”

He was part of a stellar sophomore class at St. Raymond along with Tory Ferguson and Luis Santos at St. Raymond that led the school to a second straight CHSAA Archdiocesan championship. Stepinac upset the Ravens in the CHSAA city quarterfinals. McKennon has no ill feelings for St. Ray’s, but just felt it was time to move on. He becomes the second high profile guard to leave the school in the last two year after Shane Rector left before this past season.

“St. Raymond, I enjoyed my time there,” he said. “I still have love for St. Raymond, but I just had to do what was right [for me].”

McKennon said the commute from Queens to the Bronx each day took its toll on him both physically and with his schoolwork. Moving from St. Ray’s to Cardozo cuts two hours to 15 minutes. He will also be able to play right away. By Catholic League rules, had he transferred to a CHSAA school, he would have had to sit a year.

He joins a Cardozo team that will be filled with new faces, after reaching the PSAL Class AA quarterfinals last year. That team had just four players who were not seniors. The Judges did feature one of the city’s top junior varsities. McKennon is eager to meet his new teammates and is happy to be representing his home borough again.

“I love Queens,” McKennon said. “I started playing basketball in Queens and that is where I wanted to finish my high school career.”

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mother of 8th grader from bayside - not zoned for Cardozo says:
I am confused. Does he live in the zoned area? The article mentions St. Albans. How does he just decide to transfer and there is space while 8th grade parents are being told to pick twelve schools and there is no guarantee except your zoned program, and only if you put it down. Are exceptions made for basketball players and other atheletes to attend whatever school they choose?
Aug. 22, 2013, 7:48 pm
Lou from Bayside says:
Yes mother of 8th grader, exceptions are made for basketball players and baseball players! Coach Naclerio and Coach Gorecki circumvent PSAL rules and recruit players from all over the city. The principal is a wet noodle who lets these coaches get away with anything. In addition to that the Principal takes anyone who applies even though there are 2000 more people than the school is built for. Right now there is a line out the door of students looking to get in and the Principal will let each and everyone in regardless of whether they are good students or not. It is a continual outrage!
Aug. 26, 2013, 11:49 am

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