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I'm a player

Melsahn Basabe, St. Mark's

St. Mark's Melsahn Basabe will be suiting up for Siena next year. St. Mark's Melsahn Basabe will be suiting up for Siena next year. (Photo courtesy of St. Mark's School)
By Brendan Hall, Globe Correspondent
February 25, 2010

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Melsahn Basabe, a Glencove, N.Y. native is a 6-foot-7 senior at St. Mark’s who will suit up for Siena next season. He is currently averaging 13 points and nine rebounds for the defending NEPSAC Class C champion Lions. He recently keyed the Lions with a 15-rebound performance in an 80-78 win over Winchendon in the Nation Prep School Invitational, on the URI campus in Kingston, R.I.

So what’s the best place to eat on Long Island?

Basabe: Goodie’s, in Fort Rockaway, near my grandmother’s house. Also, this place Fish House in Jamaica Queens. Just some good soul food. They have a lot of experience cooking that type of food.

Is there a favorite borough?

Basabe: The Bronx, I guess, is my favorite. That’s where I play a lot of summer ball, lot of tournaments there when I was a kid. That’s where the Gauchos (his AAU squad, the New York Gauchos) is at. My aunt lives there too.

You mention playing ball in New York City, any particular courts you like?

Basabe: I’ve been all over, Manhattan, everywhere. I’ve been to a lot of Harlem courts actually, River Banks, Rucker, basically the Manhattan-Bronx area.

Fran McCaffrey runs a pretty unorthodox scheme at Siena. How do you fit in?

Basabe: He lets his players play, which is what I need. He does a nice blend of uptempo and half-court. It’s the perfect balance. It’s a system where I can showcase all of my skills as I develop them.

What’s the best dunk you’ve pulled off in a game, high school or AAU?

Basabe: I can’t really pick out a specific one, but I did catch a crazy alley-oop from Alex (Murphy) – we call him “Butter” – a couple of games ago (against St. Andrew’s). That was pretty big-time.

Fairly new nucleus with this team. What have you liked about these guys?

Basabe: We’ve definitely got some characters here, like my man Eric (Green) over here (grabs Green’s shoulder). I like these guys because they’re humble. The whole team works hard. We don’t rely on talent to get the job done.

What would a fourth NEPSAC title in five years for this school mean to you?

Basabe: It represents the program’s success, of course my team and my own development at St. Mark’s. This would be my third straight, so this would be good for me to go out. This would be one I could claim myself.

Take me through your pregame routine. What do you do to get yourself focused and ready to play?

Basabe: I listen to some Gucci Mane, Yo Gotti, and one of my personal friends, Yung French. I usually listen to those three to get in the zone, I like to be around my teammates. We’ve got a lot of time before games, so sometimes I’ll go and watch highlights the night before or the morning of, on YouTube, watching guys like Amare, somebody like that, and then I go out and try to imitate that. Before the game, I’ll tell myself, “Nobody can stop me”.

I’m guessing by your pregame music that rap is your favorite genre (he says it is). Who are your five favorite rappers?

Basabe: Jay-Z, Nas, Lupe Fiasco, Gucci Mane’s not a great rapper per se but I like him, and then some underground. I like this guy Meek Mills, he’s from Philly.

Biggest key for you guys over these next two months to get that championship?

Basabe: We’ve got to come out with no mercy, go hard every second, every game. My grandmother always told me never to take anything for granted, and that’s what I’m gonna do.