Aaron Acosta didn’t know it at the time, but when he was in second grade his father introduced him to the sport that would later alter the trajectory of his life. “My dad first got me interested in basketball and I started playing recreational ball,” explains Acosta from his home in the Carmel Valley. “I didn’t really take it seriously until the ninth grade and I didn’t think about playing college basketball until after my sophomore year.”
Since those early days playing rec ball, Acosta has grown into a stand-out player on Canyon Crest Academy’s top-ranked varsity basketball team so quickly it’s a feat even Acosta can’t wrap his mind around. “I went from playing on the freshman basketball team to being a college recruit in a span of a little more than two years,” the senior explains of his recent decision to attend Colorado College in Colorado Springs. “It has been a surreal journey.” He’s also grown in a literal sense, clocking in at a towering 6’4”, an obvious asset playing competitive hoops.
Acosta points to the fact that Canyon Crest’s team attracts not only some of the top players in the community, but the region as a whole. “I think (what makes the region churn out top players) is that Carmel Valley has great youth programs,” Acosta notes of the neighborhood’s constant fostering of young athletic talent who, once at Canyon Crest, continue to grow under challenging coaches.
“CCA has tough coaches that challenge us every day in practice,” says Acosta, no doubt alluding to his squad’s coach, Brian Baum. “I believe we practice as hard as any program in the county.”
However much Acosta is exceeding expectations playing for Canyon Crest, it’s an accomplishment made all the more impressive considering he’s also a member of West Coast Elite, one of the top AAU programs in the entire nation. “It operates out of Los Angeles and attracts some of the best basketball players in Southern California,” explains Acosta of the team, which he’s climbed the ranks of over the years. “A friend of the family had a connection and got me a tryout. The talent I play with and against was exceptional, but I did well, and was one of the top scorers on the team. (In Los Angeles) the competition is a little tougher and the players tend to be even more athletic. It made me a better player and was probably the best decision I made in terms of basketball.”
It’s a decision that no doubt parlayed into a multitude of schools wooing Acosta’s moves the court, from Ohio’s Oberlin to Occidental in Los Angeles. In the end, Acosta decided to take his talents to Colorado College after he leaves the confines of Canyon Crest in 2018.
“I was invited for an official recruiting visit at Colorado College last August, and from the moment I arrived on campus the coaches made me feel comfortable and welcome,” says Acosta of the decision to decamp to the Colorado Springs school. “The players also seemed eager to get to know me and I immediately felt a connection to everyone. The school has first-rate athletic facilities and an extremely high academic reputation. It was basically everything I was looking for.”
Until then, however, Acosta has another six months or so before he embarks on his college career to continue to dominate North County athletics. “I look forward to college but I really am going to miss my friends, some of whom I’ve known since kindergarten. It’s definitely strange and bittersweet.”