Cardozo duo’s bond grows with Panthers

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By Five Boro Sports

There was a time this spring when Ryan Rhoomes, Dwayne Brunson and Reynaldo “Junior” Walters all contemplated transferring out of Cardozo. The three juniors weren’t unhappy at the Bayside school, but they all weren’t sure it was the right fit either.

They talked about it frequently with one another. Walters decided to stay, and so did Brunson and Rhoomes.

“You have to make the right decision for you,” Walters, a 5-foot-10 forward, said. “For me, it’s staying with my team.”

Not just that. He feels the Judges, who were eliminated in the second round of last year’s PSAL Class AA playoffs, but won the Queens AA regular-season crown, are a challenger for the city crown next year, and is acting appropriately.

He convinced the 6-foot-8 Rhoomes to join him with the New York Panthers to further a bond that began last season. When Rhoomes arrived at Cardozo from Middletown South (N.Y.) in September, he was reserved, shy and quiet. Walters made an effort to break him out of his shell, calling him after losses and including him in team outings.

“It’s a real relationship; we’re real cool,” Rhoomes said. “He was inspirational. He made me stronger.”

The two do everything side by side — they come off the bench, arrive for practices and games and even hang out afterward.

“They’re always together,” Panthers Coach Gary Charles said. “It helps our team.”

Walters, a combo guard, said he is already more comfortable with Rhoomes than he was after last season. The lead guard thinks this summer will only set the Judges up well for next winter.

“When we run that fastbreak, I know where he’ll want the ball,” Walters said.

This is an important time for both players, each of who have received Division I looks. Cardozo Coach Ron Naclerio said he has heard from Big East and Atlantic 10 schools for Rhoomes; low-to-mid major schools such as LIU, Fairleigh Dickinson and Siena have expressed interest in Walters.

“Both of them have a chance to be Division I players,” talent evaluator Tom Konchalski said.

Naclerio said Walters seems to understand how far he still has to come. Basic things the coaching staff harped on in previous seasons he has started to work feverishly on, such as his decision-making and jumpshot. As the team’s elder statesman, he is also doing his best to mature and guide his younger teammates.

“I have to be an all-around leader on the court,” he said.

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