I have been watching kids go though the recruiting process for years. I know the stress and pain that it may cause. I know what its like to see kids told by adults that there dreams are unrealistic. I have seen kids make all the wrong moves and take all the bad advice that derails a dream. But I also have seen kids get knocked down and get back up. I have seen kids refuse to surrender there dreams … I HAVE SEEN IRIS AZCONA walk though the gates of hell and survive and now she will be playing D1 basketball at the U OF NEW HAVEN.

Trust is not always a easy thing for young people. Especially when kids find out the world is not always fair or nice. In the past year IRIS AZCONA has found that out the hard way. Iris Azcona has had to grow up faster than any kid should have too. She has faced things no kid should have to come face to face with. She committed to the U of Butler last winter only to find out it was not all she thought it would be. Later she then found out that adults can make a life difficult. Along the way she was told to settle and commit to schools she did not want to attend just because there were offering her a full scholarship. She was told to walk on at big time programs with no promises. But IRIS had come too far, she and her family had made too many sacrifices along the way. They had been burned by well meaning people along the way. Finding the strength to trust and forgive was as big of a journey they may have faced this past year. A journey that saw …IRIS AZCONA end up in the arms of new NORTHEAST CONFERENCE member ….U OF NEW HAVEN.

So often kids want to make their dreams come true. But they simply cannot make the sacrifices. The uncertainty of change is too much and too risky. The lack of Guarantees presents fear and uncertainty. Leaving friends and giving up family time are all painful sacrifices that hold kids back. IRIS AZCONA made the sacrifices others wish they had the strength to make. She did it with the support of her parents and family. How else can you explain she and her family packing up and moving to Red Bank in order to play at RBR for John Truhan.

We may have to start calling Coach Truhan; Dr. Truhan. That’s because the Bill Parcell’s of girls basketball may have a new profession. Rehabilitating basketball players. We all knew he was the best at turning around basketball programs that have lost there way and turn them into champions. But Coach Truhan is now a dream maker and takes kids who have lost there way and ability to trust and brings them back to life. He takes them out of the darkness and into the light. IRIS AZCONA calls him her angel. We just call John Truhan one of the best coaches, mentors and believer of kids we may ever see. it was he who gave IRIS AZCONA the ability to trust again. it was Coach Turhan who gave IRIS her wings back and love for the game back which allowed her to soar, to soar all the way to THE U OF NEW HAVEN to fulfill her dream of playing D1 basketball.

When your parents believe in you, anything is possible. But the child has to put the work in. The child has to be brave. IRIS rose every weekend at 5am to attend NBS. She never said the word “NO” … she took the painful Criticism. She watched as those around her made their dreams come true but rather than be bitter. She cheered for them and continued to work. She continued making the 2 hour drives ”EVERYDAY” in order to get better. But more importantly her parents, RALF and JAYE never made excuses. They never said “we can’t get her there”… “we have a family commitment”…. ”she needs a day to rest” … ”we can’t afford it” instead they said ”WE HAVE TO TRUST GOD”… so they put there trust and faith in the hands of God. It was a wise decision. The Azcona family are doers not talkers. When they decided to attend RBR, they didn’t play games. The found a place to live in Red Bsnk the same day they made the decision to play at RBR. They embraced the school and the community. They made a decision and followed though. You see Iris Azcona, may not know this but her biggest strength as a player, person, daughter, sister and teammate is that she ”ALWAYS” follows though. Its why she is off to play D1 basketball at New Haven.

Doubt can be dangerous and when you been kicked around, doubt can find a home in ones mind. That doubt showed up last weekend in IRIS AZCONA’S head. She had been though the fire and been burned enough. She had no more skin left to give in this game called recruiting. She was ready to settle and give up on her dreams of finding the right school, the perfect school. IRIS was tired of trying to decide what to do about school. She had full scholarship offers on the table. So when she called me and said she had decided on a school. I was shocked. She was not making a decision for herself but rather for her family… she said and I quote!

Tiny, my family has done so much for me. They have made so many sacrifices for me, even my little sisters. I can’t drag this on any longer. I have a free education I can take advantage of and end all of this now”

I got upset with Iris and said she was wrong. I told her to settle now is wrong. I told her this journey may last even longer. She said.. “Tiny i’m making my decision”. I went to bed that night, thinking about all those schools IRIS has passed on. I thought about all she had been though. I thought how painful and embarrassing it must have been to have everyone know she would not attend Butler. I thought about all she had to endure over the last year. I thought about how others had signed and how she had to watch and read about there success and big days in the spotlight. I thought about how she was not just playing for herself but for her twins sisters as well. She wanted to show them how hard work is rewarded… it meant the world to her to be a role model to her younger sisters. I thought about how she was worried about letting her family down. i thought about all the well meaning people who had let her down. I thought maybe IRIS was right. Maybe she deserved the right to now finally Breathe again. But I forgot IRIS had come to far to settle. So when I woke up and saw this text ”Tiny, I can’t wait to visit NEW HAVEN” I smiled because I knew the fight was back on. I knew IRIS was really for more action. You see the ONES WHO SACRIFICE THE MOST ARE ALWAYS THE LAST TO SURRENDER… aka IRIS AZCONA

There was a RAINBOW over the head of IRIS AZCONA’S head when she took a picture on the New Haven Campus. I guess it was god’s way of saying. You belong here and this is your destiny. Your journey ends here and now a new one begins. I have seen the pain, the tears, disappointment and happiness on the faces of kids over the years; watching them go though the recruiting process. But I have never seen anything like what I have witnessed with this young lady… but then again, I have never seen anyone like IRIS AZCONA!!! CONGRATS TO MAKING A DREAM COME TRUE…. GOD IS GOOD🙏💕

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