SALT LAKE CITY — Following an uncomfortable first year in the United States, Agustin Ambrosino has found a comfortable locale and has settled down. Ambrosino signed with BYU Wednesday in large part because he just felt comfortable there.
Ambrosino is a 6-foot-8 forward prospect from Cordoba, Argentina, who signed on with Gulf Coast College in Panama City, Fla., out of high school. Gulf Coast coaches first noticed him during a prep tournament in Florida during Ambrosino's first visit to the United States.
After accepting a scholarship offer from Gulf Coast, Ambrosino played one year and averaged 5.8 points and 2.8 rebounds per game. Despite playing as a freshman, he was unhappy, however — feeling out of place and lonely.
Shortly after his first season, Salt Lake Community College coach Todd Phillips learned of his discontent.
“The junior college coaching community is a real tight one, so I learned about Agustin from Gulf Coast coaches,” said Phillips. “They let me know that they really liked him as a player but that he wasn’t happy there and wanted to go to a school where he’d fit in better.”
Ambrosino liked the idea and transferred to SLCC for one year and averaged 9.6 points and 5.3 rebounds per game last season. While playing for the Bruins, he found success on the court and off it — enjoying the environment far better than he did at Gulf Coast.
“The people here in Utah are just a lot more friendly and it’s easier to make friends,” said Ambrosino. “In Florida, people just weren’t as friendly and I just didn’t want to be there anymore. I made the right decision, and I know I made the right decision to sign with BYU now.”
Ambrosino, like a lot of other people, first noticed BYU’s basketball program due to Jimmer Fredette and his play. Although he isn’t LDS, he instantly became not only a fan of Jimmer but of BYU and how they played the game.
When BYU coach Dave Rose came inquiring about his services, Ambrosino immediately took interest. Other programs such as UNLV and Pepperdine came calling as well, but BYU was his top school for a lot of reasons.
“I like it here in Utah and I like being able to stay here in the state,” Ambrosino said. “BYU is a great place where I can study and get my degree and play for a program that is perfect for me as a player.”
Although he’s 6-8, Ambrosino is a player who possesses the outside shot and ball-handling skills of a guard.
“He’s a very skilled player,” said Phillips. “It’s the first thing that coaches notice about him. He’s very polished with his shot, but he plays a different type of game coming from Argentina, so if there is anything he needs to improve on it’s learning how to play the American game of basketball a bit better.”
Ambrosino was signed by Rose to help replace the departing Noah Hartsock at the power forward position. It’s a spot that he appears to be well-suited for, although he’ll bring a bit of a different brand of play.
“Noah was obviously very skilled as a low-post player, and Agustin isn’t there quite yet,” said Phillips. “He has a great outside shot like Noah and he has a great feel for the game as well. I think he’s going to have a lot of success at BYU as long as he continues to work.”