For Daniel Coronado, the transition from basketball to volleyball is as simple as changing uniforms.
In fact, the Mountain Pointe setter and outside hitter, brings some of his hoop skills to the volleyball court.
And that can make him appear a little unorthodox.
“They make fun of me,” Coronado said, “but I feel like with the lay-up motion of basketball I can get higher and hit the ball harder. The motion of rebounds and dunking is the same as in volleyball.”
Earlier in his athletic career, Coronado was an accomplished baseball player and might have combined that with basketball in high school if he had not become hooked on volleyball.
Baseball and boys volleyball are played during the same spring season in high school, and Coronado had to make a decision.
“I grew up playing basketball,” Coronado said, “but since high school, volleyball has become more of my major sport.”
He said he also has found more opportunities in volleyball.
During his freshman year he competed in an informal tryout with Mountain Pointe volleyball coach Fred Mann and afterward Mann went into his recruiting mode.
“That’s when I decided that I wanted to play volleyball, and now I love it,” Coronado said.
This is his fourth year on the team, but his rookie season was a learning process.
However, Coronado is among the top 10 academic students of his class, so he caught on quickly.
“It takes a lot of coordination and energy to play volleyball,” Coronado said. “It was a whole new game for me. I had to learn rotations and positions.”
Then he had to learn all over again this season when he moved from middle blocker to the opposite hitter and setter, where he is involved in almost every volley.
“Playing setter is a whole different style,” he said. “A middle blocker stays in one area but as a setter you’re running the show and you have to cover the whole floor. I like that.”
Volleyball is a mind game, too, and frustration can lead to mistakes, he added.
“If you get down on yourself you start hitting the ball out of bounds and if you slack off it can hurt you, too,” Coronado said.
He is also in the National Honor Society, has taken honors classes through high school and does senior service away from the court.
“I like to be involved in meeting people and being part of what is happening at school,” he said. “My parents have always emphasized academics first. It’s been easy for me, but it takes some work. “
Next year Coronado plans to attend the Arizona State University Barrett Honors College and begin a new career in architecture.
“Math has always been my strongest area,” Coronado said, “and I love building things with LEGOs.”