SANTA ROSA — The last time Monico Prado took the court was in 2017, when Santa Rosa reached the state tournament. Prado stepped away from basketball at that time, but two years later Prado will make his return to the hardwood.
On Friday, Prado signed his letter of intent to play basketball at Southwest Texas Junior College. Prado will be joining former teammate AB Lozoya, who signed to play at STJC last month. Prado plans to major in criminal justice.
“I visited the campus twice, and I did a couple of workouts there on campus,” said Prado. “It is a small campus, and everything is close by. There isn’t too much of a difference from Santa Rosa or A&M Commerce, but this is a blessing to sign and I’m excited. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and I plan not to waste it.”
Prado spent the last two years attending Texas A&M Commerce but didn’t play basketball. Prado saw the opportunity at STJC as a way to get back onto the court and to keep focused on his schoolwork.
“I was just going to school and I thought about playing, but it didn’t work out,” Prado said. “I saw this as a chance to stay in school. I was losing interest in going to school, so I figured if I went to school and played the game I love … I went ahead and started putting in all the work and it is paying off.”
It was this summer when Prado fully decided to purse basketball, and he got back in the gym and started working toward a comeback.
“I got my break this summer with my coaches, and they helped me get back into shape and where I needed to be,” Prado said.
The plus side for Prado is he will be joining Lozoya, who missed one year of action and will make a return to the court this season. The two played together during their high school careers and most notably reached the state tournament in 2017.
“At first we didn’t know we would be going to the same school,” Lozoya said. “When the summer started, we both knew we wanted to play somewhere. Leo Lara’s dad wanted us to play and he did everything he could to help us, and he found a coach from McAllen that helped us reach out to some schools. We are lucky that we found a school that wanted both of us. We both thought it was a good place for us to be.”