The road to the Final Four ends in Houston as March Madness takes over college campuses and computer screens across the country. Sixty-eight teams will compete for the college basketball crown over the next few weeks, busting office pool brackets along the way. Latino ballers will play a role throughout the tournament, particularly for three separate No. 3 seeds, featured in these five raza to watch.
At 6-7 and 236 pounds with a relentless motor, Utah forward Chris Reyes is often compared to Hall of Fame rebounder Dennis Rodman. Like Rodman, Reyes is a handful on the defensive end and has a knack for pulling down offensive boards. Originally from La Verne, California, the young Mexican is a key cog off the bench for the Runnin’ Utes, who enter the tournament as the No. 3 seed in the Midwest region. Now in his junior year, Reyes will be looking to make a lasting impression in the big dance against Fresno State.
A native of Cartagena, Colombia big man Tonny Trocha-Morelos is no stranger to success. The 6-10 center led his high school in Colombia to three state championships, and is averaging 7 points and 4 rebounds per game in his sophomore year with the Aggies. Texas A&M begins their quest to the Final Four in Houston with the West’s No. 3 seed and a showdown with Green Bay. Their overtime loss to Kentucky in the SEC Tournament should provide plenty of fire for a deep run.
Boricua Angel Rodriguez left his family and his hometown of Cupey at the age of 15 to play basketball in Miami. Thanks to his primo, former North Carolina State baller Javi Gonzales, Rodriguez was able to transition to Florida and began his collegiate career at Kansas State University. Since transferring to Miami the veteran guard has been a model of consistency for the Hurricanes, averaging 11 points and 4 assists per contest in his senior year. As the No. 3 seed in the South, expect Miami to make the most of Rodriguez ‘s final run, which tips off against Buffalo.
Colombiano Juan Aparicio may not have the gaudiest stats in the in the tournament, only 3 points in 6 game appearances this season, yet his contribution to the A&M squad is invaluable. The Bogatá, Colombia native won a national championship in prep play back home, before moving to Houston to capture second team all-district honors in high school. The senior guard’s familiarity with Texas culture has no doubt helped ease the transition for big man Tonny Trocha-Morelos from Cartagena to College Station, both on and off the court.
Ivan Cruz Uceda
Growing up with a father who played professional basketball for Club Deportivo Cajamadrid in Spain, Ivan Cruz Uceda is no stranger to the game. After a detour at Harcum College in Pennsylvania, the 6-10 forward is averaging 5 points and 2 rebounds in a reserve role for Miami. Like his teammate Angel Rodriguez, this is the last run for the senior, before a possible return to his hometown of Madrid. As March Madness has shown us in the years past, any player can get hot at any time, even a workmanlike bruiser off the bench.