Captain leads practice with passion

Have you been to a Skyline Trojan’s basketball game and seen number 30 shoot like a beast? Well that beast is Tavita “Vika” Jimenez, the shooting forward and shooting guard of the Skyline Trojan’s basketball team. He doesn’t just make the shots, however. As the passionate and determined captain, he calls them too.

Jimenez is a sophomore at Skyline College, who was recruited from Junipero Serra High School and is majoring in kinesiology. In his freshman year at Skyline College, Jimenez won the “Most Outstanding Freshman” award during the 2014-2015 season.

He began playing basketball around the age of 7 years old, but that wasn’t the only sport he played when he was younger. Growing up, Jimenez played more baseball than basketball. He was the pitcher and first baseman of the South City Rockies, and at the young age of 10 years old, Jimenez made the all-star team. But in the end, he enjoyed playing basketball more than baseball.

“I chose basketball over baseball because basketball was more thrilling and exciting to play,” Jimenez said.

Jimenez definitely made the right choice. It is both thrilling and exciting to watch him drive the ball down the court to score against the opposing team, which is exactly what he did during his game against College of Alameda on Nov. 4. It was the team’s first game of the season and they won 115 to 96. His passion and hard work certainly showed throughout the game.

Skyline men’s basketball Head Coach Justin Piergrossi knows first hand how much hard work Jimenez puts into the game on and off the season. Coach Piergrossi points out that he is proud of him for putting a lot of time in the game, and for preparing himself for this season.

“He worked extremely hard physically to get prepared,” Piergrossi said. “A good part of that he did on his own in the off season.”

Jimenez is highly dedicated to improving himself to play better. He is diligent in getting his form and arc just right, so he can make more shots. His passion lies in refining his technique.

“I am very passionate about the things you can control in the game, like your form and defense,” Jimenez said. “You can’t control whether the ball goes in or not, but you can control the form from where the ball was released.”

His determination in getting his form correct has surely paid off. According to the statistics on California Community College Athletic Association (CCCAA), Jimenez has scored an average of 15 points per game this season thus far.

“He can shoot,” Trojans guard forward Usman Hameed said.

However, shooting is not the only thing Jimenez adds to the team.

“Vika brings a lot of energy and passion to the team,” Hameed said. “Which are the most underrated qualities for a basketball player.”

Jimenez is highly team-oriented, which not only makes him a better player, but makes the team play more cohesively and perform better overall.

“He is always communicating on the floor and trying to help his teammates,” Piergrossi said. “He has a lot of characteristics that not only make him a good player, but a good person to have in our program.”

Given how much dedication, determination and passion Jimenez is putting into basketball, it would be no surprise to one day see him play at the professional level.

“I would like to play pro in Europe,” Jimenez said. “And potentially travel the world to play basketball.”

So, go support Jimenez while he is still local. This might be your only chance to get an autograph before he starts traveling the world doing what he is most passionate about: playing basketball.


Update: a photo was added to the story. 3:24 p.m. 12/7/2015