RIO HONDO, Texas (ValleyCentral) – Juelz Arredondo continues to prove why autism will not box him out on the basketball court.
The freshman at Rio Hondo High School was introduced to the game of basketball in middle school.
Since then, he has never looked back.
“I started back in middle school,” said Arredondo. “When I started playing for the first time, it was a little rough.”
Arredondo struggled at first to get the fundamentals of the game down. He stepped away from the game until this year when he started high school.
Since becoming a Bobcat, his teammates and coaches have seen him make strides in improving.
“I have him for fifth period,” said Michael Alvarez, Rio Hondo Varsity Boys Basketball Head Coach. “The things that we do in fifth period, you know, translate to practice, so it gives me that extra time with him to help them.”
Arredondo is known as a fierce competitor by his teammates. He loves to win and hates to lose.
He kept working all season to get better every day at practice. Arredondo finally got his shot in a game against Monte Alto. A game that Juelz will never forget.
“I missed the first shot,” said Arredondo. “I shot again and started celebrating because I made my first shot. I was getting so hyped I started crying because it was my first shot.”
While that is a moment that will stick with Arredondo for the rest of his life, it’s also a moment his coaches and teammates will never forget.
Every time Jeulz gets the opportunity to play, it’s a special moment for everyone in the gym.
“I believe we’re at Santa Rosa,” said Alvarez. “After Juelz scores, you know, he kind of looks over to where we’re sitting, and points me, like an approval type of thing. That was really fun to see.”
“It’s just cool to see the crowd, his family, all my family, all my friends just in the crowd watching him,” said Samuel Muñoz, a teammate of Juelz.
Rio Hondo’s season is not done yet. Arredondo will continue to push his teammates to make them better.
His teammates said, “he brings nothing but joy every time he laces up for the hardwood.”
The Bobcats have three regular-season district games remaining. They take on Progresso Feb. 3, at 7 p.m.