FLUSHING, N.Y. (Apr. 12, 2018) - It happened earlier this month back on Apr. 4 in San Juan on the island of Puerto Rico. Queens College men's basketball alum Diego Maldonado was chosen No. 13 overall and as the fourth pick in the second round of the BSL (Baloncesto Superior Nacional) Draft to play in one of the world's top leagues in the American commonwealth.
Maldonado, a 2017 graduate of the Knights' basketball program, recalled the feeling of being drafted by Atleticos de San German as a dream come true. After a tryout with the G League, the developmental basketball league for the NBA, Maldonado signed with an agent who was one of the top agents in all of Puerto Rico.
"I knew there was a very high chance," Maldonado said recently via phone, "that I would be drafted to the Puerto Rican league." The Valley Stream native noted that he was listed as one of the top prospects for the league's draft in precursory rankings.
"It's one of the top leagues in the world, maybe top-5 or top-10," proclaimed Maldonado.
As such, the six-foot-four guard credits his time at Queens College as being able to help him prepare for life in the professional leagues. "Developing a good defensive IQ at Queens College" and working on mental adjustments "were big steps" for Maldonado as he mentioned that the transition from college basketball to professional basketball would be more physical than anything else.
Maldonado does have his work cut out for him when Atleticos de San German tips off the season on May 6 in a league that features former NBA players such as 2007 first-round pick Al Thornton, former New York Knick Renaldo Balkman, Long Island native Terrell "Tu" Holloway and Puerto Rican hero Carlos Arroyo. The chance to play in the professional ranks in a league on an island with heritage running through his blood---his grandparents are Puerto Ricans---was just too good to pass up and the chance of a lifetime for Maldonado.