Tribute to Leo Sarabia
(photo coming soon)
Back in the late '80's, the '90's and early 2000's, before the days of AAU basketball and individual trainers for young basketball players, Leo Sarabia had a significant impact on Clear Lake Boys basketball.
For over 10 years Leo worked with incoming freshmen every summer during Open Gym. Four nights each week in June he worked to help make them better players.
Back then Clear Lake was a predominantly affluent, white community. One night each week, Leo took the boys into the Houston inner city to Emancipation Park to the Rec Center to compete against inner city youth. Many of those kids had never even seen a new basketball. He did this partly to help the mostly affluent Lake kids to realize what life was like out in the real world out of the "Clear Lake City Cocoon" (my words, not his).
Leo was a dear, sweet man and a very loving, caring coach and the boys could feel it. He impacted the lives of many young Lake players during a span of almost 15 years. During the last 5 years Leo worked with the kids he would invite me to go along on the weekly trips to Emancipation Park. I believe that in that dusty old gym some young Lake players probably learned some valuable life lessons.
Leo was responsible for my initial involvement with the younger Lake kids. When the parents asked me to take the varsity to Bobby Knight's Camp at Texas Tech in 2004, I said I would only if Leo would go. We went and it changed my life. Leo accompanied me to the varsity camps for several years after that. Today, after 50 mostly out of town, weekend camps for Lake JV and Varsity players, Leo is remembered fondly by me at every camp.
Coach Bill Krueger never trusted anyone with his young boys except Leo. A Texas state representative once said to Leo, "If Bill Krueger trusts you with his boys, you must be special". How true that was.
In 1993 Leo also helped start the Clear Lake Boys Basketball Hall of Fame. It was his idea. He served as one of three founding members for the HOF until just a few years ago, when his health no longer would permit his involvement.
Leo and I sat together at the Clear Lake Boys Varsity games for over 20 years. We traveled together to out of town tournaments in Midland, Texas and Paintsville Kentucky. We were practically joined at the hip due to our shared love of Lake boys basketball. He was a dear sweet soul whom we will never forget and he will be remembered by the numerous men whose lives he touched at an early age.