Magdalena grad headed to the Centennial State to play college ball

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Recent Magdalena High School graduate Rio Chadde had aspirations of becoming a football star when he was younger.

He wanted to be the next Jerry Rice, and his 6-foot-6, 240-pound frame suggests he would have given any opposing coach, at any level, absolute fits when they saw him standing on the opposite sideline.

But basketball is what attracted Chadde in seventh grade, and now that his high school career is complete, he’ll take his talents to southeastern Colorado to play roundball for the Runnin’ Lopes of Lamar Community College.

Chadde was admittedly a bit of a late bloomer, and towards the beginning of middle school he only stood about 5-feet, 5-inches tall. However, by the beginning of eighth grade he shot up to around six feet, and that’s when he knew he wanted to concentrate on basketball and leave his football dreams on the bench.

He even sat out football in his final three years of high school so he could concentrate fully on basketball.

“I grew tall and I figured, ‘Okay, basketball’s more for me than football,’” he said.

“Basketball was my better sport, so I was saving myself for that.”

His decision paid off early on, as he played on all three basketball teams — varsity, junior varsity and C-team — at Socorro High School during his freshman year. After his sophomore year, he transferred to Magdalena, where he felt he could concentrate on his studies a bit more.

“It was a small school. I liked it,” he said. “I kind of needed more one on one time with the teachers.”

And of course, there was a basketball program.

Chadde was a double-double machine during his senior year, averaging 10 points, 10 rebounds and two blocks per game.

But while he possesses the tools to be a successful player at the next level, it’s not easy to garner attention playing for a 2A school in New Mexico. So, he had to go to work.

“I just wanted to get my name out there,” he said.

Chadde attended various camps, played basketball for the Amateur Athletic Union and played in various tournaments. He caught the eye of a few different coaches, but they said he just wasn’t the right fit for their program. He even drew attention from Knox College in Illinois after attending a basketball camp in Wisconsin, but Knox is one of the most difficult schools to gain admission to in the country, not to mention one of the most expensive to attend. The basketball program wanted him, the school decided to pass.

Although he admitted he felt defeated after that, Chadde kept at it. Because ever since he got into organized basketball, he knew he wanted to play college ball.

“I wanted to go to the next level,” he said. “I thought I was good enough.”

Eventually he ran into a man named Adam Schwartz at a coaching clinic in Albuquerque who happened to agree with him. The head coach at Lamar, Schwartz invited Chadde up to Colorado for a recruiting trip, and it was a good fit.

While he wasn’t the tallest player during his recruiting trip, Chadde has a thick frame that bodes well for the type of player he is. He plays with his back to the basket and has a solid drop step, something that has become somewhat of a forgotten skill in the basketball realm over the past decade or so.

He’ll also have some solid competition within his new team to look up to, quite literally speaking. Lamar’s current roster boasts at least four players who stand six-feet-six or taller, and assistant coach Chris Haslam, who has 13 years worth of professional ball under his belt, is nearly seven feet tall. Either way, Chadde will have a shot at making the varsity squad his freshman year, and even if he doesn’t make it this upcoming year, he’ll

have the opportunity to develop his skills on the junior varsity squad. Lamar is one of the few national collegiate basketball programs that has a JV team.

“Either way, they kind of have a spot for me, but my goal is to try and get into that spot on varsity,” he said.

Lamar is a good choice for him outside of basketball, as well. It’s in a small town of about 9,000 people, something Chadde is happy with, coming from Socorro. “It’s a positive,” he said. “I’ve lived in big cities and I’ve also lived in small cities. I prefer small cities. I like that more one on one, where everybody knows each other.”

The ability to develop good scholastic habits is also a benefit of attending a small school, as Chadde hopes to study either personal training or sports management while in college.

Nothing it seems though, will deter him from his overall goal of playing at a Division I college after his time at Lamar, and eventually, his intention to play professional basketball. That might seem like a stretch for a kid from Socorro by way of Missoula, Mont., but he possesses the necessary basic skills. He has a good work ethic, he’s a good passer both on the perimeter and from the post, and he has a quick release on his jump shot, which he’s capable of making from up to around 18 feet. Regardless of what his future holds, Chadde will always be involved in the sport, whether it be as a player, as a coach or otherwise, and his time in Socorro and Magdalena will always serve as a starting point for that.

“I met a lot of people,” he said. “It’s been fun.”