Glenwood’s Garcia signs with the University of Southwest | PostIndependent.com

Glenwood’s Garcia signs with the University of Southwest

Glenwood Springs senior guard Angel Garcia signs his national letter of intent to the University of Southwest Wednesday inside Chavez-Spencer Gymnasium as family and friends join him.
Josh Carney / Post Independent

The world has a funny way of working.

After losing former Glenwood Springs boys basketball head coach Cory Hitchcock to the collegiate level before his senior season, Demon guard Angel Garcia is reuniting with his former coach as the four-year starter signed his national letter of intent Wednesday to play for Hitchcock at the University of Southwest, where Hitchcock was just named the new men’s coach after coaching the women’s program last season.

“It’s honestly a dream come true,” said Garcia after his signing ceremony inside Chavez-Spencer Gymnasium at Glenwood Springs High School. “I’ve always wanted to play college basketball, and to be able to do this with the coach who sparked it … it’s just really hard to put into words. I’m just so excited.”

Garcia grew up in New Castle but decided to come to Glenwood Springs High School and play for Hitchcock after his eighth-grade year. That kicked off a four-year stretch – three with Hitchcock – in which Garcia started consistently and averaged 9.3 points per game, 2.0 rebounds, 1.9 assists, and 1.2 steals per game for the Demons, helping Glenwood win three straight 4A Western Slope League championships, while also hosting two second-round state playoff games.

“I feel very blessed to have come here to Glenwood and met Coach Cory and the staff that’s been here,” said Garcia. “Looking back, it was good decision by me and my family.”

Now, Garcia moves onto the next level where he’ll play for the Mustangs under Hitchcock, giving him a familiar face and a familiar system to play in. The Glenwood product will redshirt his first season in Hobbs, New Mexico to bulk up for the collegiate level, but it will be good for the senior to reunite with his former high school coach, which is a rare thing to do in sports. Hitchcock added that it’s important for Garcia to come in and put on some weight and adjust to the pace and physicality of the collegiate game.

Despite the redshirt season forthcoming, the pairing came together quickly, according to Garcia.

“As soon as he took the job [late last week] he gave me a call and offered me a spot,” said Garcia. “I didn’t even have to think twice; I was just so happy. We’ve been in touch consistently since he left, so I wasn’t really surprised he got the men’s job. I’m just so happy I got this chance to play for him again.”

Garcia had a few walk-off chances with Colorado Mesa University and Western State University, which would have kept him local, but the chance to get a scholarship and reunite with Hitchcock was just far too good to pass up for him.

“When I took the job to coach the women’s team here at USW, I never expected to have the opportunity coach Angel again,” said Hitchcock. “For me, it’s pretty awesome. We have a great relationship. He was pretty under-recruited, so when I found out I got the men’s job the first call I made was to him. He’s going to be a great fit for us; he’s going to shoot the heck out of it.”

The shy senior has a big task ahead of him at the collegiate level, but he said he trusts the time and effort he’s put into the game outside of practice and believes he’ll be ready for the collegiate level when his time comes.

“I just have to trust the process along the way,” said Garcia. “I can’t get too down on myself if things don’t go my way right away. I believe in myself and the work that I put in, so I just have to be patient and trust that things will get better if I just keep working.”

Off the floor at USW, Garcia will study business in hopes of father’s footsteps. Garcia’s father owns his own business in the valley and hopes to one day own his own business as well. He added that he’ll head to Hobbs quickly after graduation to get a jump on his playing career with the Mustangs.

jcarney@postindependent.com


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