The St. Louis Surge professional basketball team 2018 season is underway, so you might want to get to know the players both on and off the court. Meet #23 Leticia “Leti” Lerma, one of the youngest players on the team.

Lerma had known about the Surge organization for a few years before joining, but the team officially came on her radar after current player Rebecca Harris came to one of Lerma’s games at Bradley University.

“Rebecca knew my player development coach and she reached out through her about me trying out for the Surge,” Lerma says. “I went down to the pro combines in Dallas, where I met Khalia. … I tried out with the current players at the time for the whole day, and now I am working on my second season with the Surge.”

Lerma says her teammates and coaches are always challenging her.

“Khalia believes we are more than just basketball players and has helped me network and find career opportunities,” Lerma says. “She also gave me the opportunity to continue playing the sport I love throughout the summer while adding to my basketball family along the way. I am one of the younger players — possibly the youngest — on the team, so my teammates teach me a lot on the court and off. They played a big part in helping me not only get overseas, but also gave me a lot of insight and tips about what it’s like playing over there.”

Preparing for games is, first and foremost, a mental challenge for Lerma.

“During the week, I like to scout our opponents and understand my role for our upcoming game,” she explains. “I like to visualize situations or envision taking a shot or locking down on D or any game situation that I can think of that I may be in.”

Once she’s mentally prepared, Lerma’s physical preparation is crucial too.

“I try to drink as much water as I can but, of course, I’m young and human and enjoy my sodas [a few times] a week,” she says. “I try to eat pretty healthy every day because I know my body is so important when it comes to being an athlete. A good meal at least four hours before tip is always a must for me, and I like something sweet right before the game and a Gatorade during.”

When asked why people should see a Surge game this summer, Lerma replied: “‘Why shouldn’t people check out the Surge?’ is a better question. We have a fun environment at our home games and play an up-tempo style of basketball, which is always fun to watch. We are a very talented team on the court and even better people to get to know off the court. We have a tougher schedule this season, and I think if you come to one game, you will want to keep coming back.”

The Home Opener starts at 7:05 p.m. Saturday, June 9, at the Washington University Field House. For more information and tickets, visit stlsurgebasketball.comM

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