Bryan Urrutia, a Cochise College basketball player from Chihuahua, Mexico, made it to the big-time this year by representing Mexico in the 2017 World University basketball games.
Urrutia was one of 12 other players from Mexico to withstand rigorous tryouts and chosen from Mexico’s top university athletes to travel to Taipei, China, and compete against 25 other basketball teams from around the world
The Apache point-guard started playing basketball because, like many young men, he admired professional athletes, including his father, who played for the Dorados Chihuahua, a professional basketball team in Mexico.
Urrutia first came to the United States as a 14 year-old boy to attend Harmony High School in El Paso, Texas, on scholarship while leaving his parents behind in Mexico.
“I wanted to move to the United States,” said Urrutia. “It’s a different level of basketball in the United States. It’s the best basketball in the world. I wanted to come over here to compete against the best in the world. My mom didn’t want me to go. It was hard to convince her because she thought I was too young, but I mean, it was my dream. So I asked her to let me try it for a year, and then I got used to it, so it was a good deal.”
He was eventually recruited by Cochise College and represented the county well last year by making it all the way to the Region I Finals with the Apaches to face Arizona Western College.
And his talent would lead him to the 2017 World University games. Over the three-week event, the Mexico basketball team dominated Serbia, Latvia, Hungary and Australia and suffered losses to China, South Korea, Australia and the Czech Republic, to eventually take 11th place. The team played its final game against China, losing by two points.
“Over there, I was playing against guys who were 25, 26 years old. It was university level and you could tell it was a different game. It was a big jump for me. People were stronger, faster, but I was prepared. I had a really good year over here at Cochise and was well trained. I think I went over there well prepared and got to represent Cochise, my family and my country.”
Urrutia says he continues to improve his game every day.
“The coaches here at Cochise are great. I’m working hard. My experience in basketball continues to grow. I’ve had the opportunity to play against the best players in my category, and in incredible scenarios, which has given me the necessary skills to be successful in this game,” said Urrutia.
Derek Lane, the Cochise College assistant basketball coach, says he’s grateful for the opportunity Urrutia had.
“We only have five sophomores coming back this season to play for the Apaches and only four of those sophomores played good minutes for us last year. So we have a lot of freshmen, and they are looking up to Bryan, and he is able to do things correctly, to do things that are challenging. His ability to lead by example, which is really good, his pace, his energy are all phenomenal. I think that this experience really helped him gain more confidence in himself and has helped him to come here and lead. So all of those things are teaching our freshmen how to play well this upcoming season,” said Lane.
Urrutia says he’s looking forward to a second year at Cochise College and is hoping to hang some banners on the Cochise College gymnasium wall.
“I improved a lot last year and with the opportunity I got to play with Mexico; I think I learned a lot. We have a lot of talent this year at Cochise. Last year the Apaches came up short, but this year we are going to succeed.”