Jubilee’s Escamilla to play at next level

Brownsville Jubilee took UIL athletics by storm in the 2019-2020 school year, and Osiel Escamilla played a big role in that success.

Escamilla was the point guard on the boys basketball team that clinched a share of the District 32-3A title after handing Santa Rosa its first district loss in six years. Escamilla called that game his favorite moment from his high school career.

Now, Escamilla is heading to a new team to make new memories. He signed to play college basketball for Ottawa University in Ottawa, Kan., on June 4 outside of the high school. The all-district second-team honoree will be competing in the Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference in the NAIA.

“It was special, and I was excited (when I signed),” Escamilla said. “It’s a new experience, and I’m excited to start my new journey in Kansas. This year I started focusing on my recruiting, and I got on the website CaptainU and I would email a bunch of coaches. I got a bunch of scholarships, but I went with Ottawa because they were the first ones that really looked at me, so it was my first choice.”

Escamilla has been playing basketball since he was in second grade and began thinking about a college career as an eighth grader while playing for his dad, Armando. Escamilla’s parents moved him up a grade level, so he’s spent much of his career competing against older opponents.

The added challenge to a game he loves sparked a fire in Escamilla that made him a top defender. He likes playing in intense games and getting in the heads of those he’s guarding. Jubilee coach Delra Glover thinks that fire and defensive mindset will help him transition into college ball.

“He was our top defensive player, so any time we had a team that had a good player, Ozzie was always on him,” Glover said. “He has a long wingspan … he has very quick hands, and I think that’s what he’s going to lean on at the collegiate level, his defensive presence. He plays aggressive, and college coaches like aggressive players that can get after it, take no plays off, and I think that’s going to help him.”

But Escamilla’s contributions to the team weren’t just on defense. Glover said the coaching staff trusted Escamilla on the court, and allowed him the opportunity to lead the team and the offense how he wanted. He thinks Escamilla’s quickness will help him keep up with the faster play at the next level and sees him as a spot-up shooter.

“Ozzie’s very smart with the basketball. He’s a great attacker at the basket, and just an overall good player and leader. He’s not afraid to take over a game, and that’s what you want in a point guard,” Glover said. “He led our team throughout the season. He came up big in both district games against Santa Rosa, and to cap (his career) off with that district championship and eventually by signing to play at the next level is a joyous feeling, and I’m very proud of him.”

Escamilla is looking forward to the experience of moving away from home and joining a new program. He’ll be studying civil engineering while playing with the Braves, led by coach Aaron Siebenthall.

Glover said it won’t be easy adjusting to the next level, but Escamilla will lean on his work ethic and drive to succeed to keep him pushing to new heights.

“College basketball is my dream, and I’m experiencing my dream to play at the next level,” Escamilla said. “One lesson (I learned in basketball) is don’t underestimate your opponents. I was underestimated by a lot of players, and it’s something that motivates me. And never giving up. That’s something that I do, just never give up.”