WEEKLY SPORTS FOCUS: Raymond Rodriguez

Celine Lopez

Raymond Rodriguez has played basketball since he was in seventh grade. Now a senior, Rodriguez plays power forward and center.

Although he enjoys the game because “it’s fun,” he says being on the team motivates him to keep up his C average grades.

“It keeps me in check and out of trouble,” Rodriguez said. “Freshman year, I didn’t make the grades to play sophomore year. That motivated me to want to play and be a team player and part of the team.”

His dedication to the sport doesn’t stop at making the grade to be able to play; Rodriguez is motivated to become a better player for the team.

“I’ve been trying a lot harder,” Rodriguez said. On a scale from 1-10 on dedication to the sport and his team, Rodriguez claims he’s an 11. Attending every practice and game to support his fellow teammates is just the start of his devotion to the team.

I’m always there. If not, I make sure I know what’s going on. That everything’s okay, everyone’s fine.” Driven to improve, he even works on his ball skills outside of practice. “I’m always trying to shoot around and make my dribbling better.”

His feelings about not having as much playing time in games is “bittersweet,” because some of his teammates are more athletic than he is, but he doesn’t let that sway his confidence. In fact, his “benchwarmer” status only fuels his desire to become a better player. “As a team, you can’t just think about yourself. You have to think ‘What’s best for the team?’”

He admits that there are others on the team who are better than him, but Rodriguez dedicates his every minute of playing time to pushing himself further as a player and teammate. Rodriguez hopes that his hard work might help his team make it to play-offs.

“I’m just trying to make a difference in the program, so that the younger generation has something to look for.”