We’ll turn now to a follow-up of our American Graduate series “What’s Next for The Class Of ’17?” Earlier, we caught up with Ricky Rijos Jr., an 11th grader at Flower Mound High School. He’s a basketball fanatic – but he’s only 5’6”, and after sitting on the bench he says he’s giving up the sport.
Fran Fraschilla can relate. He’s a former college coach, a current announcer for ESPN and the father of two boys who never reached 6 feet tall. Fraschilla, by the way, is all of 5’7”.
Here are highlights from the interview with Fran Fraschilla:
“I got cut as a high school sophomore from the jv team and I was extremely disappointed and I spent the next six months working really hard and I was lucky enough to make varsity. I didn’t play much. I knew even if I didn’t play I wanted to be a basketball coach when I was growing up. I had this love of the game and passion and perseverance of game.”
“I was short, it was a challenge to be on the court with bigger guys but I fell in love with game.”
“The great thing about sports at any level, it’s not only about having success, it’s also experiencing failure and adversity. How you handle failure and adversity, to me, is going to help you in life.”
“One of my sons is 5’ 10 one is 5’11. They’re height-challenged as it relates to basketball. Once they decided they wanted to try to be the best basketball players they could be, whether it’s at the high school level - and both of them were fortunate to go on to college - I encouraged them any way I could without being overbearing. And I was overhearing at times. . . and sometimes with their coach, because I knew a lot about the game and I became not always the most model parent, I have to admit.”
“I’m blessed. Both of those guys liked what their dad did for a living. Neither one of them was a great player but both of them have channeled that passion and perseverance for the game into the beginning of careers,” as professional basketball coaches.