By: Dylan Tehada
The future is bright for Mission Rec Center Rebels star Lea Escobar. As Escobar wraps up her eighth grade year and final years playing AAU ball, she strives to continue elevating her game and chasing her dreams in the sport she has fallen in love with. Escobar has been playing basketball for as long as she can remember. She first picked up a basketball in second grade and has been playing for the Mission Rec Center club team in San Francisco ever since.
Every year that she’s played organized ball she has set the bar high for herself, always playing with the team a grade above her or even playing on the boy’s team. By challenging herself, Escobar has always been a step ahead and has developed her game a great deal at such a young age. Throughout her career so far, she has had plenty of success, leading her team in scoring at several tournaments. She credits her accolades and growth in the game to the positive mindset she possesses and having a strong support system around her.
“Don’t be hard on yourself, there’s always teammates and coaches that can help you and lift you up,” Escobar said.
Escobar has been training at UPB for two years with various player development coaches including: Coach Packie Turner, Coach Hannah Johnson, Coach Ruta Savickaite, Coach Walter Lum, and Coach Danny LaFortune. On the physical side of the game she has learned how to be a better finisher at the rim and how to read and counter the defense with different ball handling moves and skills. On the mental side of the game she has learned the importance of a short term memory and not being too hard on herself when things don’t go her way.
“Coach Packie has taught me not to get too hard [on myself]. And when [I] keep missing shots, just know that [I] can always make the next one and keep telling [myself] that [I’m] going to make the next one,” Escobar said.
In addition to the physical and mental skill set Escobar possesses, she credits the support system around her as a major contributor to her success. Her biggest support system throughout her basketball journey have been her parents. Whether it be taking her to practice or cheering her on at tournaments, her parents are her biggest fans and are proud of how much she has grown on and off the court.
“[Her father and I] are proud of her because [Lea] takes on the challenges. She said to me that she doesn’t set her bar at one level. She just keeps striving for more,” Lisa Escobar said. “Lea, since she’s been playing since second grade, has always played up. So she’s never played her level, and she works harder and harder.”
Lea embodies everything that UPB is all about in terms of realizing her unlimited potential through a positive mindset and the hard work and determination to challenge herself. As high school ball looms near in her future, we are excited to see her continue to grow her game and take the next steps towards achieving her basketball dreams!