Spanish international Yankuba Sima, one of the most promising 96’ centers, has just fulfilled his dream on committing to the prestigious University of St. John’s (New York), coached by legendary Dream Team player that won the gold in Barcelona’92 Chris Mullin.
“Playing for a legend and in an historical sports hall like Madison Square Garden is an opportunity that many people would like to have”, Sima stresses, and adds: “St. John’s is a good university, as well as New York is a big city, where I am going to have the opportunity of being an important player inside the roster”.
Like this, the center, whose nickname is ‘Gerona’s Ibaka’ will play in the NCAA I from the following season after getting a sought-after scholarship in a first level university.
Though fortunately this is a happy ending story, the path up to this goal has not been easy at all, as well as the itinerary he has ahead to succeed.
As he recognizes, the decision that he made in the summer of 2013 when he chose to enroll Canarias Basketball Academy changed his life “because all the effort that was taken both academically and in sports terms, has caused that I have been able to play at the highest level in Europe with the U18 Spanish National team and now to join an American college, which was always my aim”.
Sima got to CBA from Sant Josep Girona in July 2013 as a personal challenge by CBA President Rob Orellana, supported by his collaborator Damià Soria. “I had clear that he was going to excel since he came to the Academy because he had the gift. We work on the individual skill development with our CBA method and the result was noticeable until the point that he was called by Spain”, Orellana claims and explains: “And this is only a step in his career since I am sure that he is going to give a lot of talk”.
As CBA owner rightly says, the 6’10 Catalonian big man was not international then, but the Academy’s showcase and FEB coach Manolo Aller’s visit in November 2013, made him been called for the first with the U18 Spanish team at that Christmas.
However, the great qualitative leap forward was in April 2014 when he represented Spain in the Männheim Tournament in Germany being the best Spanish in ranking points (20) and getting 12.7 points, 11.5 rebounds (the best of the Tournament), 1.7 blocks (the 3rd) and 54.4% FG!, He repeated these great performances last summer in the U18 European Championships in Konya (Turkey), where he stood out on rebounding (the best with 12.1 grabs) and was the second best player of his generation, only behind Bruixa d’or Manresa ACB guard Marc García.
After his recent commitment to St. John’s, which was announced one day after becoming champion in the Hoop Group Spring Jam Fest with CBA in the USA, Yankuba Sima’s next motivation is to repeat with Spain this summer U19 World Championships: “I am available for the Spanish Basketball Federation to go with the National Team if I was called”, he exposes and finishes assuring that “if that happened, I would give my best”.