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The student news site of Diablo Valley College.

The Inquirer

The student news site of Diablo Valley College.

The Inquirer

DVC Three-Point Specialist Steps into the Spotlight

Ben Tellez
Photo Credit: John Bynum, Jr., @DVCMensHoops/Twitter
Ben Tellez Photo Credit: John Bynum, Jr., @DVCMensHoops/Twitter

How do you stop Ben Tellez? It’s a question that has crossed many opposing coaches’ minds as their teams faced off against Diablo Valley College’s sharpshooting guard this season. 

Though the Vikings have underperformed with a 11-13 record, placing them fourth in the Big 8 division, Tellez is having one of the best seasons in recent memory. The 6-foot-2-inch sophomore guard has averaged 19.3 points and 3.5 three-pointers per game — the most in the program over the last nine years — while shooting a blistering 43.4 percent from beyond the three point arc.

“There’s times where I get that feeling that no matter what, it’s going in,” Tellez told The Inquirer in a recent interview. “I have a lot of confidence and I feel like I can make any jumpshot that I shoot.”

In conference play, where the Vikings are a respectable 7-5, Tellez ranks first in total three-pointers made, and third in three-point percentage, total points and points per game.

As a result, the Vikings have designed their offense around Tellez’s shooting and scoring talent, according to head coach Ervin Anderson. The pressure Tellez creates as a shooter can cause opposing players to jump wildly at pump fakes and fly out of position, he said, which creates advantages for the team’s offense to attack the basket at will. 

“He creates opportunities for other people through his amazing shooting,” said Vikings center Michael Wood. “Him knocking down threes gets us all in rhythm.”

At a typical game, opposing coaches will spend a bulk of their teams’ defensive possessions yelling at players to keep track of Tellez — and will even pull their players out of the game if Tellez has been left open.


Leading by example

Coach Anderson said he recognized Tellez’s talent early and used it to build his offense.

“We designed it to feature the stuff he does well, get him high, get him to run off some rubs and back screens so that he can be able to shoot,” Anderson said. 

“It forces the defense to guard him out and then we have people slip to the basket, which helped us get our bigs layups when they set good screens.” 

He added, “We organize our offense around having Ben as a shooter.”

Tellez grew up playing basketball across the street from DVC at College Park High School, where he was already recognized as a quality starting player, but he had never been the focal point of a team’s offense until now.

“It has been an adjustment because that’s never been my role really,” said Tellez. “There’s definitely times where I make mistakes, but having that confidence from my teammates and my coaches helps a lot.”

Aiding his transition to the center stage of the team’s offense is his coachability, said Anderson. Quiet by nature, Tellez has a natural ability to absorb critiques from coaches and apply them to his game.

“When you’re going through stuff and you have a really good player, sometimes you end up with backtalk, complaining or arguing, and I don’t get that at all [from him],” said Anderson. “He is really coachable.”

His teammates also said they can count on Tellez to lead with his play.  

“Him as the guy is a title that he can definitely handle,” said Wood. “We are all very confident in his shooting.”

Tellez has yet to miss a game this season, where he has scored more than 10 points and hit two or more three-pointers in 20 of 22 games.

“The level of consistency is important,” said Anderson.

The team overall has dealt with injuries that have caused some inconsistency in the rotation of the players. 

Some of Tellez’s big games have helped the Vikings stay afloat in the standings and knock out wins. He has gone over the 20-point mark 12 times this season and has hit four or more three-pointers in 11 games.


A drive to succeed

To reach such high levels of shooting success, Tellez has had to put in extra hours practicing his jumper since middle school. Aside from constant practice on the court, he’s used shooting machines and started playing competitive Amateur Athletic Union basketball. 

Although not the strongest or tallest player on the court, Tellez used his jump shot and other crafty skills as a way to get playing time when he was younger. His game has only grown since. 

“I spent a lot of time just working on my shot in high school because one of the only ways I would be able to get on the court was by being able to shoot,” said Tellez.

Wood said that “seeing Ben doing great makes all of us better.”

“Him working on all those shots encourages me to come alongside that and check out my own three-point shot,” he added.  

photo courtesy of Ben Tellez

All that hard work has paid off so far for Tellez, who hopes to continue playing basketball as he pursues a kinesiology degree at a four-year university after leaving DVC next year. He said staying on the West Coast is key for him as he looks to transfer to schools such as Cal State East Bay or Monterey. 

Anderson said he supports Tellez’s ambition to play at a four-year college, expressing confidence in his star player’s ability to compete at the next stage.

“I know he can go to the four year level for sure,” said Anderson, who even signaled he believes Tellez has the talent to one day possibly go pro, if he keeps improving his game.

“I don’t think it’s out of the realm of his capabilities. He’s got the ability to shoot it from distance,” added Anderson.

“I think if he’s learning how to deal with the ups and downs of not always being able to hit… he could play pro.”

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About the Contributor
Nate Wendling, Staff Writer

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