Local hoopsters celebrate winning season
August 22, 2019 | View PDF
Eddie Velasquez and his wife, Erica Alvarado, strongly support a local traveling basketball team. Velasquez coaches, while Alvarado is the team mom, nurse, cook, and caretaker.
The team's name is 2nd to None and is part of the Latino Basketball Association. They manage a high school team of 15- to 17-year-olds, and because they love the game so much, they also manage an adult basketball team.
"We have a mixture of kids," Velasquez said. "There are 10 players on a team at any time that travel with us."
He calls his team 2nd to None and they have had a successful season this past year. Velasquez added that they often qualify to play in games by winning championships.
"2nd to None partners with the Orange Heart Foundation," he said. "We recently held a 3-on-3 competition, and we played at Thomas Jefferson."
Velasquez is proud of his team. "Because of our winning record, players from other teams approach us to join our team because we do so well."
He said that a traveling team can be expensive, especially when they go out of state. They played in Las Vegas earlier this year. "It cost about $350 for each player to make the trip," he said.
Fortunately, the team has quite a number of sponsors who help pay for the kids' uniforms and traveling expenses. Since they are a traveling team, their games are all out of town against teams from Las Vegas, Mexico and Los Angeles. They also do quite a few fundraisers to help the boys out with the cost of being on the team.
Velasquez and Alvarado often cook dinner for the team before they head out of town the next day, and they make sure there are ample snacks for long road trips.
"We pay for everything for the team," Velasquez said. "If a player doesn't have any money, we give him cash so he can enjoy the trip and eat when he wants to."
Velasquez and Alvarado have been managing the team for the past three years.
"We used to change uniforms every year, "Velasquez said. "but now we keep the same uniform because it's cheaper, and they can be handed down if need be."
He manages to keep up with his players and publicize their games on Instagram. where he has many followers.
Because they aren't affiliated with a school, they have been able to use the outside courts at Thomas Jefferson to practice once or twice a week. Once during the year, the school lets the team borrow the gym for about three months.
"We treat the players as if they are our own family," he said. "My wife cooks for the players all the time. We have barbecues and have them over."
Velasquez says everything they do is for the players because he knows how important extracurricular activities are for students. "It keeps them out of trouble."
Velasquez played basketball at Wasco High School, where he met Alvarado, who cheered for Wasco High.