Tutanes gunning for Niagara roster spot
There are no guarantees about playing time or making the team for Jerwyn Tutanes this fall as he heads to Niagara College to study sports management and try out for the men’s basketball team.
The Grade 12 student at Saint Paul wouldn’t have it any other way.
“I want to show people what I can do and show my skills to everyone,” the Zone 3 Top Ten All-Star said. “If I work hard, do everything I can and still don’t make the team, I know that I have tried my hardest and that is OK.”
The goal for the 18-year-old Niagara Falls resident is simple.
“I just want to make the team and do whatever I need to do to help the team win.”
Tutanes never had any thoughts about returning for his 12B year.
“I put a lot of thought into it but I realize academically I was ready to go to the next level and I was more mature,” he said. “I feel my high school career is over so I have to move on.”
He will be missed at Saint Paul.
“Jerwyn’s work ethic is his biggest asset. We have had some great players in our program and he is right up there with all of them in terms of the time he has put into getting better,” Saint Paul head coach Frank Capretta said. “This past season, he really showed progress in how he handled the physical nature of the game. That comes from the time he spent in the weight room getting stronger.”
Capretta feels Tutanes needs to keep progressing and getting better, but knows he will be successful because of his commitment to the game and to himself.
“Selfishly, I had hoped he might return to play for us next year, but I’m excited to see what the future brings for him.”
The 5-foot-8 guard was attracted to Niagara by how close it is to home, the sports management program and the basketball team.
“They have a lot of guys there that I know,” he said. “I went to one of the open runs and it was really good and welcoming.”
He is a big fan of Niagara head coach Phil Mosley.
“He is a very honest guy with me and he tells me all the things that are happening with basketball at Niagara College and he gives me updates all the time.”
Mosley has been following Tutanes’ career for a number of years and became more interested in him after watching him play for Saint Paul in a tournament.
“What I really like about Jerwyn is that he has a great motor, he’s super dynamic and he is all over the floor both offensively and defensively,” Mosley said. “He shoots the ball well, he controls the pace of the game, he really likes to get up and down the floor and has a high basketball IQ.”
That basketball IQ has been honed by the coaching he received at Saint Paul.
“They are excellent coaches and they prepare these guys to play at the next level,” Mosley said.
He feels Tutanes will need to make some adjustments to play at the Ontario Colleges Athletic Association level
“He is coming out as a Grade 12 and he is a little bit slight in terms of his frame,” Mosley said. “He will have to be able to handle the rigours of college basketball but I like his motor and his ability to create his own shots. He’s fearless when he goes into the lane.”
Tutanes agrees with that assessment.
“I feel that I will need to work on my strength because I am pretty short.”
He’s making no promises about attacking the basket in college likes he did as a high school player.
“Obviously I will take whatever the defence gives me,” the former Niagara Tigers travel player said.
He feels he has made a lot of strides in his game the past few seasons.
“I believe my maturity in the game is a lot better, I have improved my leadership skills and I am more vocal on the court trying to help guys out whenever that was needed,” Tutanes said. “And I have continued to work hard every day.”
Tutanes thinks his love of basketball comes from his father Erwyn.
“I grew up watching basketball with my family,” he said. “My dad used to play basketball a lot, he loves the sport and he always tells me a bunch of things about basketball. He has helped me throughout my whole basketball career.”
Like all of us, Tutanes is working his way through the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I am just trying to pass the time, honestly,” he said. “I’ve been getting my shots up and trying to work out as much as possible.”
He spends a couple of hours each day shooting hoops in the driveway and hopes things will return to normal sooner rather that later.
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