It was a common site the past three years to find Rebecca Cantu shooting all alone on the St. Mary’s basketball court late into the evening.
Listening to music as she shot, Cantu would stay behind after games, perfecting her shot from all spots on the court.
Such dedication has now paid off, as the former Lady Rattler guard has signed to play professionally with TK Hannover, a second-division team based out of Hannover, Germany, that competes in the Bundesliga. She will primarily play the role of point guard for her new team.
“This is definitely very fulfilling for me,” said Cantu, who will play on a month-to-month contract in hopes of moving up to the league’s top division. “It was just a big load taken off of my shoulders because I was just in a very pivotal point in my career where it was make or break for me. This has been my dream.”
Cantu, a San Antonio native from MacArthur High School, played three seasons for the Lady Rattlers, averaging 1.6 points per game as a reserve from 2009-2012. She will become the second player in the program’s history to play professionally, following in the footsteps of former Lady Rattler Rachel Jones.
Described by St. Mary’s coach Jason Martens as a “gym rat,” Cantu had her best season as a senior, starting two of the 23 games she played while logging 200 minutes and shooting 46.2 percent from 3-point range (6 of 13).
“It’s obviously extremely exciting for Becky,” Martens said. “It’s been a lifelong dream of hers to do that. She was a very hard worker while she was here. She was very determined and wanted to reach that goal.”
Like any competitor, Cantu wishes she had earned more playing time at St. Mary’s. But she also acknowledges her fight for minutes kept alive a fire inside of her that enabled her to continue chasing her dreams to play professional basketball.
“It just sends a message that if you have a true dream that you are unwilling to give up…then it’s definitely possible,” said Cantu, who graduated in May with a bachelor’s degree in exercise and sport science. “At St. Mary’s, I realized my role was not necessarily what I wanted it to be, but at least I had a role,” she said. “I hope that the people that follow me there realize that even if you do not have the role you want, that it is definitely possible to still achieve something you want.
“That’s something I’m very appreciative of. Even if I didn’t have the minutes, I’m so appreciative I had a court, a trainer and the ability to put my hands on a ball. I’m very grateful for that.”
Before transferring to St. Mary’s, the 5-foot-4 Cantu was a reserve guard at Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, playing in nine games as a freshman.
Cantu credits her opportunity to longtime trainer David Jones, a former decorated player in Germany, whose program Shooting for Success has refined Cantu’s basketball skills.
She will head out for Germany on Wednesday in preparation for the upcoming season, which she said is slated to begin Sept. 22. The season runs about eight months, with a brief break at the end of December.
“It’s a stepping stone for me,” Cantu said. “Hopefully I can get my foot in the door to continue to progress and get into a higher division.”