By ARLEENE MEJIA

The Citrus Valley High School boys basketball team held their senior night following the last game of the season on Feb. 7, 2019. They were defeated by Redlands East Valley by a score of 72-47. In addition to team manager Ewa Wawrynek, four other seniors were honored: captains Devin Smith and Daniel Melero alongside Eddie Marquez and Arnold Henrico. La Plaza Press sat down with these senior players as they shared their thoughts regarding the season and their experience on the team.

Devin Smith

Citrus Valley senior Devin Smith drives towards the net past two opposing defenders. (JENNIFER MOON/ Citrus Valley Yearbook)

Mejia: What do you believe you brought to the team?

Smith: I think that I brought leadership since I was a captain and a strong sense of work ethic that the team seemed to feed off of.

Mejia: How long have you been playing basketball, and who got you into it?

Smith: I have been playing basketball since third grade and my older brother got me into it. I liked it because I was generally taller than most kids so it gave me an advantage.

Mejia: Is there a significance in your jersey number?

Smith: At first it was just a coincidence, but my brother who got me into basketball was also number three in high school, so it just stuck.

Mejia: What advice has your coach given that you will remember forever?

Smith: He has taught me that body language and respect are everything.

Mejia: What are the best qualities of a teammate?

Smith: The best qualities of a teammate are knowing your role and always keeping a good attitude.

SMITH’S FINAL MESSAGE:

Goodluck next season guys! I am expecting big things!

Senior Devin Smith waits for the basketball to be thrown back in and continue the match. (ARLEENE MEJIA / La Plaza Photo)

Daniel Melero

Citrus Valley senior Daniel Melero attempts a lightly contested three-pointer. (GANNON TULLIS/ Citrus Valley Yearbook)

Mejia: What do you believe you brought to the team?

Melero: Being that it was my second year being captain on the team, I felt that it was my job to bring leadership. The coaches depended on me a lot to look over my teammates and help out with any questions they had on and off the court.

Mejia: How long have you been playing basketball, and who got you into it?

Melero: I’ve been playing [basketball] since I was four years old. My dad was the one who got me into playing basketball based on the fact that he has always loved sports which rubbed off on me. Growing up, football and basketball were my two main sports, but in high school I decided to just stick to basketball because I always loved the fast paced game and the challenge to always make quick decisions.

Mejia: Is there a significance in your jersey number?

Melero: My middle name is Jordan, after Michael Jordan, so I was always number 23 growing up for everything. So when it came time to decide what jersey number I wanted, 21 was the closest number to 23, so I just stuck with it.

Mejia: What advice has your coach given that you will remember forever?

Melero: It’s not even basketball related, but one thing that he said to me that I will always remember is that despite being a minority, one thing that will never be taken away from me is the opportunity to receive an education. He always said to go to college and always push myself no matter what trials I face.

Mejia: What are the best qualities of a teammate?

Melero: The best qualities are a teammate who knows their role and is willing to put any pride they have aside and play to win.

REV player attempts to block Citrus Valley senior Daniel Melero’s pass. (GANNON TULLIS/ Citrus Valley Yearbook)

Eddie Marquez

Citrus Valley senior Eddie Marquez attempts to dribble past REV student to the hoop. (GANNON TULLIS/ Citrus Valley Yearbook)

Mejia: What do you believe you brought to the team?

Marquez: I feel like I brought the energy and the support even when we were down and out. I tried to make the team feel like we were on top.

Mejia: How long have you been playing basketball, and who got you into it?

Marquez: I have been playing basketball for my whole life, ever since I was little I always used to watch Kobe. He was most definitely the one that made me fall in love with the sport.

Mejia: What advice has your coach given that you will remember forever?

Marquez: I remember when Coach O said, “You can cheat practice, but you can’t cheat the game.” I feel like I’ll always remember that as motivation to always work my hardest at everything I do.

Mejia: What are the best qualities of a teammate?

Marquez: Every teammate has to always be positive and helpful with anything… It is a must to be very coachable when it comes to learning new plays or just practicing the little things that can win games.

MARQUEZ’S FINAL MESSAGE:

I just want to thank them all for everything that they did for me. I really couldn’t be where I am today without them.

Citrus Valley senior Eddie Marquez walks away from his last high school basketball game. (ARLEENE MEJIA/ La Plaza Photo)

Arnold Henrico

Citrus Valley senior Arnold Henrico starts a fast break after blocking a REV student. (JENNIFER MOON/ Citrus Valley Yearbook)

Mejia: What do you believe you brought to the team?

Henrico: I brought energy, hard work and pushing my teammates above their limits.

Mejia: How long have you been playing basketball, and who got you into it?

Henrico: I started playing basketball around eight but I did not start playing seriously until sixth grade around 12. My little sister played basketball for a bit, and I got along with it and kind of fell in love with basketball.

Mejia: Is there a significance in your jersey number?

Henrico: There wasn’t really any significance in my number, but there were only 32 and 12, so I picked 12 because it is my sister’s birthday, so I picked something that means something to me.

Mejia: What advice has your coach given that you will remember forever?

Henrico: Coach O taught me how to be a man. He taught me about family and respect. He also taught me this one word called “imani” meaning players need to absolutely trust each other and have each other’s back no matter what.

Mejia: What are the best qualities of a teammate?

Henrico: Respect for others, because respect is wide in general, it covers a lot of varieties. So if you have respect for others and for yourself, you’ll be a great teammate no matter what.

HENRICO’S FINAL MESSAGE:

It’s been a great pleasure playing with Coach O and with my teammates. Ups and downs, we’re a team, but we put that all aside. I just want to wish them good luck for next year, work hard, stay motivated and just make us [seniors] proud. As seniors, we probably open up a path for you guys because comparing our season last year to this season is way different. Keep on track, stay motivated.

Citrus Valley senior Arnold Henrico practices his shots before the game against REV. (ARLEENE MEJIA / La Plaza Photo)

Lea este artículo en español aquí: https://laplaza.press/2020/03/02/citrus-valley-honra-sus-jugadores-de-baloncesto-del-ultimo-ano/