Estacado basketball program setting a higher standard

LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - Most fans know the Estacado basketball program for making the State Tournament three out of the last four years. However this senior classes' most impressive state might not be their 99 wins, but rather their nine Matador seniors who've received scholarship money to go to college.

"I think it shows how dedicated we are," said future LCU Chap & basketball coach Ryhiem Hunter. "We all realize that going off to college is going to better us for the most part."

"I know for a fact my family wouldn't be able to pay for my college alone, so the full scholarship that I got helps out a lot," said Hunter.

Of that group of nine - one is their salutatorian, three are in the top 15 of their class, and their manager also received scholarship money and will be the first member of his family to go to college

But achieving their dreams of attending college was a team effort.

"If someone is slacking off, somebody lets them know," said Jalen Moore, a future physical therapist attending Midwestern State next year. "This is for a bigger cause - not for our basketball season or just state, but we're trying to get somewhere [better] with our lives."

Natrieon Lewis was a center for the Matadors, but he will attend Huston Tillotson to pursue his dreams of becoming a doctor.

"[Scholarships] helped me achieve my dreams," said Lewis. "Because I don't have to step back and pay a loan or pay this or pay that..."

"It's nice to go see your kids play, but it's even nicer when you don't have to go the mailbox and send in anything at the end of the month," said head coach Tony Wagner.

Wagner knows how scholarships can help not only the students but their parents as well; his son plays for Texas Tech on a full ride for basketball.

"The bigger picture is a lot of kids won't be good enough to play college basketball, but if they worked their hardest they can always be smart enough to go to college," said Wagner.

"And that's how you have to try to break the cycle over here in this neighborhood: you got to start with one and hope it will rotate down."

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