Christian Rodriguez, Contributing Writer
This season the Utica College men’s basketball team has an entirely new look. From coaching staff to the 17-man roster, everything is new. One big change comes from the point guard position. His name, Bennito Ayarza.
He played high school ball at East Transit Tech High School where he was a two-year starter on the varsity team. By his senior year, he led the team in scoring, (17ppg) assists (6 apg) and steals (3 spg). Ayarza was recently inducted into the school’s basketball hall of fame.
The 5’9 junior guard from Brooklyn comes to Utica as a transfer from Cayuga Community College. At Cayuga, he led the Spartans in minutes per game and assists per game. In his sophomore season, he led Cayuga to a 14-9 record and to an
appearance in the NJCAA Region III sub-regionals for the first time in four years.
His tremendous change of speeds and quickness will be key for the Pioneers this season. Junior captain Ivan Iton says that he is really happy to have Ayarza on board.
“He is a very good point guard who loves to find others shots,” Iton said. “But don’t think that’s all he wants to do. He will rock you to sleep with his great patience then in a blink of an eye he’s at the rim for two.”
Ayarza is looking forward to contributing to the team this season but is still adjusting to UC.
“I came from a very small community college where you pretty much saw the same people every day,” Ayarza said. “Utica isn’t the biggest, but bigger than Cayuga.”
At this point of the season, Ayarza’s quickness on defense ranks him at number two in the Empire 8 in steals per game. He also currently leads the team in minutes and assists per game.
The determination of the speedy guard is extremely high.
“I know this is going to be a tough season with the changes and youth of the program, but I’m confident and ready for it all,” Ayarza said.