Meet Aaliyah Chavez, the Mexican American, ESPN’s No. 1 women’s basketball recruit in the Class of 2025

It’s surprising to think that five-star recruit Aaliyah Chavez almost didn’t pursue basketball. Growing up in Texas, Chavez initially spent her time watching TV or observing kids play basketball at the park, which sparked her interest in the sport. According to her dad and trainer, Sonny, Aaliyah wasn’t initially athletic. “She couldn’t ride a bike or skateboard,” Sonny recalls. Despite his initial reluctance, Aaliyah’s persistence led Sonny to test her determination with tough workouts unrelated to basketball, to see if she’d give up. She didn’t, and eventually, Sonny signed her up for basketball.

Before her first game, Sonny briefly taught Aaliyah how to block a shot. Though she struggled with basic skills like layups, her grit was evident as she fiercely competed on the court. In fourth grade, after being told she wasn’t good enough for a local AAU team, Aaliyah became determined to prove her doubters wrong. This resilience has been a constant in her journey, facing skepticism and prejudice, including comments about her Hispanic heritage and her father’s training methods.

Today, Chavez is the No. 1 recruit in the Class of 2025, considering top Division I programs such as Texas Tech, Arizona, LSU, Ohio State, Oklahoma, South Carolina, USC, Tennessee, Texas, and UCLA. She chose to stay home and play for Monterey High School instead of attending an elite prep school. Recently, she scored her 3,000th point, showcasing her confidence and skill. Describing her game, Chavez says, “I’m an all-around player. I can shoot, get to the bucket, defend, and make plays. If you’re open, I’ll find you, and I’m not afraid to try crazy passes.”

Aaliyah Chavez’s journey from a determined third-grader to the top basketball recruit demonstrates her unwavering dedication and resilience in the face of challenges. Her story is a testament to the power of persistence and hard work, highlighting that with determination, any obstacle can be overcome.

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