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José Rafael "Piculín" Ortiz Rijos (born October 25, 1963) is a Puerto Rican former professional basketball player. He played in the NCAA, NBA, various European teams, and the Baloncesto Superior Nacional (BSN).

José Ortiz
José Rafael Ortiz.JPG
Ortiz (left) in 2007
Personal information
Born (1963-10-25) October 25, 1963 (age 55)
Aibonito, Puerto Rico
NationalityPuerto Rican
Listed height6 ft 11 in (2.11 m)
Listed weight260 lb (118 kg)
Career information
High schoolBenjamin Harrison
(Cayey, Puerto Rico)
CollegeOregon State (1985–1987)
NBA draft1987 / Round: 1 / Pick: 15th overall
Selected by the Utah Jazz
Playing career1980–2006
PositionPower forward / Center
Number4, 44
Career history
1980–1991Atléticos de San Germán
1987–1988CAI Zaragoza
19881990Utah Jazz
1990Real Madrid
1990–1992FC Barcelona
1992–1993Festina Andorra
1993–1994Unicaja Polti
1994–1995Foinix Larissas
1995–1996Irakleio
1996–1997Aris
1997Guaiqueríes de Margarita
1998–2005Cangrejeros de Santurce
2006Capitanes de Arecibo
Career highlights and awards
Career statistics
Points8,925 (17.7 ppg)
Rebounds5,314 (10.5 rpg)
Stats at Basketball-Reference.com

He played for the Utah Jazz while in the NBA and the Atléticos de San Germán, Cangrejeros de Santurce, and Capitanes de Arecibo while in the Baloncesto Superior Nacional. Ortiz was a member of the Puerto Rican national team from 1983 to 2004. Most notably he was a member of the 2004 team that defeated the United States at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, Greece.[1] Ortiz played in Summer Olympics, as he played in 1988, 1992, 1996, and 2004.

Ortiz holds various honors and records as a basketball player. He ranks #4 and #6 in the all-time statistics for rebounds per game and total rebounds in the Baloncesto Superior Nacional league. He is also the third player to win eight championships in the league. Ortiz is also the first Puerto Rican-born player to be drafted in the NBA. Many experts consider Ortiz to be the best Puerto Rican basketball player.[2]

Despite his success in sports, Ortiz went through financial troubles after retiring. In 2011, he was arrested for the possession of 218 marijuana plants. He was sentenced to six months in prison.[3]

On August 30, 2019 Ortiz was inducted in the FIBA Basketball Hall of Fame for a career with the Puerto Rico Basketball National Team that spanned over 20 years. [4]

Early life and educationEdit

Ortiz was born in Aibonito, Puerto Rico[5] on October 25, 1963, but was raised in Cayey. He started his career as a center at Benjamin Harrison High School in Cayey. He was nicknamed Piculín after one of the characters in The Wizard of Oz and The Concorde as a reference to the popular plane and his height (6'11"). Ortiz earned a Bachelor's degree in Communications from Oregon State University.[6]

BSN careerEdit

In 1980, with approximately 17 years, Ortiz debuted with the Atléticos de San Germán from the Baloncesto Superior Nacional league in Puerto Rico. As his career progressed, he improved his game significantly leading San Germán to a championship in 1985. That season, Ortiz averaged more than 25 points and 14 rebounds per game. He would lead the team to a second title in 1991, while he averaged 19 points and 15.8 rebounds per game.[7] After the 1991 season, Ortiz left the league to play in Europe. He would return in 1994 to lead San Germán to yet another title.

In 1998, Ortiz was released by San Germán. He then went to play for the Cangrejeros de Santurce, and helped them win four titles in a row (1998–2001). In 2002, Ortiz was named Most Valuable Player of the league, although his team did not reach the Finals. Ortiz and the Cangrejeros won another title again in 2003, making Ortiz only the third player to win eight titles in the league.[2]

He played two more years with Santurce, and in 2006 he played with the Capitanes de Arecibo. However, he retired after just one season with the team. He finished his career with 8,915 points, 5,314 rebounds (#6), and 1,134 assists in 505 regular season games. To this day, he is considered by many experts as the best Puerto Rican basketball player.[2]

College careerEdit

Ortiz attended Oregon State University from 1985-1987 where he was instructed by legendary coach Ralph Miller and was a teammate of future Basketball Hall of Famer Gary Payton during the latter's freshman year. During his two seasons with the Beavers, he averaged 19.8 points and 8.7 rebounds per game.[8] After the 1986-87 season, he was named Pac-10 Player of the Year defeating (among others) Reggie Miller of UCLA.[9] He also earned NCAA All-American honors in the 1986–1987 NCAA season.

NBA careerEdit

After graduating from Oregon State University, Ortiz entered the 1987 NBA Draft. He was selected #15 by the Utah Jazz becoming the first Puerto Rican to be selected in an NBA draft. However, before his first season, he received an offer from the CAI Zaragoza in Spain and he accepted. Ortiz rejoined the Jazz for the 1988-89 season, debuting on November 9, 1988. During his first season, Ortiz played 51 games, starting in 15. He averaged 2.8 points and 1.1 rebounds per game.

