By Carlos Rodriguez |
Rafael Monteiro, a recent Augusta University graduate and former player on the men’s basketball team, inked a professional contract with the E.C. Pinheiros São Paolo basketball team recently.
Monteiro, the São Paolo native, will return back to his hometown to take aim at his lifelong goal of playing pro basketball.
“I’m very glad to be able to come back home and have the opportunity to play professional basketball here,” said Monteiro. “I’m very excited to play for the club again while being able to stay close to my family and friends.”
E.C. Pinheiros plays in the top tier of the Brazilian professional hoops, the Novo Basquete Brasil (or New Basketball Brazil).
Prior to moving to the United States to play college basketball, Monteiro played in São Paolo under the same club he signed with, just not on the professional level.
Monteiro played his first two seasons of college basketball at the University of Wisconsin-Superior and Utah State University Eastern before transferring for his last two seasons at AU.
“I had an amazing experience at Augusta for the last two years,” said the 6-foot-4 forward. “I believe it was the perfect environment for me to grow both on and off the court. I have learned very valuable skills that I will be able to use when I get done with basketball, and the basketball program helped me get better as a person and as a player.”
Monteiro is one of the hardest working players you’ll find. There were times after games where he was shooting free throws if he had a bad game at the line or if he needed to improve in any area he was going to and head coach Dip Metress praises his relentless approach to get better.
“No one will work harder preparing himself, and he always gave 100 percent,” said Metress. “He wants to get better. He is willing to accept the challenges that are given to him, and he always maximized his abilities.”
In just two seasons at Augusta, Monteiro had a remarkable career. As a junior he averaged 15 points and 5.9 rebounds per game while picking up Peach Belt Conference second team All-Conference honors, and PBC Tournament and NCAA Southeast Regional All-Tournament Team honors. He helped the team win the PBC Tournament title and reach the NCAA DII Tournament Sweet 16.
As a senior, Monteiro averaged 18.2 points and 8.4 rebounds and achieved PBC first team All-Conference honors, NABC All-District honors, and most importantly the PBC Elite 15 award which is given to the athlete in each sport competing in the conference tournament that has the highest GPA. Monteiro, a business major, achieved a 4.0 grade-point average.
“Rafael expanded his game in each year,” said Metress. “He added moves around the basket to his arsenal to make him even more productive.”
Monteiro also helped the team reach their second consecutive NCAA tournament but due to COVID-19, the team didn’t get the chance to play. Monteiro finished his career at AU scoring 1,040 career points putting him 29thon the all-time scoring list. Monteiro also finished 27th on the all-time rebounds list with 438.
Combining Monteiro’s stats at AU with his first two years of college basketball, he scored a total of 1,857 points and grabbed 848 rebounds for his collegiate career.
AU basketball color commentator Chad Cook has been around the program for many years and has seen great players come through this program, but Monteiro left a mark Cook believes will be hard to surpass.
“When it comes to the total output of a student-athlete, I think it will be impossible for anybody to surpass, or probably even match, the record Rafael posted,” said Cook. “He was the best player on a nationally relevant team, he turned in flawless marks in the classroom, and he was the hardest working athlete anybody has seen. His dedication will be the measuring stick for Jaguar hoopers from here forward.”
Despite COVID-19 hitting hard, Monteiro has been able to still work on his craft, lifting and training by himself and with the help of a trainer. Monteiro looks to have a successful career and has big hopes.
“I want to play basketball professionally for as long as I can,” said Monteiro. “I’m very committed to being the best player I can be and I want to learn as much as possible from more experience players while working on improving my game every day.”
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