When Grant Lozoya decided to transfer to Pittsburg State to play for the men’s basketball program under coach Kim Anderson two years ago, he did so with the idea the Gorillas’ coaching staff could help elevate his game and get him to the professional level.
Lozoya’s dream was realized when he signed his first professional contract on June 15 to play with C.B. L'Hospitalet in Spain.
“It was a once-in-a-lifetime type of feeling for me,” Lozoya said. “I have put all my eggs in this basket, chasing this dream for countless years. Now that it has come true, it's a really special feeling.”
Lozoya played the previous two seasons at Pittsburg State after transferring from NCAA Division I Stetson University. Lozoya scored 1,050 points in 59 career games for the Gorillas, becoming the 24th player in program history to eclipse the 1,000-career points mark. PSU went 34-26 over the last two seasons.
“Pitt State played a huge role in me signing this professional contract,” Lozoya said. “Coach (Kim) Anderson is a great coach who lets his players play and gets the most out of them. He was huge, and Coach G (Jon Gilliam) and Coach (Jason) Owens, who are no longer with the program, also played a huge role for me in elevating my game.”
Former Pittsburg State men’s basketball All-American and PSU Hall of Famer Oscar Gonzalez (1996-99) is Lozoya’s agent. Negotiating his first contract was a fun experience.
“He has been a great agent,” Lozoya said. “It was unbelievable to negotiate my first deal because it is something I have been working towards since I was a little kid, something like 20 years now. To be able to share this with my family, it was a really incredible experience.”
Having been in love with the game of basketball since his earliest memories, Lozoya has been preparing for this moment all his life. Though the game now has a business side, that doesn’t mean Lozoya still isn’t looking to improve. As he heads overseas, continuing to develop as a player is at the top of his list.
“I am ready to see what I am capable of,” Lozoya said. “I have worked hard to get this opportunity, and now it is going to be exciting to see what I can do with it.
“I am playing in the LEB Silver league next year. I would like to improve enough to play in the LEB Gold, and hopefully, get to play in the Liga ABC, which is their premier league, in a couple of years.”
Of course, there is going to be a culture shock. Not only is Lozoya traveling to a different continent, which plays a different brand of basketball than in North America, but he is also uprooting his life and everything he knows to continue chasing his dreams in Spain. And while some may resist a complete change to their lifestyle, Lozoya is ready to embrace it in order to get where he wants to go.
“I want to indulge in their culture,” Lozoya said. “I want to learn how they prepare, travel and just go about doing things. I want to make an experience out of it instead of just going there to hoop. … I am a little nervous, not so much about moving away from home, but the language barrier is an obstacle, but other than that, I am excited and ready to make things happen.
“They have a little different style of basketball than we do. I have watched a whole lot of film on it yet, but I know it will help shape my game in many ways. I have played basketball in California, New Jersey, Florida and Kansas, and was able to elevate my game just by adding those different styles of play to my style. Playing in Spain will help build up my game in a number of ways.”
The plan is for Lozoya to travel to Spain and meet up with his team in late August. Obviously, that puts him on a hectic schedule from now until then. For Lozoya, he is just ready to get back on the hardwood and contribute to his new team.
“It is going to interesting,” Lozoya said. “I have to get all of the paperwork done, so the embassies from both countries are on board and everything is set in stone. The club I am playing for is taking care of everything I need over there, in terms of housing and transportation, so I am just trying physically be ready to step in and play however they need me.”