For freshman Gabriel Aguirre, this childhood fantasy has been a driving force and the 6’10” power forward from Brazil hopes City College will be that next step toward his goal.
Growing up in Sao Paulo, Aguirre proved he had basketball in his blood. At 15, he played for Brazil’s national under-18 team, when they faced the U.S. in finals of the 2010 FIBA Americas Championship, earning the silver medal.
But even before he was representing his country against the best in the world, his love for the game stems from his family roots. Aguirre’s father, Gustavo, played professionally for Argentina’s national team from 1972-82.
“When I was a kid he would always take me to practice and I would always go shooting. He is the one who made me passionate about basketball,” Gabriel Aguirre said.
Before Aguirre arrived in San Francisco, he first started his career playing for a local basketball team in Brazil named Palmeiras. After playing for Palmeiras for about five years, Aguirre then travelled to Spain for about two years and played for one of the elite teams for under 18 players in Cajasol.
“I had the opportunity to be champion of the L’Hospitalet, a tournament that brought together the best teams and players in Europe,” he said.
With a good amount of experience under his belt as a member of Brazil’s national team playing across in Europe, Aguirre’s parents decided to visit City College this past January and were impressed with the opportunity to play basketball and get a degree at the same time.
“In Brazil, usually you can’t do that. You either play ball or go to school. If you play basketball in Brazil you don’t have time to go to school,” he said.
Like any other athlete with big hopes and dreams playing professionally, Aguirre expects great things to happen at City College during his freshmen season.
“Even though this is my first season here at City College, I plan to just play well for the Rams and do my best to help the team go to the playoffs,” Aguirre said.
While at City College he also plans on transferring to a Division-I school to continue his basketball career and finish his degree. While always thinking about the future, Gabriel said he thinks is too soon to think about universities he would be interested in playing for.
“I wouldn’t be able to decide right now, I just got here few months ago. There are many top schools out there with great basketball teams. I will have to analyze calmly,” Aguirre said.
For the City College men’s basketball program, their coaches express that Aguirre is an exceptional player who will be of great help to this year’s season.
“He really knows how to play in terms of concept. His passing is pretty exceptional, he’s a good shooter and he is just really skilled,” said assistant coach Adam D’Acquisto.
Coming off a state championship last season with team chemistry being big part of their success, head coach Justin Labagh already thinks Aguirre is integrated with his teammates.
“They love playing with him because he is just so skilled and his mass body cue is really high,” Labagh said. “I even think they hang out with him on the weekends.”
The season did not even started but sophomore point-guard Eric Jarod Tillman and shooting-guard Mackenzie Moore have similar opinions about Aguirre as a player and as a teammate.
“He is a big part of our team, something you don’t see out of most 6’10 players. He can shoot the ball and he can pass. Gabe bring a lot of things to the table for us,” Tillman said.
Even away from the gym, Aguirre has been an impact on the team.
“Off court he is a very fun guy,” Tillman said. “He is always lit up with a smile trying to make you laugh.”
With basketball in his blood and a winning attitude to succeed in his heart, Gabriel Aguirre has accomplished a lot in 19 years. Now he looks to the future and as member of City College’s basketball team, he looks to add something else to his basketball resume; help the Rams become once again state champions.