Aaron Yu is an international student that played division one high school ball back in Taiwan, and came to Pasadena to chase his dream of being a pro baller driven by his father’s passion to compete on the court.
Yu currently plays shooting guard for the PCC men’s basketball.
Being an international student, Yu is currently living by himself in a condo in Pasadena. His parents only visit him time to time during regular season and school breaks.
With PCC’s basketball season officially over after failing to make the playoffs, Yu hones his basketball skills at his local LA Fitness center.
Yu started playing basketball at an early age of 5 years old. As he got older, his father put up a mini basketball hoop in the yard for him to shoot around.
His father also had a passion for basketball and he stayed on the basketball court to play until sundown during his own college years.
He would often take the Yu to meet college players in Taiwan and get him familiar with the game at an early age.
At first his father thought it was just a great hobby for Yu to pick up, but then he realized his talents and potential to play competitively at school.
“My father has always been very supportive, especially when he see me improve, when I joined the school team, he would invest a lot of effort in my basketball needs,” Yu said. “From buying basketball sneakers, signing me up for Kobe’s basketball camp, and taking me to live NBA games.”
Yu’s first NBA experience was during last year’s NBA Finals when the Golden State Warriors played the Cleveland Cavaliers in the first game of the championship series at Oracle Arena in Oakland.
After performing well for his middle school team, Yu was scouted by various teams to play high school ball.
Yu ended up settling for a division one high school called Youth High School in Taichung, Taiwan.
During his first year away from his home town in Taoyuan, Yu wanted to quit his high school team, but toughed it out because it was a dream of his to be able to play basketball at a competitive level.
Unlike high school in the States, most high schools in Taiwan have athletic programs designed specifically for student athletes, and these programs often focused more on student’s athletic success than their academic success.
Yu was influenced by his family’s English background. His older sister, who is currently an English teacher in Taiwan, and his father who was a language major, Yu had aspirations of coming to the United States since he was in middle school.
Yu decided to transfer from the athletic program to the honors program during his last two years in high school.
He also took after school English prep-course to prepare him to come to the States once he graduated.
During his senior year in high school, Yu had to balance his honor roll and prep-course, while playing starting shooting guard at a division one high school.
“I wanted to show people that athletes can succeed in school too,” Yu said. “I don’t want to give the impression that athletes don’t know how to study hard and only know how to play basketball.”
Yu finished his last season at Youth High School with his team and advanced to the top 16 within the division.
After Yu graduated from high school, his family decided to enroll at PCC because they had family friend who lived in Arcadia, but most importantly because of PCC’s reputation of having a high transfer rate.
Yu explained that coming to America to play basketball at a collegiate level was not only to prove to himself he could do it, but also to show to his teammates that he could play.
According to Yu, the biggest difference between playing in Asia and in the States is player development. In Asia, they focus more on team improvement while in America, players are first recognized by individual skills.
“If you perform well, they will pass you the ball, if you suck then they just flat out ignore you,” Yu said.
Although Yu struggled to communicate with his teammates in the past, this past season Yu became closer to his teammates and earned their trust to shoot the ball when the game is on the line.
“What I know from him is that he just moved from Taiwan, he is a cool dude always in a good mood, probably one of the best shooters I’ve ever played with and always positive never negative,” Yu’s teammate Jamon Moore said.
While improving team chemistry is important, Yu has also worked on his game.
“One of my greatest improvement I think it is to be able to play more physical, I wasn’t used it at first but now I can keep up,” Yu said.
Although Yu averaged slightly below 5 points per game, he received much more playing time during the second half of the season, even occasionally gets inserted into the starting lineup.
“He improved quite a bit from the time he got here … I think he came a long way. He learned a lot this year, and he going to continue to grow and compete, keep working on things that he needs to work on,” said head coach Michael Swanegan.
Yu is registered as a business major at PCC, and is enrolled in four other classes aside from basketball.
He said he always had a curiosity toward how to create his own business, but for now Yu wants to focus on basketball and enjoys his time at PCC. He wants to see how far basketball can take him.