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De La Cerda lives dream at UNM

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Jaedyn De La Cerda makes a steal against Northern New Mexico University earlier in the season. (UNM Athletics Communications Photo)

Roswell’s Jaedyn De La Cerda knows dreams can and do come true. Why? She’s living it right now as a member of the University of New Mexico basketball player. On Nov. 15, De La Cerda’s dream of playing for the Lobos came true when Lobo’s coach Mike Bradbury signaled for her to take off her warm-ups and go into the game against Northern New Mexico.

Jadeyn De La Cerda. (UNM Athletics Communications Photo)

Roswell basketball coach Fernando Sanchez said “In over 20 years of coaching Jaedyn is the hardest working kids I have ever been around. Its amazing the effort she puts into getting better. She is the first one in the gym and the last one to leave and then she literally shows up at another gym. If you could put her work ethic into kids today the world would be a better place.  I expect her to continue to get better and to see her contributing to an outstanding Lobo team in the near future. She’s a winner and winners find a way to get it done.”

If that moment seemed surreal to De La Cerda, maybe because a few years earlier when her brother, Deyton (De La Cerda) was playing in the state tournament for Roswell’s basketball team. Once she saw The Pit, and the basketball floor De La Cerda decided to try to become a Lobo, if possible.

“Right when I saw the gym, ‘I was like wow,’” De La Cerda said, “I have never seen a gym like this.” “When we got to play here in high school for the state title, I was like; I want to go there. I have to go there! When they offered me a scholarship, I talked to my parents, and I committed. I fell in love with the UNM fans.”

Against Northern New Mexico, De La Cerda played 11 minutes and found her stroke from the 3-point line going, 1-4 from beyond the arc. She had seven points in that game, to go along with one block shot. Two steals and two-of-three from the free-throw line. De La Cerda has played in four games this season for the Lobos.

“Playing at UNM is a lot different than playing in high school, “De La Cerda said. “It’s just a lot harder playing against bigger girls, and the pace is quicker. A lot of the girls are stronger and smarter; they can see the court better and have a high basketball I.Q.”

De La Cerda feels like the only problems she has had, is adjusting to the college game is her quickness on defense. Right now, she feels like she is a step slower than the rest of the girls.

“Leaving Roswell in her senior year was the hardest decision I ever had to make because she was such a great athlete and person,” said former Coyote coach Joe Carpenter.

She thinks that in time, she will make the proper adjustment at the defensive end of the floor. Her offensive game is fine, and the Lobos have her at shooting guard to take advantage of her 3-point shooting.

“We’re high on Jaedyn and the potential that she has,” UNM coach Mike Bradbury said. “She is continuing to grow as a player, and we are excited to see what is to come next.”

RDR: What has it been like for you to go through fall camp?

JDLC: It’s been a fun process, just being able to play Division I, and just being around other girls who are just as good as you are and learning just like you are. And seeing different things you’ve never seen before.

RDR: Do you think high school prepared you for this level of competition?

JDLC: Yes. High School prepared me, but just working out every day and watching film with my coaches has helped me.

RDR: What do you want to do after basketball?

JDLC: Right now, I’m still undecided.

RDR: What is your favorite memory from high school?

JDLC: One of my favorite memories was beating an undefeated Gallup team, 59-41, for the state championship my junior year. And the other would be winning Gatorade Player of the Year for the state of New Mexico.

RDR: This is a dream of yours to be playing at UNM?

JDLC: Yes. This is a basketball school, and the fans are so supportive, of both the guys and girl’s teams.

RDR: Is this everything you thought it would be, school and basketball?

JDLC: I love my roommates. I love them so much. The campus is nice, and I have a couple of classes with some of the girls on the team. School has been fine.

RDR: What do you miss about high school?

JDLC: I miss my teachers and friends. I also miss my teammates, but they are at school as well. I’m proud of my high school teammates.

RDR: Anything you’d like to say?

JDLC: To the City of Roswell, thank you for always supporting me through everything.