André Curbelo Joins A Red Storm Roster Full Of Explosive Guards

The guard seems like a perfect fit for the Red Storm.

Torch Photo / Sara Kiernan

André Curbelo, a fiery junior guard that plays intense defense, seems like a perfect fit for the Red Storm. Curbelo joined the St. John’s University Men’s Basketball team this season after he entered the transfer portal from the University of Illinois. 

The native New Yorker from Oyster Bay played at Long Island Lutheran in high school, alongside current St. John’s sophomore guard Rafael Pinzon and sophomore forward Drissa Traore. Pinzon was able to only play 13 games in the season due to being out for over a month after contracting COVID-19 prior to the Gotham Classic. Due to the roster congestion, Traore was redshirted.

Curbelo had a rough season in 2021 after spending almost two months out with a concussion sustained during an exhibition game on Oct. 29. He then returned for two games on Nov. 12 and Nov. 23  but still had concussion symptoms and did not return to the court until the team’s Jan. 17 game.

“After the rough past year I needed a fresh start,” Curbelo said at St. John’s media day. “New beginnings, new staff, I needed to feel like I was home and I was losing that feeling there.”

Curbelo was a former four-star recruit, averaging 8.5 points, 3.6 rebounds and 3.8 assists per game during his two seasons at Illinois. He was named the Big Ten’s Sixth Man of the Year as a freshman in the 2020-21 season, averaging 9.1 points, 4.2 assists, and 4.0 rebounds per game in 31 contests. Curbelo was also a preseason first-team All-Big Ten selection in 2021 and was expected to be one of the best point guards in the country last season before suffering the concussion.

“It was tough watching from the courtside and not being able to help,” Curbelo said. “I am very energetic, when I am at a game my veins start to itch, and I need to get out there and help my teammates.”  

Curbelo is a great addition to the Red Storm on both sides of the ball, according to senior center Joel Soriano. “Playing with two point guards that have eyes behind their back is a great feeling,” Soriano said, referring to Alexander and Curbelo. 

Alexander is similarly ferocious on defense, and he’s “blessed” to have Curbelo on the roster. “It’s fun [having] a guy like that, who is a good point guard and he sees the floor well,” Alexander said. “He’s smart, having someone who is a pest on defense just like me.”

The Johnnies took some big hits to their roster last season, losing players such as Stef Smith, Aaron Wheeler and Julian Champagnie. However, with a shooter like Curbelo, the losses might not be that severe — he notched a career-high of 20 points in just 26 minutes in a game last season against Purdue. 

Curbelo’s energy both on and off the court fits right in with the Red Storm’s fiery and uptempo team. “I love it here because it feels like home, and there is no better feeling than that,” Curbelo said.