Hard work earns basketball player scholarship

FUTURE SHOT—Rafael Morelos used his basketball skills to earn himself a scholarship to CSU Monterey Bay. CN/Danny Valladares

By Dennis Kim

Rafael Morelos is witnessing his dreams become a reality thanks to the opportunities given by college and the game of basketball.

Born and raised in the city of Baldwin Park, Morelos decided to stay close to his home after high school. He chose to attend East Los Angeles College with the dreams of receiving a basketball scholarship.

A natural sportsman, Morelos grew up in a home filled with exceptional athletes. His father was a former standout soccer player and his mother was a record-holding track star at Roosevelt High School. Morelos’ younger brother, Fernie, is currently a freshman on the ELAC basketball team.

Growing up as a kid, Morelos and his two brothers were always pushed to play sports. With the encouragement of his family, Morelos quickly fell in love with basketball.

Morelos first started playing basketball as a small kid at the Evergreen Recreation Center. It wasn’t until his freshman year in high school when he began taking the sport seriously and realized he had the potential to be great.

Being an outstanding player at Baldwin Park High School, Morelos had no problem adjusting to the faster and more physical level of college ball.

In his first two seasons, Morelos was named an all-conference player twice in a row. With his 6-foot, 205 pound body frame and muscular build, Morelos averaged an impressive 14 points, 8 rebounds, and 1 block per game.

The statistics weren’t just because of his size. Morelos was blessed with gifted abilities to move fast and agile for his big size. Morelos said, “I can do everything the small guys do, and I can do everything the big men do. I think that’s what sets me apart from the other good players.”

With his tremendous physical intelligence and mature personality, Morelos isn’t one of those loud players that boast about their capabilities or talk trash to opposing players. He is more of a conservative player that gets the job done humbly.

Morelos said, “I don’t like to talk trash. I let my game do the talking.”

Morelos’ great play got him a lot of attention from coaches all over the west coast. He got scholarship offers from Cal Baptist University, Biola University, Vanguard University, and a number of other Division II schools.

Out of all the schools, only one stood out the most. Cal State Monterey Bay desired and respected Morelos’ game a lot more than the others. Following his heart, Morelos decided to take his talents to Monterey Bay.

At his new school, Morelos’ biggest goal is to be a phenomenal player in their division.

Not only an athlete, Morelos is also aiming to earn his bachelors degree in business. Thanks to his caring coaches at ELAC, he’s adopted the belief that being a student is more important than being an athlete.

Before he goes on to the next level, Morelos said, “I thank ELAC for the opportunity to play for them, the coaches for helping me get to the level I’m at, and my teammates for always being there to help me succeed.”

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