May 17, 2011

Souza an Anteater

Kevin McCarthy

After very successful stints at Turlock High and with the Bay Area Hoosiers, Travis Souza decided to display and add to his wares on the East Coast in 2010-2011—New Hampton School in particular, a member of the basketball and academic lauded New England Preparatory School Athletic Council (NEPSAC). His sojourn paid off with a coming home to California to begin his college experience come August.

photo of Souza

Souza is headed to Anteater-dom, meaning UC Irvine and Coach Russell Turner’s Big West Conference basketball program, as an invited walk-on. He’ll be accompanied by his former Hoosier and New Hampton teammate Will Davis, who also recently committed to the Orange County school and took the last available 2011 scholarship. But two current Irvine backcourters will be entering their senior seasons, along with a forward, so at least three scholarships will be available for the earning come the 2012 recruiting period and having already been under Turner’s tutelage for a year will be a major plus for Souza.

It’s a program also already featuring Chris (San Ramon Valley High) McNealy and Brandon (Archbishop Mitty) Scott and one losing its top three scorers including two senior backcourters.

Souza’s reasons for his choice? "It fit me well and it’s a good school. My AAU coach Philippe Doherty had nothing but good things to say about Irvine and Coach Turner." The latter has previously coached with the Golden State Warriors and at Stanford and Wake Forest.

An added bonus is that Hawaii is joining the Big West so a trip to the islands during winter will have to be ‘endured” by the fellow conference members.

As to what position he will play as an Anteater, Souza said, "whatever coach wants me to play. At New Hampton, I played a lot of two, sometimes the one but also the three and the four because we weren’t real big."

He already has a major: "I’ve always been interested in engineering of some sort."

About his time in New England, it was a learning experience in more ways than one. "The weather is a shock, it can be brutal even after people have told you about it." About on the court, "the guards I faced were quicker and stronger [than in high school] and really talented so I had to work harder. On the other hand, I was playing with more talent and that helped in setting up shots for me and my teammates."

Souza is in school until May 29 and then he will take his official visit to Irvine.