A 35-year-old special education paraprofessional at Old Rochester Regional High School is returning to professional basketball.

Aaron Strothers will play his first home game tonight for the Costa Rica Escazu basketball team.

It seems like it's hard to grow up in Onset and not have an affinity for basketball. Strothers is one of those guys. He grew up playing with some pretty recognizable names in Wareham basketball history.

"We had a really competitive group of basketball players," he said. "We all grew up playing basketball in Onset.  That's how my basketball journey started."

There were state champions such as Jordan Rezendes and Jules Tavares in the group.  Other members of Viking royalty included Denzel Brito, Darien Fernandez and Colbey Santos. These players helped shape Strothers into the gutsy player he is now.

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Strothers later played ball at Merrimack College in North Andover before earning a position on the Cape Verde national team. One of his teammates from Merrimack was from Costa Rica and helped pair Strothers with the Excazu team. That was 10 years ago.

Since then, Strothers has held down jobs working at places such as Decas Cranberry, UPS, a liquor store, Enterprise Rent-a-Car and New York Life -- any place that would allow him to juggle his schedule with his commitment to basketball.

Strothers had been coaching for UMass Dartmouth and Bridgewater State University, and finally settled on a job that would always allow his schedule to be completely free for basketball after school: a paraprofessional at ORR.

ORRBulldogs via Instagram
ORRBulldogs via Instagram
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As he secretly began his training regimen for his return, Strothers showed up at the Bulldogs gym at 6 a.m. to put in the extra work before the sleepy-eyed students shuffled in for the day.

His hard work paid off. The 35-year-old has returned to pro ball.

"It's come full circle," he said. "Can't believe that I'm back here in Costa Rica 10 years later."

Not surprisingly, his paraprofessional position at Old Rochester has been set aside for his return in the fall.  So will his spot on the faculty basketball team in the annual game against the students.

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