Athlete Spotlight: Salandra leads team on and off the court

BY SOPHIE AFDHAL ’15, Associate Sports Editor

“Every coach in America would like to have a player like Jon,” Head Coach Robinson said of Jon Salandra ’14. Salandra is a forward on the men’s basketball team in his final season of F&M play.

“John is an outstanding player with a shot at being an Academic All-American” Robinson said. “Jon has been all conference and leads by example on and off the court.”

Robinson also noted all of Salandra’s strengths on the court. He is skilled in scoring inside, as well as shot blocking. Robinson cites Salandra as a top shot blocker and says that he has made himself into one of the best passers. Salandra recently established a new career high of 26 points in a game against Haverford College.

Salandra is not only a strong player but also a strong student.

“I knew I wanted to go to a school where both academics and athletics are highly valued,” Salandra said. “Basketball has helped me in and out of the classroom with discipline.” Salandra is a Biochemisty major with an Italian minor who puts emphasis on academics. In his freshman year, Salandra played both basketball and baseball, making discipline important for balancing academics.

He has been part of the team for some important milestones during his F&M career. When asked about his favorite team memory, he immediately cited beating Amherst College in the NCAA Sweet Sixteen sophomore year.

“They were number one in the country at the time and having that experience that night was amazing,” he said, “The fans were so enthusiastic. My mom brought towels and the fans were all whipping them around.”

Salandra also shared how special it was to be part of the team that secured Coach Robinson his 800th win.

“I didn’t fully understand what a milestone it was at the time,” he said. “Coach Robinson has been instrumental in helping me transition from high school to college with his intensity. It has been both hard and pleasant to work with him. It is hard work being part of this team.”

Salandra touched on how enjoyable it is being part of this team.

“The camaraderie is my favorite part of this team,” Salandra said. “I really enjoy how we acknowledge and support each other. Relationships are the best part about coming to college and I enjoy fighting toward a common goal together as a team.”

Both Salandra and Robinson have high hopes for the remainder of the season. “The goal is always the same,” Robinson said. “We want to be the best we can be and the more immediate goal is to get into and hopefully host the playoffs.”

Salandra is determined to make his final season a successful one. “I’m looking forward to winning the championship and giving it my all,” he said. “I want to go as far as we can and leave everything on the court.”

Hopefully, the basketball team accomplishes that goal and earns F&M another championship.

Junior Sophie Afdhal is the Associate Sports Editor. Her email is safdhal@fandm.edu.

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