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Aaron Estrada

Alabama’s Aaron Estrada finishes stellar career

Aaron Estrada scored 13 in national semifinal against UConn

Almost without fail, the Alabama men’s basketball team would mention guard Aaron Estrada as somewhat of a rallying cry this March. The graduate transfer from Woodbury, N.J., had never appeared in the NCAA Tournament until this season, and his Crimson Tide teammates wanted him to finish on top.

Alabama’s historic run ended Saturday night against No. 1 UConn,  but the national semifinal was a lot closer than the 86-72 score would suggest.

“I’m happy to be a part of history here,” Estrada said. “I know these guys, they played as hard they could for me. Every time we would meet or anything and they’d talk about playing, they would say, ‘This is Aaron’s last year. Let’s do it for Aaron.’ I definitely felt the love as a team.”

‘Bittersweet’ ending for Aaron Estrada and Alabama

Estrada scored 13 points with three assists and three rebounds. Alabama gave UConn its first true test of the NCAA Tournament. 

“It’s his last year of college,” Nick Pringle said of Aaron Estrada. “We really wanted to do it mainly for him. He had never been in a tournament ever in his career. It’s kind of bittersweet knowing that we got this far for him. Coming two games short hurts a lot.”

The pain will ease over time as Estrada and his teammates reflect on their historic run. Estrada, a 6-foot-3, 190-pound guard, played at four universities since graduating from St. Benedict’s Preparatory in 2019. He was the MAAC Rookie of the Year as a freshman at St. Peter’s during the 2019-2020 season. 

He then transferred to Oregon, where he started 14 games as a sophomore. Estrada then transferred to Hofstra, where he was the CAA Player of the Year in his two seasons before transferring.


Aaron Estrada leads Latinos in NCAA Tournament

Hannah Hidalgo, Celeste Taylor, Kamilla Cardoso shine defensively

Kamilla Cardoso, Hannah Hidalgo lead Latinas in NCAA Tournament

More importantly, he graduated from Hofstra before heading to Tuscaloosa, Ala. Estrada became the first person in his immediate family to graduate from college and the second in his extended family, following a cousin.

Proud grad

“That means everything because of the fact that school is most important,” Aaron Estrada’s father Aaron said. “We love basketball. But at the end of the day school is always the No. 1 priority. 

“When he was going to school, I told him, ‘You got to get some type of paperwork. You’re not going to just play basketball.’”

Estrada definitely got his paperwork. He also made school history along the way. Despite struggling a bit down the stretch in the SEC, the college football power rolled to the school’s first men’s basketball Final Four.

“For us to just be able to turn it around and kinda make the run that we did and make history,” he says, “it just says a lot about our character.”

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