On the basketball court, Aaron Gregg has no fear.
The Vista Ridge senior knows exactly when to chirp at his opponent or boisterously celebrate a big play. But he’s also keen to learn and, even during a game, will go stand by the Rangers’ bench and talk about what the team is doing well and where they can improve.
“Being on varsity for the last three years taught me to be more vocal,” Gregg said. “Over the years, I’ve learned to talk more and more because it helps the team more. Once you start to do the same things, you start to believe you can hit shots and improve your game.”
He’s familiar with making big shots, too. The point guard hit a buzzer beater to knock off LBJ at the Bowie Tournament earlier in the year and he beat the clock to top Vandegrift in overtime a couple of weeks ago.
“He has a little flair,” Vista Ridge head coach Clint Anderson said. “That’s just his passion for the game and he takes every loss personally. Every day at school he’s finding me on his off period and wanting to watch film. He knows what every player is supposed to do in our offense.”
Gregg compared his game to Russell Westbrook from the Oklahoma City Thunder. Westbrook does a little bit of everything on the court and isn’t afraid to express himself on the court as a leader, and off the court with his flamboyant and eye-catching wardrobes.
He had the opportunity to learn from a wealth of seniors last season.
There were 10 seniors on the teams and the Rangers won the district and made it to the regional quarterfinals, where they lost to LBJ.
“After our first loss to Harker Heights this season, I knew something had to change for our team to be successful and I had to score more,” Gregg said. “In the middle of last year, I started to be more vocal. With all the leadership we had last year, that helped me get better in that area.”
But what motivates him?
His older sister, Amber, was a star player at McNeil where she was a McDonald’s All-American nominee. She went on to play at UTSA and averaged more than 13 points a game and was a three-time all-conference pick and left in the No. 9 spot on the all-time scoring list.
She’s currently an assistant coach for the Louisiana-Lafayette women’s basketball team.
Aaron has similar aspirations. A foot injury slowed him down this summer, but he’s recovered lately and come on of late. Anderson said he’ll be a significant contributor at the collegiate level and could contribute to a college team right now.
“His shoes are going to be tough to fill,” Anderson said. “Not only someone that is as athletic as him but some that’s also a vocal leader, I’m hoping some of the reserves on varsity or even on JV improves over the summer and steps up.”
The Rangers are currently on the fringe of the playoffs after back-to-back district losses, losing 63-59 to Lake Travis last Tuesday and on the road against Westlake 91-71 on Friday night. They travel to face Vandegrift Friday at 7 p.m. before hosting Hays next Tuesday.
No matter the opponent, Gregg will bring his intensity to help Vista Ridge in any way he can.
“Sometimes I have to score and sometimes I have to get the ball to my teammates,” Gregg said. “But without leadership, our team wouldn’t be as successful because we have a lot of young kids on our team that haven’t been in the playoffs and gone through a tough district schedule.”