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The Boiling Point

After Cornell, Fallas would like to play pro ball in Israel

Yeshiva University
IN THE AIR: Senior Jojo Fallas makes a jump shot against Frisch in the final game of the Sarachek Tournament March 11.

Days after being named Sarachek Tournament MVP, Firehawk co-captain Jojo Fallas was interviewed by Features Editor Alexa Fishman about the season and his future.


We’ve all heard that you’ll be playing Division 1 college basketball next year for Cornell. How did that come about?

So the head of my AAU program, Rob Icarc, called me one day and left a message on my phone saying that he wanted to talk to me about playing basketball at Cornell.  I was thrilled, and immediately called him back to ask for details. He told me nothing was certain, but Cornell needed a point guard.  He asked me if I was interested, and I said of course.  That got the ball rolling, and from there, I contacted coaches at Cornell and sent them game tapes.

We talked on the phone and I visited the school.  I had to send them my entire application, and I loved the school—but I only wanted to go there if I could play basketball.  It was a whole long process, and one day they offered me a spot on the team.


Did any other schools recruit you? 

About 25 Division 3 schools recruited me.  I turned down a few, and reached out to a few, but they turned me down.  It’s a really fickle game that takes a lot of patience and luck to figure out the right place to go.


How far do you think you’ll go in basketball? How far do you want to go? 

Right now I don’t know.  I want to work hard and see where it takes me. I would love to play professionally in Israel after college for a few years if I can.


What do you do for training outside of school?

I work one-on-one with my trainer, Dwain Williams, who played Div. 1 basketball in the D league at Providence.


Do you stop everything on Saturday?

I still play on Saturday, but it makes things more complicated because I keep Shabbat.  I can’t drive to games, so I have to figure out the situation before hand, which requires a lot of planning.  I play in tournaments during the summer, and all of them go over the weekend, so I have to plan ahead and make sure I have a way to get to the game without breaking Shabbat.


What was it like to play the CIF game with the flu?

It was a little nerve-wracking because I’ve never played with the flu before.  Before the game started, I was really nervous about how it would end up, but once I was in the game, it felt like a normal game.  During the game, I just forgot about being sick and did what I’m used to doing. Does your family members also play?


Why did you have 29 points in the semi-finals?

I think it was because out team in general had a bad first half, so we were really depressed in the locker room.  We were disappointed about how we played, and in the third quarter, I wanted to come out and be aggressive.  I had to make sure that there was nothing that we could’ve done more that we didn’t during the game.  There were lots of opportunities to score because we moved the ball—and everything started clicking.


How did you feel about losing to Rolling Hills Prep in Anaheim?

It was heartbreaking. It was a goal of ours since Colin came in my sophomore year, and we really felt like it was our year to do it. It was unfortunate that we couldn’t finish this season completing all of our goals, but it still was a very special season.



How did you first get into basketball?

I’ve been playing for as long as I can remember.  My mom always tells this story about how when I was 9 months old, I used have this little ball and run up to our tiny basket and dunk it.


When did you first realize that you were really good at it?

I’ve kind of always been good around my friends, but I think the first time I knew that I was really good was my first tournament in Las Vegas with my AAU [Amateur Athletic Union] summer team, where I played with people throughout the country.


What was it like being named Sarachek MVP?

It was a really fulfilling way to end my career. There were so many people that have helped me get to where I am, and at that moment there was no other feeling that I could have than appreciation for all of that.


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About the Contributor
Alexa Fishman
Alexa Fishman, Editor-in-Chief Emeritus
Now a freshman at Princeton University, Alexa Fishman joined the Boiling Point as a freshman and went on to serve as Community Editor and Features Editor before becoming Editor-in-Chief in 2014-15.  She headed to Princeton University after a gap year at Midreshet Lindenbaum in Jerusalem. Alexa won First Place in Sports News reporting in the Columbia Scholastic Press Association's 2015 Gold Circle Awards for her story,  “Buckley says he resigned rather than accept playoff game suspension," and a Quill and Scroll National Award in News Writing for her story

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