September 20, 1958|
New York City, New York
|Listed height||5 ft 9 in (1.75 m)|
|Listed weight||175 lb (79 kg)|
|High school||DeWitt Clinton
(Bronx, New York)
|College||Bethany Nazarene College
Essex County College
|1977–1990||Indios de Canóvanas|
|1991–1993||Titanes de Morovis|
Angelo "Monch" Cruz is a Puerto Rican former basketball player. He was born in New York. Coming out of the Patterson Projects in the Bronx, "Monchito" was a New York City Playground legend by the time he finished High School at DeWitt Clinton High School. After playing at Bethany Nazarene College (OK) and Essex (NJ) County College, he moved on to play professionally in Puerto Rico.
Career in Puerto Rico
Cruz began his career in the Baloncesto Superior Nacional in 1977, when he was 18 years old. He played for the Indios de Canóvanas for 13 seasons. He led Canóvanas to back-to-back championships in 1983 and 1984 and recorded his 1,500th assist in 1988. His team battles with perennial powerhouses Bayamón, Guaynabo and San Germán are still famous in BSN lore. Cruz spent his last three seasons with the Titanes de Morovis. After 16 years in the league averaging 14.8 points and 4.8 assists per game, he retired after the 1993 season.
At the age of 20, Cruz was part of Puerto Rico's 1979 Pan American team that earned a silver medal in San Juan in a memorable PR-USA showdown against the Isiah Thomas/Bobby Knight led USA team. He would go on to play in two more Pan Am Games in 1983 in Caracas, Venezuela and in 1987 at Indianapolis, Indiana. In 1984 he played at the FIBA 1984 Tournament of the Americas Olympic Qualifier in São Paulo, Brazil. In 1990 he played at the 1990 Goodwill Games in Seattle, Washington.
Career in The Olympics
In 1988, Cruz helped qualify Puerto Rico to the 1988 Summer Olympics in Seoul, Korea, at the 1988 Tournament of the Americas Olympic Qualifier in Montevideo, Uruguay. At that time, Puerto Rico had been absent from the Summer Olympics since 1976. At the 1988 Summer Olympics in Korea he led the Puerto Rican National Basketball Team in assists and was second in scoring with a 12.375 scoring average. Against Yugoslavia, He scored the winning shot at the buzzer to beat the eventual Silver Medalist, which was led by soon-to-be NBA players Dražen Petrović and Vlade Divac 74-72.
FIBA World Tournaments
Cruz played in two FIBA World Tournaments, 1986 in Spain and 1990 in Argentina. In 1990, in Buenos Aires, he helped Puerto Rico earn a Fourth Place at the 1990 FIBA World Championship. On its way to a 7-0 record his team defeated World Powers Yugoslavia, Team USA, and Australia, only to lose its last two games in the medal round to the Soviet Union and Team USA. That was his final participation in International Competition.
Angelo Cruz retired from basketball in 1993, after which he found a job working at Yankee Stadium, where he met and befriended New York Yankees player José Valentín. However, in 1998, he mysteriously disappeared while visiting family in Puerto Rico. He has never been seen or heard from since.
On August 2011, the first basketball tournament honoring and celebrating Cruz's life was held in Patterson Houses. In the days leading up to the tournament, the Cruz family released several statements informing the public they were still seeking answers to his disappearance. The family also announced a scholarship fund was created in his memory. All contributions support basketball camps for Bronx youths. The tournaments are attended by Cruz's eldest child, Angel Cruz, Jr., his grandson, Kaneda Cruz, Cruz's mother Gloria and his sister Naomi Cruz-Lymon along with his basketball family and many friends.
While still living in Mott Haven, Cruz had his first child with Denise West whom they named Angel Monchito Cruz, Jr. His son, Angel continues to reside in Mott Haven and is employed as a window cleaner. In 2000, Angel had a son, Kaneda Akira Cruz who is a student in NYC's public school system. Kaneda is Cruz's only grandchild. His other children include his second son, Alvin, who plays with the Ponce Lions of the BSN, and daughter, Anaíss. He also had another daughter, Angeliz, from his marriage to Annie Torres. His youngest child, Justin Cruz was born from his marriage with Carmen Diaz Farrell.
At the time of his disappearance, Cruz was no longer married.
- Video on YouTube
- Video on YouTube
- Video on YouTube
- "¿Dónde está Ángelo Cruz?". El Nuevo Día. September 20, 2009.