Crimson Tide hoopster plays waiting game

Roger Vasquez puts up some shots prior to a Crimson Tide basketball game against Medford. (Photo by Joseph Prezioso)

Recovering from knee injury Vasquez waits for his turn

By LORENZO RECUPERO

Everett High School sophomore Roger Vasquez has learned so much in just one year.

As a freshman, almost a year ago to date, Vasquez tore his anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in the final boys’ basketball game of the year against Cambridge Ridge & Latin, a second-round, 65-52, playoff loss for the Crimson Tide.

Knee surgery, 9 months of therapy, training, and a pandemic later, Vazquez
is back on the basketball court as the Crimson Tide looks to capture the Greater Boston League championship.

Vazquez is dribbling and shooting and back to doing basketball activities with the team during practice but has yet to play in one of the seven games scheduled in the regular season.

The year-long grind to get back on the court was a short-term setback for what would be a long-term gain for the sophomore.

The 6-foot-tall Vasquez is of the shifty kind, able to stop on a dime and put up a shot or dish out a pass to leave defenders at a loss. This skill of his made him more ‘susceptible’ to an ACL tear, he admitted.

Before the injury against Cambridge R&L, the game was shaping up to be a big one for him, as he filled the role of ‘utility man’ for head coach Stanley Chamblain and was getting his first start of the year in a must-win situation. He was playing his best ball at the time, averaging close to 15 points and 5 rebounds per game during one stretch.

ROGER VASQUEZ. (Photo by Joseph Prezioso)


Even still, Vasquez admits that if he missed a shot, threw a bad pass, or lacked hustle on a box out, it would have caused him to get down on himself. He would dwell on small errors, stunting his growth.

It was the injury and lessons of the subsequent recovery that changed the learning process for Vazquez, an honor roll student, and showed him how best to bounce back.

“I never thought [tearing my ACL] would happen to me, little mistakes or small injuries would get in my head then, but not anymore,” said Vazquez on what he’s learned most from his battle back to basketball.

“I’m a better basketball player now, for sure. If I miss or throw a bad pass I’m going to forget about it and get right back on it and get better,” the sophomore said.

The recovery process was like “being reborn again”, said Vazquez.

There were days where I couldn’t walk and needed the whole family to just me stand at some point. I was fortunate to have my parents who were both very supportive throughout,” said Vazquez.

The mental growth of Vazquez has been the highlight of having him back with the team said coach Chamblain, who hopes to have the sophomore stud b on the court in competitions as soon as he’s ready.

“Hearing he defeated the mental battle of recovery had me ecstatic,” said Chamblain. That’s the hardest part. I’d love to see him just take it from where he left off [last season] and provide the leadership we’ve known to come from him now. He’s focused on what he’s got ahead of him,” Chamblain said.

With three games left in the regular season, the Tide remain undefeated at 4-0 after slipping by Lynn Classical Friday, 52-51.

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