By Jenelyn Russo
Photo Credit: Robert Zaleski
Video Interview here
A simple game of hoops in his backyard with his family is how Reilly Caya first started playing basketball.
"I was about three years old when I first picked up a ball," says Caya. "I was playing around with the family."
The Servite High School senior and four-year varsity player feels that as a point guard, he has the most dynamic position on the court.
"To me, that's the best position because you're the 'floor general,'" says Caya. "You have a lot of responsibility, and it's just something I love."
As a captain, Caya's duty to his fellow Friars extends beyond his playing time, and the 18-year-old keeps the bar set high.
"I have a high standard for my teammates, as they do for me, because I know what they can do," says Caya. "Off the court, I try to be a good example in the classroom."
Caya's leadership is impacting not only his fellow varsity teammates, but players in the entire Servite program who follow the senior's lead and look to him for guidance. Servite head basketball coach, John Morris, feels that Caya is the epitome of what he and his coaching staff look for in a Friar.
"Reilly is a tough, resilient young man who does not shy away from adversity," says Morris. "Because of his approach and his blue-collar work ethic...Reilly is one of the strongest leaders to step on the court for me. I know he will help lead this team to reach its fullest potential."
In his final year competing as a Friar, Caya is going to miss wearing Servite across his chest and the support he receives during games from the school's student section, The Asylum. After not seeing much playing time as a freshman and sophomore, Caya was on the court quite a bit his junior year and hopes to build on that success as the Friars push to make the playoffs.
"Basketball really has shown me what hard work can do for you," says Caya, "and that has led me to be a very hard worker on and off the court."
Caya serves his campus as president of Servite's S.I.G.N. Club (Service in God's Name), where he works with those in the community with developmental disabilities through organizations such as TOPSoccer and RAD Camp. The Orange resident hopes to continue playing basketball in college alongside studying psychology.
Caya is grateful for the many supportive family members in his life, but looks to his grandfather as one of his biggest role models.
"He came from a rough childhood, and he made the best with what he was given," says Caya. "He always taught me to focus on the good parts in life, even though a lot may be going wrong. And he taught me to keep faith with me at all times and to spread kindness to others."