Monday, December 28, 2015
Hooping With: Benny DiMirco, Eastchester
ZS: As a centerpiece and four-year varsity player, how would you describe your role on this year's team?
BD: My role on this team has definitely evolved. Right now, I have to control the game for my team and make sure everyone is in check, so that we stay disciplined and in the driver's seat no matter which team we play.
ZS: Which key principles does coach (Fred) DiCarlo teach and how do you guys collectively buy in. Which integral ingredients have worked in the team's favor thus far?
BD: From day one, every year, coach Fred focuses on team defense and playing as a unit. Coach Fred is a coach who really doesn't need to say anything after a while because he expects his players to play in a tough, unselfish manner. We do, or else we know the only other option is to sit on the bench.
The guys on the team buy into it by trusting each other and knowing that if we put our maximum effort in, individually, it will show as a team.
ZS: You guys gave Stepinac everything you had. Which aspects were key in staying tough against a bigger team, especially with the driving lanes sealed off and a bigger, quicker-paced team?
BD: The Stepinac game was very emotional for us. We knew we were a heavy underdog and that they had two Division-I players who were the real deal. So, we decided to do what we do best and play as a team. Our focus was to not let them make it a track meet and get fancy because that's where they excel.
'Staying Tough' is our mantra no matter who we are up against. We were really focused prior to the game. Throughout it, nothing changed. When you and your team believe you can win a game and trust each other and the coaching staff, anything is possible. Although we lost, we honestly were not totally upset with the outcome.
ZS: You've got more of a feel than any of your teammates for the County Center floor. We've heard everything from depth perception to tight rims. What do you feel makes it such a unique stage? What differentiates it?
BD: The County Center is the best venue in New York State high school basketball. It's a place where you can either prove yourself or ruin yourself. After you get the early-minute jitters out of the way and a couple of things go your way, you feel as if you can play v.s. anyone. Everyone is watching you. This makes it even better if you put on a show or perform well.
ZS: You've got some ferocity in you. Where do the competitive juices come from?
BD: My toughness comes from my Dad (Michael DiMirco) and my uncle (Vernon Padilla). They were both All-City football players in the 80s, my father at Cardinal Hayes and my uncle at Evander. They always told me if you're not going to be the biggest or most talented player on the court, you have to want it more than anyone else and play harder than every team's best player.
ZS: What do you attribute the added hunger to?
BD: I think having a below average junior year both individually and as a team fueled me to work ten times harder. I wanted to get mentally tougher and also physically stronger to improve my versatility. In addition to this, I feel like for the first time I had doubters. This made me improve on my weaknesses, such as rebounding. It allowed me to make sure I had a legit college-level handle.
ZS: There's no question about it, Eastchester brings a crowd. The word is out. It's a tough fan base. How would you describe the support system in the stands and what are the advantages?
BD: I'm honestly really blessed to playing for a school like Eastchester. Everyone is involved in supporting the basketball team and every other sport. If there is one thing I'm going to miss most about high school, it's the support everyone gives us. Especially during games.
It adds a huge advtantage and gets us going hearing our freinds go crazy. Our fan base is something not many school have around us so it gives us another reason to be that much better.
ZS: What role do you envision the game playing in your future?
BD: I definitely want to play college ball..Right now, SUNY New Paltz is showing the most interest. The Division-II that is most involved is Molloy College. Other schools include Baruch, Cortland and Birmingham-Southern.
ZS: What's your GPA and favorite class at Eastchester?
BD: I have a 3.0 and English is definitely my favorite class.
ZS: Score 35 and tear down 10 boards or end up with 13 points, 10 boards, six assists, seven steals and take three charges.
BD: No question--13 points, 10 boards, six assists etc.