Ortiz returned to the NBA for the 1989-90 season, playing in 13 games before being waived by the team on February 5, 1990. He finished his brief NBA career with an average of 2.9 points and 1.1 rebounds per game.[8] Ortiz wore #44 during his NBA career.

International careerEdit

Ortiz played for the CAI Zaragoza basketball team in 1987. During that season, he was the second leading scorer of the team with 17.4 points per game.[10] However, he then returned to play with the Utah Jazz of the NBA. After being waived by the Jazz in 1990, Ortiz was hired by the Real Madrid basketball team in Spain. During that time, he played with Fernando Romay, Antonio Martín Espina, and José "Chechu" Biriukov. After that season, he went to the FC Barcelona where he won the Copa del Rey de Baloncesto in 1991 and finished second at the EuroLeague. During that season, he was one of the team's leading rebounder.[11]

After that, Ortiz played for the Festina Andorra (1992–1993), the Unicaja Málaga (1993–1994), the Gymnastikos S. Larissas (1994–1995), the Irakleio Crete (1995–1996) and the Aris Thessaloniki (1996–1997). In 1997, he helped the Aris team win the Korać Cup.[12] After that season, Ortiz was offered approximately more than $1 million for two years by the PAOK but the contract was declared null when laboratory tests for steroids allegedly came positive. Ortiz appealed the decision and won, but refused to return to Europe to play.[13] In 1997, Ortiz played for the Guaiqueríes de Margarita in the Venezuelan league.[14]

National team careerEdit

In 1982, Ortiz reached the minimum age to join Puerto Rico's national basketball team, and in 1983, he saw his first international competition, at the Pan American Games of Caracas, Venezuela. At the 1987 Pan American Games, Ortiz was the flag-bearer for Puerto Rico. They won the bronze medal on that tournament.[15] Ortiz also helped the Puerto Rican National basketball team earn a gold medal at the 1991 Pan American Games, in Havana, Cuba.

After the 2002 FIBA World Cup, held at Indianapolis, Ortiz announced his retirement from the national team, to coincide with national teammate Jerome Mincy's retirement from the team. He would reconsider his decision later, and rejoin the national team. In 2004, he was a part of the team that defeated the United States men's national basketball team at the Summer Olympics.

Other venturesEdit

EntrepreneurEdit

Ortiz opened a restaurant called Patria in his hometown of Cayey. However, in 2003 the restaurant went bankrupt.[16]

PoliticsEdit

Ortiz became interested in politics after meeting politician Ferdinand Pérez in 2000. Pérez sought Ortiz advice for legislative measures related to sports. Ortiz eventually accepted to run for Senator behind Pérez' campaign for Mayor of San Juan for the Popular Democratic Party. Ortiz ran for senatorial candidate from the district of San Juan-Guaynabo in Puerto Rico's 2008 general elections. However, both their bids were unsuccessful.[17] Pérez has said that Ortiz distanced from politics after the defeat.[18]

Social activismEdit

In May 28, 2011, Ortiz officially opened in Cayey the Piculín Ortiz Basketball Institute. The center aims to develop the basketball skills and performance of children and teenagers.[19][9]

Personal lifeEdit

Ortiz married Nirita Ruíz with whom he had one daughter but he had a son from a previous relationship.[20] However, they divorced in 2006.[16] He has been in a relationship with Sylvia Ríos since 2009.[21]

Legal problemsEdit

On June 29, 2011 Ortiz was arrested for drug related charges. Federal agents seized 218 marijuana plants in a rented property along with munitions for AR-15 rifles. Ortiz allegedly claimed possession of all the material during the arrest. At the bail hearing, Ortiz was legally represented by a public defender since he claimed he had no money for a lawyer. At the hearing, the judge decided to send Ortiz to a rehabilitation clinic.[22]

In November 4, 2011, Ortiz declared himself guilty of the charges against him.[21] The next week, he failed a surprise drug test which revealed he had used cocaine. Judge Camille Vélez Rivé ordered the immediate imprisonment of Ortiz, arguing that she had given him several opportunities already.[23] On March 29, 2012, he was sentenced to six months in prison.[3]

Career statisticsEdit

Legend
  GP Games played   GS  Games started  MPG  Minutes per game
 FG%  Field goal percentage  3P%  3-point field goal percentage  FT%  Free throw percentage
 RPG  Rebounds per game  APG  Assists per game  SPG  Steals per game
 BPG  Blocks per game  PPG  Points per game  Bold  Career high

NCAAEdit

Year Team GP GS MPG FG% 3P% FT% RPG APG SPG BPG PPG
1985-86 Oregon State 22 - 34.8 .515 - .664 8.5 - 0.6 1.5 16.4
1986-87 Oregon State 30 - 36.7 .584 - .725 8.7 - 1.2 1.4 22.3
Career 52 - 35.9 .557 .500 .703 8.7 1.5 0.9 1.4 19.8

