Putnam Science Academy won its first National Prep Championship this past Thursday. The talented Connecticut based program was started by Tom Espinosa 12 years ago. It’s been a long journey for Espinosa and Putnam Science, but this accomplishment made it all worth it. He caught up with Prep Circuit to do a Q&A on this championship win.
Q: For those that don’t know, what does it mean to win the National Prep Championship?
A: "It's overwhelming to be honest I credit all the players that kind of got the program going,” he said. “The Scoochie Smith's, the Hamidou Diallo's, and the Mamadou Diarra's, Chase Daniels. I've had so many good players and I say this all the time to recruits that come up: our best recruiters are all our former players. I'm very confident that anyone that talked to any of our former players and what they would say about us. It's a credit to all our former players trusting in us and believing in us and coming to our program. They're the ones that help us keep getting these top-notch kids and players."
Q: What were some of the main reasons why your team won it all this year?
A: "I always say that everyone's got good players. Everyone has 8, 9 Division I players or more,” Espinosa said. “It's the better team and the tougher team, those are the ones that win these types of tournaments. The better team, and you've got to be tough. Our situation-- we don't get the high major kids. We'll get kids that are low major kids and they become high major, but we never get the kids who are committed to Syracuse or Oklahoma and all these big time schools. We get these kids that are hungry, D2 kids that want a D1 or low D1 that want a mid-major. This year's team was low major and mid major kids, and they were just hungry. They were just a great team and tough as nails."
Q: What was your message to your team after the victory?
A: "They get all the credit,” he said. “This team, and I say this to anyone, it doesn't matter if we're watching film or we're in the weight room or we're in practice or whatever we're doing, these kids were just on a mission. They were just focused, just a different group like no other that I've had before. I say this all the time too-- when the coach has got to lead all the time that's okay, but when you get the players and they lead the team, that's when special things happen. We had such great leadership this year in Kyle Lofton, Jose Perez, Osun Osunniyi, those guys are leaders. Just from day one, this group was just on a mission. To answer your question, I just thanked them and gave them all the credit in the world. They bought in to myself and the coaching staff, believed in what we were trying to do and how we were going do it, so I give them all the credit. It was a special group.