Growing up in a working class community on the outskirts of Los Angeles County, I played every kind of sport I could and was exposed to all walks of life. The city itself molded me in to the person I am today with help from my family and mentors. I had the same challenges you would find most kids having, but it was my love for basketball that helped push me through. I could never get enough of playing. I lived in the gym and always wanted to improve my game, staying on the court kept me out of trouble.
As the youngest of six children, my older brother Randy showed what it meant to be active in sports – he showed me how to be a competitor and how competition can help you flourish as an athlete. I loved the competition and never looked back. I did fairly well in school, thinking I would be a train engineer when I was young. When I was about 10-years-old I became infatuated with college sports and dreamed of being a part of the NCAA. In high school I spent majority of my time in the gym, and although it kept me out of trouble, it also kept me out of the classroom. Neighborhood college basketball players became my mentors, molding my game and giving me role models to look up to. My high school coaches were always reminding me there is was a world off-court, beyond basketball.
Now that I am an assistant coach at my alma mater, La Mirada High School, I try to teach the students that being successful academically is just as important as scoring the winning basket. I want to take this philosophy into my role as an ambassador for the A.T.R. Project – assisting these young basketball players with their game on the court, while being a role model for community development and scholarship off the court. It’s our job as community leaders to point the kids we influence in the right direction.