NBAEdit

Year Team GP GS MPG FG% 3P% FT% RPG APG SPG BPG PPG
1988–89 Utah 51 15 6.4 .440 .000 .596 1.1 0.2 0.2 0.1 2.8
1989–90 Utah 13 0 4.9 .452 .500 .600 1.2 0.5 0.2 0.1 3.2
Career 63 15 6.1 .443 .333 .596 1.1 0.3 0.2 0.1 2.9

BSNEdit

Year Team GP FG% 3P% FT% RPG APG PPG
1980 San Germán 6 .500 .000 .800 0.7 0.0 1.7
1981 San Germán 9 .357 .000 .400 1.6 0.0 1.6
1982 San Germán 14 .356 .000 .500 3.1 0.0 2.9
1983 San Germán 33 .549 .000 .606 10.3 0.6 14.1
1984 San Germán 29 .575 .000 .631 13.1 1.1 21.1
1985 San Germán 29 .610 .400 .660 14.4 0.9 25.5
1986 San Germán 24 .568 .000 .678 11.3 1.7 18.8
1987 San Germán 22 .636 .500 .769 13.7 1.8 23.7
1988 San Germán 31 .590 .200 .768 11.5 2.3 20.2
1989 San Germán 23 .569 .000 .752 11.0 2.1 19.7
1990 San Germán 19 .630 .688 .774 12.7 2.8 22.5
1991 San Germán 11 .614 .333 .768 15.8 2.3 19.9
1994 San Germán 14 .636 .000 .818 9.6 3.4 17.3
1995 San Germán 19 .594 .296 .731 11.8 2.9 20.2
1996 San Germán 25 .647 .400 .711 13.8 3.3 20.5
1998 Santurce 29 .608 .269 .704 12.6 3.5 19.3
1999 Santurce 18 .609 .250 .667 10.1 3.3 20.6
2000 Santurce 28 .575 .273 .663 9.0 3.0 18.0
2001 Santurce 23 .576 .238 .656 10.1 2.8 19.7
2002 Santurce 27 .603 .333 .629 9.6 3.3 19.4
2003 Santurce 16 .457 .318 .464 8.6 3.6 14.1
2004 Santurce 29 .498 .000 .623 7.4 3.0 10.4
2005 Santurce 23 .496 .286 .404 6.5 1.9 10.9
2006 Arecibo 4 .474 .000 .500 5.5 1.5 5.0
Career 505 .582 .307 .680 10.5 2.2 17.7

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "Puerto Rico 92, USA 73". Usabasketball.com. Archived from the original on November 1, 2011. Retrieved December 18, 2011.
  2. ^ a b c José “Piculín” Ortiz Rijos: Brillante trayectoria deportiva on Primera Hora (June 30, 2011)
  3. ^ a b Suárez, Lymaris (March 29, 2012). "Seis meses de cárcel para Piculín Ortiz". El Nuevo Día.
  4. ^ https://www.primerahora.com/deportes/baloncesto/nota/piculinserauninmortal-1146833/
  5. ^ "José "Piculín" Ortiz Rijos: Brillante trayectoria deportiva". Primera Hora. June 30, 2011. Retrieved 17 January 2017.
  6. ^ Figura versada y culta on El Nuevo Día (July 3, 2011)
  7. ^ José Piculín Ortiz Statistics on BSNPR.com
  8. ^ a b Jose Ortiz on Basketball-Reference
  9. ^ a b Trayectoria deportiva de Piculín Ortiz on El Nuevo Día (June 30, 2011)
  10. ^ CAI Basket Zaragoza 1987-88 on ACB.com
  11. ^ FC Barcelona 1991-92 on ACB.com
  12. ^ Biografia de Jose Piculin Ortiz on BiografiasyVidas
  13. ^ Una fortuna que se le esfumó a Piculín Ortiz on El Nuevo Día (July 3, 2011)
  14. ^ Trayectoria Deportiva de Piculín on El Nuevo Día (June 30, 2011)
  15. ^ The Games of August: Official Commemorative Book. Indianapolis: Showmasters. 1987. ISBN 978-0-9619676-0-4.
  16. ^ a b El derrumbe de Piculin Ortiz on El Nuevo Día (July 1, 2011)
  17. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2011-06-21. Retrieved 2010-08-01.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  18. ^ Derrota política desato su derrumbe personal on El Nuevo Día (June 30, 2011)
  19. ^ Piculin Ortiz crea Instituto de Baloncesto on El Nuevo Día; Medina Gil, Alberto (May 29, 2011)
  20. ^ Falta personal de José “Piculín” Ortiz on Primera Hora; Rodríguez-Burns, Francisco (July 1, 2011)
  21. ^ a b Piculín Ortiz se declara culpable y podría ir preso on El Nuevo Día; Suárez Torres, Lymaris (November 5, 2011)
  22. ^ Tribunal envía a Piculín Ortiz a clínica para tratar adicción a drogas on El Nuevo Día; Suárez Torres, Limarys (June 30, 2011)
  23. ^ José "Piculín" Ortiz es ingresado a prisión on Primera Hora; Rodríguez-Burns, Francisco (November 8, 2011)

External linksEdit