Freshman basketball player’s journey to the top

Anthony Hodge

No matter how hard life is, or how many obstacles there is to overcome, for freshman guard Keith Wiltz, basketball was always there.

Growing up in Moreno Valley, Ca, Wiltz discovered the game of basketball at the tender age of three.

“I really liked watching (former NBA player) Allen Iverson when I was little because I’m small, and he was really small,” Wiltz said. “He just gave me the drive to feel like I can do it.”

 Wiltz attended John W. North high school in Riverside, where he became a three-time All-CIF player and earned All-Ivy League honors for three consecutive seasons.

Despite these accomplishments, there was one moment that stands out the most for him.

“It was summer league, I scored 52 points on Rubidoux High School, and I made 13 three point shots,” he said.

“I made three people fall down. The game was so intense that the crowd had cameras filming me play. It was like all eyes on me,” Wiltz added.

After graduating high school in 2008, Wiltz attended Riverside Community College, a school where he was supposed to be a freshman.

Upon making the team, Wiltz suffered a knee injury, and missed the entire season.

“I was kind of discouraged. I was like ‘is this the end of my basketball career,'” Wiltz said.

 Wiltz said that he put off basketball and, for the moment, gave up on his dreams.

“I got into other things that resulted in negative consequences, and I just realized that basketball was what God gave me,” he added.

Last year, Wiltz enrolled to Cerritos College where head coach Russ May gave him an opportunity to become a Falcon.

Although this season has not been successful with the team having a losing record, Wiltz’s teammates enjoy having him on the team.

Freshman guard Darren McQueen, a cousin of Wiltz said, “He’s a good player on the court and off the court. He is a cool guy to hang out with.”

“If our head is down, he keep our head up,” McQueen added.  “He makes practice fun.”

Kyle Hall, freshman forward said that Wiltz is the top energizer on the team.

“He’s energy is contagious, so it makes me play better,” Hall added.

During the duration of a game or practice, Wiltz stays on his teammates to make sure that they stay motivated.

“He’ll get on you, but it’s a good thing. It’s not like he’s pointing you out or anything,” Hall said.

As this season draws to a close, Wiltz and the Falcons have handled the season well, mainly because the majority of the team are freshmen.

Wiltz is looking forward for season next year.

As for the future, Wiltz, a physical education major, is hoping to transfer to the University of Southern California to continue his basketball dreams.

“My biggest supporters are my family, and USC is right in LA,” Wiltz said. “They’ll be able to come to all of the home games at least, and [USC] gets a lot of T.V. exposure.”

However, Wiltz said that if basketball doesn’t work out, he will use his physical education degree and become both a teacher and a coach.

“I also want to own my own business. I have a clothing line in mind, Wiltz added.”

“I’m just striving to be the best and make it, I just want to make it.”