By William Hernandez
At the young age of 14, DeLaura Castanada became a parent of twins who gave her motivation to continue playing the game she loves. Born and raised in Los Angeles, California, Castanada leads the East Los Angeles College women’s basketball team’s offensive attack with an average of 12.7 points per game.
Castanada found out she was pregnant with her twin boys David and Issac Sandy in her first year of high school at Lynwood High.
Giving birth to twins did not intimidate Castanada from pursuing her goals in life. Instead it helped her realize what is important.
“They’ve been a blessing. They helped me work harder and realize what is important because I was obviously a wild child,” Castanada said. Castanada said she got into the game of basketball later than others.
“I got started around seventh grade. I have an athletic family, but I was more focused inside the classroom. They were the ones who pushed me into playing and that’s how I got started,” Castenda said.
Castanada finished her high school career at Los Angeles Jordan and graduated with honors. After graduating high school, due to her academics, Castanada enrolled at California State University, Dominguez Hills.
“I walked on the team I tried hard to get a scholarship, but never got enough playing time. Stress began to build, financial problems began to rise and that’s when I took a step back and went to a community college,” Castanada said.
“She brings a great deal of energy, lives on the edge and is always in the middle of action,” ELAC Head Coach Bruce Turner said.
After playing and practicing for a full season against NCAA Division II talent, it’s arguable that Castanada has the upper hand.
Castanda did not want to throw community college competition under the bus, but says it is slightly easier than previous competitions she went up against.
“Everyone here is looking to compete and achieve their goals. I don’t want to say that it is easy however, with me previously being at a higher level it’s kind of easy… when I’m on the court visualizing everything, I see plays develop before they actually happen, something no one else out on the floor can,” Castanada said.
Castanada’s best game this season was in an away game at El Camino College when she scored 18 points, six rebounds, four assists and eight steals in 80-62 win.
Before arriving to ELAC, Castanada was a pure slash player, driving to the paint was her only offensive skill. With the help of assistant coach Leonard “Butter” Owens and Turner, Castanda’s game has matriculated to her developing of a mid-range game.
“Before I was just a ‘slasher,’ I had no jumper, no shooting game. I would just drive into the paint. Now, I’ve developed a mid-range game. I can pull up for a jumper and handles here and there,” Castanada said.
“It’s so diverse with players like Karina (Ortiz). Before, she did not quite get the concepts but she hustled. When she hustles the whole team does,” she said. Along with parenting and playing, Castanada works full-time at an airplane manufacturing company in Garden Grove.
“Time management is something many college students struggle with,” Castanada said. She said that her precise time management is what keeps her on top of her game.
“By 10:30-11 p.m I start getting ready for bed and at four in the morning I wake up and get ready for work,” Castanada said.
Castanada is majoring in chemistry and strives to become a Pharmacist for a career.
She says that the key to her success on the court, work, and everything else in her life has been motivation and determination.
“It’s not all about me anymore. I’ve got a family to take care of. That is my motivation. You have got to love what you are doing and be determined,” Castanada said.