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Can you introduce yourself?
My name is Jonathan Guzman. I was born in Seattle, Washington on October 30th 1998. I’m 21 years old and I am a 6’7 Foward from Paramount, California. Although I was born in Washington; Paramount is my city and has my heart cause I was raised here since I was only 3 months old.
When and how did you start playing basketball?
I started playing basketball when I was around 7 years old but I didn’t start taking it serious until going into my junior year of high school. The NBA was a far fetched dream that I always had but I started to see by my junior year of high school that this is something achievable with the Grace of God, the right guidance, & an immense amount of hard & relentless work. I was a football player at first and loved scoring touchdowns. I looked up to Calvin Johnson but then I took a bad undercut hit back in about 8th grade and fell on my head and it made me not wanna play anymore. It actually took me quite a bit to get into playing basketball and developing love and getting good at it because I am what you call a “late bloomer”. Basketball is my life. I’m grateful for God for giving me this opportunity to play this game day in and day out.
Can you tell us more about your basketball path growing up to now?
I attended Paramount High School which is in the same league as Gahr, Dominguez, Downey, Lynwood, and Warren High School. Paramount hasn’t really been recognized as a “basketball school” but is recognized for soccer and now football in its recent years. My high school experience with basketball wasn’t the greatest winning wise. We weren’t too good but we had decent talent and a bunch of guys that just loved the game. I had many opportunities to transfer and go elsewhere but my heart and loyalty to Paramount was unmatched. I once heard that “if you’re good, they’ll find you” so that really did stick with me. While at Paramount I was coached by a great coach, man, & mentor, named Mark McGarry. He’s been talked upon for his straightforward and brutal honesty but that is what I loved mostly about him. He was very blount and never sugarcoated anything. Although I was about 6’5 or 6’6 he never just stuck me in the post like most coaches did back then, he taught me how to move and play like a guard. It was a little too late to when he realized he should of played me at the point guard position but he definitely helped me so much so my hat is off to him. After Paramount, I attended Cerritos College for two years under coaches Russ May, Tito Ortiz, the late Criss Freeman, & one of my all time favorites Lovell Owens. As a freshman there, I was third in state in field goal percentage and my sophomore year I was all conference and led the state in field goal percentage. More so, I absolutely loved my time at my junior college because it taught me so much. I didn’t know what to expect going into Cerritos other than me knowing that it was a huge winning program and coached extremely well. I definitely grew a lot on and off the court due to not only my teammates but the coaching staff. We got to the first round of the playoffs my freshman year at Cerritos and then made it all the way to the final four of the state championship my sophomore year there. It was a huge learning experience for me and I definitely felt like it made me a better man going through junior college. A little bit about the staff, Coach Freeman was an assistant coach for our team when I was a freshman and when I tell you this man was the most aggressive coach I’ve ever had, man he most certainly was. His passion and love for the game was unheard of and his will to win was relentless. He really made a point of emphasis on defense because defense wins championships. We unfortunately lost him later that year and I still think about him to this very day. He definitely made a huge impact not only my life but so many players lives as well and I’m sure many can agree with me on that one. For both my freshman and sophomore years we had coach May, Ortiz, and Owens and they each had super different personalities but they all shared the same goal, that is to win and be better than you were yesterday. Coach Tito Ortiz was a kind of laid back yet aggressive coach that would be extremely blount and straightforward with you. He is super smart and definitely does his job extremely well. Coach Lavell Owens is probably one of the most influential coaches/trainers I’ll ever have had.. He is definitely something else in the best way possible. I can mix in straightforward , aggressive, wise, stern, and vicious when it comes to his style of coaching and training. He played professionally for 15+ years and taught me my work ethic no doubt. He is relentless when it comes to getting guys in shape and getting their skills right. He definitely should be an NBA trainer somewhere right now. He definitely helped me find develop more confidence in myself when I was there at Cerritos. Last but certainly not least was my head coach Mr. Russ May, he is probably the best coach I’ve ever had hands down. If you wanna talk about being the best coach on and off the court, he definitely wins this award every year. He cares about his players so much that it almost feels like your one of his own. He is rather conservative yet very aggressive when needed and has the perfect balance between the two. He’s a winning coach that has been through it all, heard it all, and has seen it all. I can go on and on about this man but to cap it off, he definitely changed my life for the better and made me realize that whatever I want in life, I have to work for it fearlessly. Also, I couldn’t leave this out, I loved ALL my guys at my junior college, from my older bros from my freshman year to my boys that around my age my sophomore year! I miss them all the time and we hoop together every now and then. From Cerritos I attended Hope international for my Junior year of college and that was another learning experience for me. My time there I learned a lot from the three coaches in Coach Czech, and two coaches there in Ethan Lowe and his dad Rob Lowe. Coach Czech was the head coach and taught me a lot about responsibility as a player on and off the court. He definitely held my teammates and I very accountable for everything we did. Accountability was his thing. Coach Rob Lowe was a basketball Guru. He was an older coach that has seen a lot and been apart of many winning teams and established himself as one of the greatest to do it at the junior college level as so as my coach at Cerritos Russ May did too. Coach Rob was very big on seeing everything on the floor and keeping an open mind, he definitely taught me a lot and my IQ for the game certainly picked up after being coached by him. Coach Ethan Lowe was and is for sure my favorite coach and trainer and like brother almost of all time. He was there for me on and off the court and I feel that he definitely should be a head coach at the 4 year level now or rather soon. He’s extremely intelligent and very savy when it comes to coaching. His training skills are also as sharp as any trainer in the world in my opinion due to his persistence and intense workouts. He definitely elevates any player’s game by football fields at a time as he did to mine. Statistically I averaged about 15pts and 8reb there at Hope and really developed some major confidence playing there. In conclusion, it has been a crazy roller coaster ride of a time up until right now and I’m barely scratching the surface.
How can you describe your game? What are your main strengths on the court?
My game is definitely a unique one as we all probably say about our games but I am a pass first foward. I can shoot the 3, get to the rim, and defend multiple positions. I have a lot to improve on and love getting better and listening to all types of criticism.
What kind of opportunity are you looking for?
Any and all fulfilling opportunities but I am also looking to playing in the NBA by or before I’m 25 years old.
To conclude, do you have something else to tell?
Life is very hard, if it was easy, everyone would be successful but because it isn’t, only the ones who work hard for what they want become and maintain success. If you keep God first and work like there isn’t a tomorrow, your success will be everlasting.
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