Senior guard short in stature but not in talent
Last season’s second matchup against North Dakota Feb. 27 was broadcast on cable so fans could see the Broncs clinch the No. 2 seed for the Great West Conference Tournament.
Those who tuned in saw senior guard Aaron Urbanus getting pushed, trampled and even hit in the face with the basketball, but time and time again he got up and pushed through.
Being on the shorter end of the height spectrum in a sport known for its taller people doesn’t phase senior Urbanus much. In fact, he likes it.
“I’ve used (my height) to my advantage and when other people see me, they don’t think I should be playing,” the Bowie High grad said. And that just makes it easier for me because they underestimate me and then I can surprise them.”
During his Bronc career, Urbanus has started 70 of the 103 games he played in, totaling 2,737 minutes, as he has become a consistent team leader and sparkplug. But he still gets underestimated.
“(Players) probably don’t even mess with me in warm-ups because they don’t think I’m going to play, and then I wind up being the one starting, and then they start messing with me,” the 22-year-old kinesiology major said. “I like when people mess with me about (my height). It’s an extra little motivator, it’s fun.”
Urbanus may enjoy getting picked on, on the court; but Winter Texans who come out to the games during the holiday season take joy in rooting for the little guy.
“I get that a lot. I get the older group,” he explained. “They like to see the smaller guy, who doesn’t have much of an advantage go out there and, I guess, go against the
Senior guard Aaron Urbanus became the 22nd Bronc to join the 1,000-point club Nov. 24 during the home opener against Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville. Urbanus, 23, was able to reach the record with his first basket of the game, a three-pointer.
The coaches first told Urbanus how close he was to attaining the milestone while the team was playing the last game of the Eastern Michigan University “Ice Man” Classic in Michigan a week before the SIUE game. He started as a freshman and has been a productive part of the offense for four seasons now.
“Since we won, it’s easier for me to say it felt good. Even when they announced it, I couldn’t help but feel good about it,” Urbanus said after the SIUE game. “My coaches had told me during the tournament that I was close and a couple of them are actually happy that I didn’t get it then, so I could get it at home.”
LIVING IN THE VALLEY
When he arrived from the Capital City four years back, Urabus did not have to make that big of an adjustment. Having lived his childhood years in a predominantly Hispanic and African-American area of town, Urbanus recalled not feeling a sense of culture shock upon the transition to the Valley.
“Yeah I love (the culture), besides the fact that I can’t understand half the things a lot of the people are saying,” Urbanus joked. “I know when they’re talking about me – when they say güero or gringo.”
Although Urbanus may have trouble communicating in Spanish, his stomach doesn’t have any issues understanding the food here.
“There’s Tex-Mex and then there’s Mexican food,” Urbanus explained as freshman Noe Espericueta, an Edinburg High graduate, offered him a bite of bean, cheese, chorizo and egg tacos. “That’s good.”
Even though Urbanus loves the food from this area, the self-proclaimed taco fan hasn’t been able to experience many restaurants from the region. A lack of transportation causes him to spend more nights at home, cooking for himself and his girlfriend, one of his favorite hobbies.
When Urbanus first heard about the University all he knew and cared about it was that it was a Division 1 school.
According to him, basketball is his life and his one and only job at the moment. It’s what he’s been playing since he could walk and a sport he’s been working at for years.
“I mean, I’ve grown up and never really had a job and everybody always said, ‘Well, you don’t work,’” Urbanus said. “I had to work to get a scholarship, so my parents don’t have to pay for my college.”
At the start of his freshman year, Urbanus wasn’t the only new face. There were 10 new players, brand-new coach (Ryan Marks) and a new system.
“It was a bunch of people just trying to learn; learn a new offense, learn how we’re going to play and it was definitely tough,” he recalled. “Now being one of the people who’s experienced and having experienced people on the team, the coaches don’t have to do all the coaching. We can do it ourselves. It’s definitely made a difference and you can tell how much we’ve grown.”
Urbanus knows the Broncs will face some tough teams this season and shared the team’s goal of a 13-0 record at home and win as many games on the road and ultimately get the conference tournament ring. The first part of the goal is now unrealistic as the Broncs fell to UT Arlington 60-51 Dec. 3; their overall record is 2-6. Urbanus, averaging 12.6 points per game in his final go around, still has other big matchups and games to look forward to this season.
“I don’t think anything is going to be better than Senior Night,” he said about finishing his time here as a Bronc March 9 against New Jersey Institute of Technology. “Obviously I haven’t experienced it yet. I experienced it in high school, so I can imagine it’s going to be really fun, really emotional.”