Senior hits the four-digit mark

Senior hits the four-digit mark

Senior hits the four-digit mark

Noelle Ott

Although 999 is close, it was one point away from what he desired.

Hiram Ocasio, senior guard, made his 1,000th-career point Jan. 12 when the Missouri Southern competed against the Central Missouri State University Mules.

“It wasn’t a surprise because I realized that I was going to make it this year,” Ocasio said. “But it’s a good feeling because not many basketball players get to that point.”

His 1,000th point not only set a record for him, but it also benefited his team members as it led to upset the Mules, a nationally-ranked team.

Ocasio has been playing basketball since the age of four and has continued in a variety of sports since that time. He’s played baseball, as a shortstop, and was a member of Southern’s track-and-field team his sophomore year. Before joining the Lions, Ocasio played professional basketball for two years in Puerto Rico.

Even though the 1,000th-career point will be remembered for some time, Ocasio had already accomplished one goal when he came to Southern.

“This is what I’ve always wanted – to play in the United States,” he said.

Ocasio was discovered by Robert Corn, head men’s basketball coach, on the recommendation of a friend. Corn has held a high opinion of this “solid player” as he has seen Ocasio play throughout the years.

“He’s matured into a very good player,” Corn said, “He’s one of the leaders that everyone looks up to on the team.”

Ocasio has scored an average of 9.3 shots per game and has a free-throw percentage of .857.

However, not all of this occurred over night. Ocasio said the team practices from 2:30 p.m. until 5:30 p.m. four days per week, excluding Wednesday and Saturday when they compete. Sunday is the team’s only day off.

Basketball is Ocasio’s passion, and one can see this to be true when he talks

about his future.

“I want that [playing professional basketball] to be my full-time job,” he said. “I don’t want to do anything besides basketball.”

To date, only 14 people in Southern’s history have accomplished the feat of scoring their 1,000th career point.

“Anytime a young man reaches 1,000 career points, it’s a good indicator he’s had a good career,” Corn said.