Down with injury, Furtado impacts team from the bench
By Ian C. Beck ’12
When Jeff Coltin ’11 gives a nod to “everyone’s favorite Brazilian” on the daily announcements, there is no question in the minds of Brophy basketball fans as to whom he is referring.
It could only be Rodrigo Furtado ’11.
Furtado came to Brophy last year as an exchange student from Brazil.
He was playing basketball in his home country when his coach attended a clinic and met a Scottsdale basketball coach. He then got Furtado in touch with Admissions Director Mr. Mike Ward.
Furtado said it took almost four months to convince Mr. Ward that he could speak English fluently and would maintain good grades.
Mr. Ward confirmed that the process was a lengthy one, mostly because of all the things that had to fall in to place in order for Furtado to come to Brophy from another country.
Furtado transferred to Brophy during the middle of the 2009-2010 school year, which made things difficult because of differing school schedules and course loads, according to Mr. Ward.
As is typical with all transfer students, Furtado had to submit an official transcript as well as some writing samples.
Mr. Ward said that he took a risk in accepting Furtado but that he had a gut feeling about him and felt that Furtado had the attitude to succeed at Brophy.
“I felt that it would be a neat opportunity to have a kid from Brazil here,” Mr. Ward said. “I felt he had the personality to do it and things worked out.”
When he finally arrived at Brophy midway through his junior year, Furtado was easily accepted by the student body, evidenced by the Brazilian nickname.
“It feels good because it’s hard to be away from home, away from family, my old friends,” Furtado said. “People accepted me (really easily).”
Junior teammate Jordan Medl ’12 had high praise for his teammate.
“I would describe Rodrigo as a selfless person who just truly understands what it means to be a teammate, what it means to be a part of a team,” Medl said.
The six foot two inch Furtado first touched a basketball when he was 12 and in the eighth grade in Brazil. He has been playing ever since.
Furtado admits that he might not score as many points as some of his teammates, but when he steps onto the court, he just tries to play and have fun.
“Every time I go on the court I just forget about everything and I just play basketball,” he said. “I just try to do what I know how to do and have fun.”
Medl says that the adjustment for Furtado was a simple one.
“He’s being his normal self. The game is universal, it’s a universal game so he’s just brought the best he can offer to our team,” Medl said.
Nowadays, Furtado isn’t stepping out on the court, he’s sitting on the bench or rather, standing behind it and giving out high-fives and fist bumps to teammates.
Furtado is sidelined with a separated elbow but said he still believes that he can contribute to the team by providing positive encouragement from the bench.
“With the elbow I can’t contribute in a physical way but I think I can still contribute with my spirit just cheering them up,” he said.
Medl said he feels that while Furtado isn’t on the court, he is still impacting the team.
“Even though now that he is out … he’s still helping us. Him being there, his spirit, it’s really helpful,” Medl said.
More than 4,000 miles from his family and friends back in Brazil, Furtado said that he has found a new family on the court.
“Now my team is my family,” he said. “I live for my team now and I just wish I could play but (being accepted) feels good.
Editor’s Note: Furtado was named to the All Fiesta Region team for 2010-2011 after The Roundup’s print deadline of Feb. 24. For more in-depth coverage of the team’s awards, check out roundup.brophyprep.org.