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Hard work nets Eric Waterford Division 1 play

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Hard work nets Eric Waterford Division 1 play

Manteca Ford Mercury owner Phil Waterford and his son Phil Jr. look over the media guide to the University of Portland men's basketball team, where his son Eric is playing his freshman season.

JASON CAMPBELL/The Bulletin


POSTED December 18, 2008 9:21 p.m.
Phil Waterford knows that he’s getting a Christmas present this year that’s better than most – the chance to watch his son play Division 1 basketball.
After being a standout point guard at regional powerhouse Modesto Christian, Waterford’s son Eric attended a prestigious East Coast prep school to get himself ready to pursue what had always been his passion – earning a full-ride scholarship to the University of Portland to play for the Pilots.
While he could have red-shirted his freshman year, coaches felt that the 19-year old standout would benefit more from having experience on the floor.
But what matters most to his father is not the fact that his son is playing basketball or even that he earned a scholarship – it’s knowing that he set his mind towards a goal and achieved what he set out to accomplish.
“A lot of parents live vicariously through their children, and I get the chance to do that with my four sons,” Waterford said. “And like any father I want to see all of my kids develop the skills to be self-sufficient and achieve the goals they set for themselves.
“I want Eric’s story to show people that if you work hard enough, you can accomplish anything.”
After eliciting the services of Coach Gerald Spinks and his Modesto-based G & R Enterprises Sports Recruiting, Waterford went from becoming a good basketball player to a highly recruited prospect. He turned down offers to stay on the East Coast in order to be closer to his family.
And despite only being 19, Waterford got his first chance at hitting the hardwood late in a game against BYU where he drained a 3-point shot that prompted the radio announcer to state “here’s a guy that’s going to continue to see his playing time increase. He has looked very good in practice, but as a freshman point guard we are going to be hearing a lot about Eric Waterford.”
The compliments couldn’t have made his father prouder.
“If you trust in the Lord with everything you have, and put all of your faith in him, he’ll show you the way,” Waterford said. “We’re extremely proud of Eric for what he has accomplished.”
As a 3.4 GPA student in high school, Waterford is still breaking the books at the collegiate level earning high marks in all of his classes despite adjusting to a completely different lifestyle.
He’ll get the chance to come home to visit his family on Dec. 23, and will participate in the University of California’s basketball tournament in Berkeley on Dec. 27.
While Waterford is quick to point out his son’s achievements, he’s also mindful that along with the hard work that went into getting where he is he was also blessed.
“As a family we were extremely blessed, and knew that if we had faith something good like this can happen,” he said. “I hope that it’s something that other parents get the chance to experience as well.”

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