Mabton hoops star signs with Multnomah

With his mother, Valerie Cardenas, at his side, Mabton’s Diego Garza signs a letter of intent to play basketball for Multnomah University of Portland.

Photo by Ted Escobar
With his mother, Valerie Cardenas, at his side, Mabton’s Diego Garza signs a letter of intent to play basketball for Multnomah University of Portland.



— Excuse Mabton hoops star Diego Garza if acts as if he’s died and gone to heaven.

He has — 3-point shooter heaven.

The young man who loves the trey signed with Multnomah University of Portland last Friday at a ceremoney attended by about 50 on-lookers.

Multnomah, a member of the Cascade Collegiate Conference, might as well be called 3-point tech. It led the nation last season in 3-pointers attempted and in 3-pointers made.

Multnomah is new to the conference and generally a new program. It has won 2, 3 and 5 games in its first three years.

“We are on the upswing,” coach Curt Bickly said with a wry smile.

Bickly likes the 3-pointer and uses it as a recruting tool. As for the position for which Garza was recruited, he said, “Shooter.”

Garza also said “shooter” and laughed. Both grinned about it because “shooter” sounds weird in a world where offensive plays, posting up and defense are the by-words.

Bickly said an assistant coach watched Garza play and recommended him. They both liked his shooting ability

“He has great ball-handling skills,” Bickly said, adding he believes Garza can make it to varsity his sophomore season.

Garza will see extensive action on junior varsity in a heavy schedule of junior colleges his freshman year.

Multnomah started as Mulnomah School of the Bible in 1936. It is still a Christian faith-based university of about 800 students. It competes and the National Association of Intecollegiate Activities level.

Garza averaged 18 points per game as a junior and 20 as a senior.

His father, Roy Garza, was elated by the basketball scholarship , but he was surprised a college would recruit at the 2B level.

“It’s very exciting,” mother Valerie Cardenas said.

In addition to being a good basketball player, Garza has been an excellent student.

He will graduate in June with a diploma from Mabton and an associate degree from Yakima Valley College.

Garza’s high school grade-point average is 3.84. His college GPA is better than 3.0.



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