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UTEP’s Adhel Tac and Derick Hamilton on breaking barriers and scoring dreams

Joel Molina
Senior Derick Hamilton, majoring in multidisciplinary studies, has found a new home in El Paso, moving from his hometown of Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

Basketball is one of the most popular sports in America, and there are many young hopefuls who are working to be the next big thing in the industry. Some can even be found right here at UTEP. From adjusting to an unfamiliar environment to keeping in touch with loved ones back home, these two UTEP basketball players are on a mission to make their names in the world of sports.  

Aiming for national championships is a common mission for some collegiate basketball players, but for others, basketball is the continuation of a lifelong dream. For Adhel Tac, a junior player for women’s basketball at UTEP, it is both.   

Tac remembers watching her older sisters play outside in her hometown of Garland, Texas. She eventually picked it up for herself during middle school. After receiving a full-ride scholarship to UTEP, Tac decided she would make UTEP her new home. Now a junior in health promotion, Tac strives to give it her all, drawing her inspiration and motivation from firsthand experiences. 

“I knew what basketball was just from playing outside and having the hoop out there and seeing the guys play and my older sisters playing as well,” Tac said. “I’d say the inspiration for basketball would come from seeing my older sisters playing, and then my motivation, I would correlate that to my faith in Christ.”  

Powered by her family and faith, Tac has gone from being ranked No. 17 overall in Texas during high school to seventh in Conference USA during her sophomore year. With some distinctions on her back, Tac wants to aim high during this upcoming basketball season by winning a championship and doing things differently.   

“The biggest thing is just to get the chemistry down, understand the coaches, the coaches understanding the players, getting out there playing our hardest and at the end of the season, holding up a conference championship trophy,” Tac said. “Honestly that’s the biggest goal that mine, that’s the only goal in mind.”  

While one goal of Tac’s involves an achievement for her college career, she hopes to make basketball her career. Through working hard in the present, Tac plans to lead and learn from fellow teammates and her sisters to work hard as a professional athlete.  

“I’m in hopes of pursuing basketball as a career professionally and see where that takes me. Hopefully I get placed in a position that I take full advantage of and just really work hard, harder than before,” Tac said. “Just because professional basketball is a whole other step, a whole other room to be in.”  

Many share Tac’s motivation and goals, like Derick Hamilton, a senior in multidisciplinary studies who plays for the men’s basketball team. Joining his school team, Hamilton stayed focused on his high school basketball team until graduation in his hometown of Baton Rouge, Louisiana. After deciding to come to UTEP like Tac, Hamilton had to adjust to life in a new place.  

“The people in El Paso welcome me everywhere I go,” Hamilton said. “They tell me how proud they are of me, saying how good of a player I am. I just love it. They welcome me. It made me feel like I’m at home.”  

Though he is far from home, Hamilton has managed to make a new home through the people around him and more importantly, his team. Like Tac, his wish is to win a championship and take a trophy, and eventually play for an NBA team.  

“Well, my hope for this year is to have fun, win the show for everybody,” Hamilton said.  

To warm up for the upcoming season, Hamilton made sure to work hard preseason and stay connected with his main source of motivation, his family. Supporting him on his basketball journey in high school, his family has continued to be his number one supporter.   

“They made a lot of sacrifices for me to be where I am today. So, it’s only right that I work hard every day to give back to them,” Hamilton said. “They call me every day, my little brother, he talks trash to (me). But at the same time, they always just tell me how proud they are and stuff like that.”  

Winning championships, keeping connections with family and working with teammates are all things that these future pro-athletes strive for at UTEP. From men’s and women’s basketball, it seems that some dreams are not so few and far between as these two clearly prove.  

The men will face the USAO Dovers Nov. 9 while the women will play the Kansas City Roos Nov. 11. 

Elisha Nuñez is a staff reporter and can be reached at [email protected] 

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About the Contributors
Elisha Nuñez
Elisha Nuñez, Staff Reporter
Elisha Nuñez is a multimedia journalism student with a minor in marketing at the University of Texas at El Paso.  He works as a reporter for The Prospector, and loves to write about arts, culture, and people. This semester, he wishes to do more freelance work for publications in and outside of El Paso. After graduation, he would like to experience multiple positions at different places, and even has plans for continuing his current education outside of the U.S.
Joel Molina
Joel Molina, Photo Editor
Joel is a graduate creative writing student at the University of Texas at El Paso. He is the photo editor who began his career at The Prospector in 2022. He hopes to continue providing the world and its people with different forms of storytelling that will hopefully make their day to day lives better.
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