Who's the leading basketball scorer in the St. Louis metro area this season? De Smet Jesuit's Nolan Berry? Whitfield's Justin Thomas? They're good, but statistically not on top.
Any fan looking for the leading basketball scorer in the Metro will find Alex Peskin of Block Yeshiva Jewish High School at the top of the list of average points per game.
Yeshiva has just 15 male students in the entire school, grades 9-12. Peskin, a 6-foot-2 senior forward, 18-years-of age leads everyone in the area with a robust 28.2 points per game.
Top game ever was 45 points
His highest output was 45 two years ago. The black and gold Blockbusters are 4-8. They play small enrollment schools like Logos and Thomas Jefferson and McKinley Classical Academy and some home school teams.
Obviously. basketball doesn’t dominate Peskin’s life. He and his classmates are at school, a modest building at the far end of Old Olive Street Road near Lindbergh Boulevard where they study the typical courses while spending a half-day pouring over traditional Orthodox Jewish studies in the Torah, Talmud and Bible.
Mornings (7:30 a.m. to noon) are devoted to Jewish studies then they dive into the regular curriculum (math, science, English, etc.) until 5:30 p.m. daily.
Family is from Chesterfield
The Peskins live in Chesterfield. His dad, Andrew works for Wells Fargo Advisors and his mom is Myra. His sister, Shira, 20 has immigrated permanently to Israel. Alex will go to Israel too the end of the summer to continue his studies, become an Israeli citizen and eventually join their Army.
This is the path many young Orthodox Jewish people often chose to travel.
“I will study one year there at a Jewish learning institution then join the Army.”
He will maintain dual citizenships. “I have a lot of family there (15 relatives), and Israel is the homeland,” he said.
Block Yeshiva has a separate girls school
Block Yeshiva maintains a parallel girls’ high school, located on North Warson Road nearby. Their enrollment is a bit over 30 students.
Basketball games are played in the gymnasium at nearby Epstein Hebrew Academy (an elementary and middle school in Olivette) for Orthodox children.
Basketball wise, Peskin terms himself a “down low player.”
“I post up or drive in. I take a lot of shots in the paint. I’m not an outside shooter,” he said. "I don't consider myself a top-tier player."
Yeshiva also offers soccer and tennis. With just 15 boys in grades 9-12, virtually everyone kicks the round ball.
Following strict religious observances, the Blockbusters never schedule games on Friday nights or Saturdays. The students are in the Synagogue, worshiping at those times.
Basketball does not take up much of the student’s time. They practice just two days a week.
Peskin performs very well in his secular studies. He is a National Merit Scholarship finalist, and last year he took part in the Jews in Science competition. “As a result, I won a trip to Israel. I go to Israel often. That’s where I spend my summers," he said.
His ultimate plans are becoming an engineer one day.
Peskin takes the long view about moving permanently to Israel. “I love America. I have nothing to say bad about it. But we are taught to love Israel and it's much easier to move there when you are younger than when you are older,” he reasoned.