Ramiro Martinez Quintanilla Jimenez didn’t know what to expect when he was offered a position with the RDC Kings basketball team.
“I was at the University of Regina and there wasn’t any college teams around except for Briercrest and they weren’t that competitive,” said the six-foot-six native of Spain. “So I didn’t have an idea what the level would be like.
“But once I got here I found it’s way more competitive than I thought.”
Ramiro has been a great addition to the Kings, although he battled an ankle injury much of the season. In fact the injury kept him on the sidelines for three games just prior to the Christmas break and one since.
“It still bothers a little but every game I’m feeling more comfortable,” he said.
Jimenez’s recuperation has coincided with the Kings run to the playoffs. The team won their final eight games to push their way into second place tie in the ACAC’s South Division with the Medicine Hat Rattlers at 13-8. The Kings placed second after beating the Rattlers two of their three meetings. The biggest win was a 94-91 victory in the second game of their weekend in Medicine Hat. The win came less than a day after losing 103-76 and was the start of their eight-game win streak.
Ramiro played a major role in the win with a season-high 18 points.
“That was big for us and we were also missing Anthony Harper,” he said. “Barzin (Eskandarkhah) and I had to step up and we did our job.”
Ramiro finished the season strong scoring in double figures in four of his last five games and averaged 9.7 points-per-game.
“He’s been consistent enough to earn a starting spot,” said Kings head coach Clayton Pottinger. “During the injury we almost forgot what he brought to the table. His defence and rebounding are two things he brings and helps us out a lot.”
Like most youngsters in Spain Ramiro played soccer as a kid, but got into basketball thanks to his sister.
“She started playing when I was 11 or 12 and I decided to join a team and loved it,” he said.
As he progressed through school he decided he wanted to play in the United States and sent his recruiting video to a number of junior colleges, mainly in California.
“I got some calls and the coach at Barstow Community College, who was playing professionally in Spain talked to me and treated me like family.”
He played two seasons with Barstow before deciding to look to Canada.
“I had some offers in the States but heard you could play five years in Canada so decided to take an offer from Regina.”
He played one year with the U of R, then red shirted for a season.
“I was expecting more … I didn’t play as much as I hoped so decided to red shirt for a year,” he explained.
It was then he started looking at Canadian colleges and was eventually contacted by Pottinger.
“He was super nice and the program and school suits me. Clayton reminds me of my coach in Barstow. I like their philosophies which is the way I like to work.”
At six-foot-six Jimenez can play the inside, but enjoys playing on the perimeter.
“I played inside in Spain but when I moved to Barstow I wasn’t big enough and had to play outside, so I had to work on my shooting. I enjoy both. Here Clay uses me in both.”
Ramiro joins RDC Queens point guard Sandra Garcia Bernal from Spain.
“I didn’t know her before but we’ve become friend and hang out a lot. It’s great to have someone to talk to.”
Ramiro is taking Open Studies but will switch to kinesiology next year.
“I’m looking forward to another year.”
So is Pottinger.
“Technically we only lose Eric (Bakker) and Khurram (Sultan) and have a solid base of younger guys and internationals returning,” said Pottinger. “It’s a good situation for us. We started a bit slow this year but came on late and the guys really want to build on this.”
The Kings are involved in the ACAC finals this weekend in Lloydminster.
Danny Rode is a retired Advocate reporter and Alberta Sports Hall of Fame member who can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org