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Every basketball season produces a special player, a real talent on the court.  This year that player is Jude Tapia.

“I’ve been around and he’s as good as a lot of guys we coached,” said Albuquerque High head coach Ron Garcia.

The junior from Albuquerque High is one of the most talented shooters in the state this season.

“He’s got the package,” said Garcia.  “He can get to the basket.  He’s a way better passer than people even realize and he shoots the ball really well.”

Tapia is averaging around 25 points a game.  Earlier this season, Tapia set an Albuquerque Metro record with 54 points against Eldorado.

“My goal was 40 this year, at least one 40-point game,” Tapia explained.  “Once I had 54, I was a little shocked but it gave me confidence for the rest of the season.”

“He’s a major league gym rat,” described Garcia.  “We’ll have practice and he’ll go somewhere and play some more.”

Tapia started as a freshman at Sandia High School.  He sat out his sophomore season after transferring to Albuquerque High.  He says not playing varsity last year motivated him.

“I really worked on my shot this past summer,” said Tapia of the improvement.  “My freshman and sophomore year I really didn’t have a shot, I could get to the basket really well, so I really wanted to get that to the best of my ability.”

“He scored over 30 a game on the JV level,” said Garcia.  “He just loves playing and for us it was fun to watch him.  We knew how good he was going to be so we’re really excited that he’s continued to help us that way.”

“Jude is a really good basketball player so he gets the focus of everybody’s best when we play em,” said Garcia.

“The main thing I want to do this year is win,” said Tapia.  “I don’t care about the numbers as much.”

His Bulldogs have struggled this year and have to run the table to make it to the postseason.  The first hurdle is Sandia in the district tournament on Tuesday night.

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