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Morris Sussex Sports covers 40 schools’ sports teams that consists of about 14,000 athletes in Morris, Sussex and parts of Warren counties. Out of those 14,000 athletes, Morris Sussex Sports and Parisi Speed School honor just one athlete who does something special each week with the Parisi Speed School Player of the Week.  Go to Parisi Speed School to raise your game and become faster, bigger and stronger.  Mention “Morris Sussex Sports” and receive a FREE Speed Pass to one of their world class training sessions.  

This past week there were a ton of fantastic performances in Morris-Sussex between hockey, wrestling, basketball and other sports.  But the player we felt deserved the Parisi Speed School Player of the Week the most was Jefferson boys basketball player Richie Botti. Botti was superb in the Falcon’s 44-41 semi-final match against Delbarton to clinch a birth in the Morris County Finals. Offensively he was money, picking up 11-points, which included 3 field goals, a 3-pointer and being perfect from the line with two shots. But defensively he was a man on a mission, halting Delby’s high flying offense from getting any kind of rhythm in the paint or from beyond the 3-point line.

We caught up with Botti to talk about his insane game, who on his team is the most intense and where he sees himself in 10-years.

Morris Sussex Sports: What were your goals for yourself and for your team coming into this season?
Richie Botti: My goals for this season was to make my senior year a good one and better myself as a player. Also, to make the best of the opportunities given to me by coach and play my role. Most importantly to have fun on the court. Our team goals were to hang as many banners as possible. Coach always tells us banners live forever. We just won our conference for a banner and have another shot for the county.

MSS: Did you think your team would get to the MCT Finals?
RB: I never had doubt in us and I knew anything could happen if we played the way we were supposed to but I did not see us facing West Morris in the Finals.

MSS: What’s changed for you as a basketball player over the past four years?
RB: Starting at Pope John for my first two years of high school, I always wanted to be the guy playing in front of the crowd. Then transferring to Jefferson, after sitting 30 days, Coach D has given me the opportunity to play in front of the crowd. From freshman year wanting to be the varsity player changed into senior year being the player.

MSS: What would surprise people to know about your team?
RB: I would say something that would surprise to know about our team is the bond that everyone on the team has is tight. Everybody gets along and that helps out a bunch.

MSS: What’s the funniest thing Coach DiGennaro ever said?
RB: Coach D is a serious man but at times he has some jokes up his sleeve. There are multiple funny things said by coach. Coach D is a funny guy.

MSS: What makes him the angriest?
RB: What makes Coach angriest is when we take plays off on defense.

MSS: Who on your team loosens the team up with humor?
RB: Pat Burns is the guy with the humor and loosens the team up on the team. He is by far the best hype man and always is cheering us on and to keep our heads up no matter the situation.

MSS: Who is the most intense player?
RB: Paul Monaco is the most intense player because he is the most physical kid on the floor in every game. He is the guy doing the dirty work.

MSS: Who is the biggest diva?
RB: Hunter Jacobus and Tyler Ruban are the biggest divas because the crowd is always screaming for them.

MSS: Do you have any pre-game rituals?
RB: My pre-game rituals are to make sure I eat a pack of fruit snacks, drink a bottle of water, and get a solid stretch in before every game.

MSS: Who is your role model?
RB: My role model is my Pop Pop because he would always tell me everything the way it was even if I didn’t want to hear it. He just always wanted the best for me. Now he is forever watching over me in every game.

MSS: What do you see yourself doing in 10 years?
RB: I hope to become a successful guy coming out of college with a finance major and be a great family man.

MSS: What will make this year a success for you?
RB: This year would be a success for me if my senior year could just go out with a bang while having fun and leaving everything on the court.

MSS: Congrats Richie and best of luck the rest of the way!
RB: Thank you so much for this award! It is an honor and I appreciate it.

George Muha has been covering high school sports since 2006. He feels high school scholar-athletes are the most important part of the community and highlighting their achievements on the field, in the classroom and within the community is his personal mission.

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