Pajaro Valley High junior guard Christian Quintero was on a football track in his younger days thanks to a cousin enjoying success on the gridiron. Then Kory Chavez, a hoops coach at Rollings Hills Middle School in Watsonville, encouraged him to give basketball a shot with a “just try it” request. “I had no interest because I didn’t like it,” Quintero recalled. But dutifully, he gave it a shot.
“I immediately fell in love with the game,” he recalled, “and it just took over. Steph Curry was just blowing up and the Warriors were in their championship season.” He also keenly follows Russell Westbrook and James Harden. “Basketball is a lot different than other sports because it’s so fast-paced with five guys on the court and everybody on the same page.”
Fernando Olivarez, a heralded receiver and defensive back formerly at Watsonville High, is Quintero’s cousin and he continues to work out his former football protege. They are already back running the beach dunes in and around Watsonville even though the 2018-19 season ended just last month. “I want to get stronger and more explosive,” Quintero said of his goals.
“I went to Fernando’s games with my aunt. I loved the aggressiveness of football.” Back then, Quintero would also tag along when Olivarez would work out and eventually learned that continuous hard work is mandatory in order to get better. “It’s a mentality I got from him.”
The 6-foot-1, 175 backcourter was selected Most Valuable Player of the Pacific Coast Athletic League’s Cypress Division this season, a much-deserved honor considering he averaged 24.6 points, 5.9 rebounds and 3.2 steals and 2.8 assists while shooting 43.4% overall—all this despite facing double-teaming and specially-designed defenses. He produced 46 points against Mills High in the D-III playoffs, shooting 7-10 from long distance. Quintero was previously honored as Freshman and then Sophomore of the Year.
Asked what he does best on the court, Quintero offered, “my decision making on the fast break and knowing when to slow the pace. I watch a lot of NBA games and I’ve learned when to speed up and when to slow down.” He upgraded creating off the dribble and making shots this past season and is looking to better those skills.
Pajaro Valley Coach Andre Bailey offered “as a student, Christian is better then most but not the best on the team. Pajaro Valley is not a school of sports. More kids at Watsonville High know of Christian and his accomplishments then students at our school. We have true superstar talents at Pajaro and they are unknown to us. It will be many years before this school will again have great athletes and the school needs to enjoy the moment now.”
Quintero will be playing for Seaside Select this spring and summer.