Joseph JoJo Roundy Garcia has made his living on the hardwood for nearly 15 years. But basketball has been a lifelong journey thats taken Garcia from Las Vegas, Nev., to across the ocean to a variety of European and Mediterranean locations
Born in Sin City to Joe and Silvia Roundy in 1975, Garcia, 35, was raised in Las Vegas and prepped at national hoops power Bishop Gorman High School. After one year of basketball at Central Arizona College, Garcia transferred to the University of Texas-El Paso and played three years for Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame coach Don Haskins, before the 6-foot-9 center concluded his college career in 1997.
From 1997-99, Garcia made a push for the NBA, playing for the Summer League teams of the Los Angeles Lakers, Miami Heat and Portland Trailblazers. He never made a full-time NBA roster. He did suit up for the NBA Ambassadors in 2000 and 2001, a team of NBA prospects that toured Europe and Asia. But ultimately, Garcia staked his professional basketball claim in Europe, playing in the top leagues of France, Spain and Greece. Garcia has called the Mediterranean country of Cyprus his basketball home since 2007, playing for various teams in the Cyprus-Division A League. He played for Keravnos Strovolou the past two seasons and just signed a 1-year deal with a 1-year option for B.M.C. AEK Larnacas, also of the Cyprus-Division A League. Garcia had an earlier stint in Cyprus in 1997 between NBA Summer Leagues. Thats where he met his wife Katerina, who is a Cyprus native. JoJo and Katerina have two children; JoJo Jr., 9, and Silvia, 6.
JoJo Garcia feels his basketball career will soon come to an end and wants to focus on family and other things upon retirement. There were questions in JoJos life that needed answered, though.
At age 4, JoJo Garcias parents divorced. His father, Joe Roundy, moved back to the Pacific Northwest where he grew up in Washington. JoJo and his older sister Jessica May were raised in Las Vegas by their mother Silvia and late grandfather Miguel Garcia. JoJo eventually changed his last name from Roundy to Garcia. It would be 31 years before JoJo Garcia and his father would speak or see each other again.
I wanted to get in touch with him. When I was younger, I had a bit of anger as a child. When I got older, I let it go, JoJo Garcia said.
Among the various questions JoJo Garcia had for his dad, some were about coaching, which is a field JoJo hopes to pursue after pro basketball.
Roundy, 65, coached youth football in the Pop Warner and high school ranks for 30 years in Washington, California and in the Las Vegas area.
Now that I want to get into coaching, I want to bring my father along because he was an excellent coach, JoJo Garcia said. I found him. I touched base with him. Im going to keep good contact with him.
Previous to Roundys days of coaching, he played offensive line for the University of Puget Sound Loggers football team in Tacoma, Wash. Roundy graduated with a degree in parks and recreation in 1968 before being taken in the 13th round of the NFL draft by the Pittsburgh Steelers. Roundy played in the 1968 pre-season with Pittsburgh and the 1969 pre-season with the Washington Redskins, but was eventually cut.
Roundy went back to college to coach football and was a graduate assistant at the University of Nevada-Las Vegas from 1969-70, and a grad assistant at Puget Sound in 1971.
Roundy is now retired and was living in Cripple Creek, Colo. two years ago when he suffered a major heart attack and had to have reconstructive heart surgery. The doctor who performed Roundys operation suggested he move to Cortez because of the dry air and flatter terrain, which is good for Roundy to ride his bike.
I love peddling my bike. It keeps me alive, Roundy said. You got bicycle paths everywhere and a beautiful park. Im thankful to be here.
Cortez is where Roundy has called home since 2010, and it is where JoJo Garcia first found his father.
The two sides match up. My mother is very supportive of it. Its good to see its come around, JoJo Garcia said. Its just the way its happened. Im really enjoying it. All the time that was missed, I feel like its going to catch up now.
Before father and son can coach together, JoJo Garcia still has a year of college left to complete his bachelors degree. He is leaning toward finishing up at UTEP, where JoJo Garcia has plenty of good recommendation. One of JoJo Garcias supporters is UTEP football coach Mike Price, who was a teammate of Roundys at Puget Sound.
With a rich family history of sports, JoJo Garcia wants to continue his passion for basketball.
As long as I can be around basketball, Ill be happy, he said.
Reach Bobby Abplanalp at [email protected]