|UHV freshman Jeffrey Olivarez, left, dribbles the ball in a high school game during the time he attended Thomas Edison High School in San Antonio. Olivarez has played basketball since age 5. |
In the closing seconds of a close high school game, an opposing player blocked a shot, sending the ball in the direction of point guard Jeffrey Olivarez.
“I hit the final shot in the corner for a 3-pointer,” he said. “Everybody was excited and cheering around me. I just remember thinking, ‘I can’t believe this just happened.’”
The victory that day by Thomas Edison High School was one of several reasons why the University of Houston-Victoria freshman has harbored a lifelong love of basketball.
Olivarez first took to the game around age 5, picking up the basics on a church team. He loved it from the start. He honed his skills as he joined other teams, eventually playing his way across the country.
“I come from a basketball family, so they were always attending my games, cheering me on,” he said. “We all love it.”
Olivarez, 18, was born and raised in San Antonio. He graduated from Thomas Edison High School in 2012 before moving on to UHV.
He admitted college took some adjustment, but he’s enjoyed it so far. The biggest change is the added independence, being able to do things on his own schedule, Olivarez said.
Olivarez encouraged other students adjusting to school to stay focused on their courses.
“It’s way different than being in high school, but it’s important to study a lot,” he said. “That’s what college is all about.”
Down the road, Olivarez hopes to transform his love of athletics into a full-fledged career, eventually becoming a physical therapist, coach or trainer.
In the meantime, he shoots hoops anytime he can, taking up games in the park, at schools and wherever else he can find a game. He wouldn’t mind UHV adding a Jaguars basketball team in the future.
“I’d really like to see something like that happen, something else for the students,” he said.
I am a Jaguar is an online feature highlighting the exceptional students who attend the University of Houston-Victoria. To nominate a student, contact Paula Cobler, UHV interim director of marketing and communications, or call 361-570-4350.