Gerardo De La Cruz
Founder & Athletic Director
Cruz created the U.S. Basketball University as his family’s foundation in 2008 for the purpose of serving the youth of the Santa Clarita Valley where he had recently relocated from Huntington Beach. Its explosive growth and expansion over the past decade into Arizona, Texas and China was not only not planned but highly unlikely given that there was no other organization in exitance that delivered world-class training to non-elite athelets. And that was just fine by him as he had been underestimated, undervalued and overlooked as a player and then as a real estate developer his entire life.
He played for Pac10 Coach of The Year, Stan Morrison, at the University of Southern California before graduating with a degree in Psychology. This was followed by a pofessional playing career overseas in Spain. He then returned to Los Angeles and graduated from Pepperdine University with his Master’s degree in Counseling Psychology. He is currently working on completion of his PhD in Applied Sports Psychology. He has coached at the youth, high school, college and pro levels for over 20 years.
His love of the game was born while playing at Saint Charles Catholic School in North Hollywood for legendary coach Charlie Perkins. From there he went on to star at Notre Dame High School before going on to USC and ultimately enjoying a pro career in Barcelona Spain. He was blessed to work as a coach for hall of fame player and Laker legend Erving “Magic Johnson” for a number of summers while he was at USC and ultimately implemented many of the structures and approaches he saw in action at Magic’s camps to USU Basketball.
He was also heavily influenced by hall of fame coaches John Wooden of UCLA and Dean Smith of UNC. USU Basketball has been modeled on their teachings and approach not only to the game but to their players and families. Cruz believes that fundamentally, we are all coaches even if only of ourselves and that the ultimate goal every day should be, as Coach Wooden was so found of saying, to make each day your masterpiece.
He entered into real estate development in 1996 when he joined the family company, De la Cruz Homes and Estates. He completed his first residentail project in Huntington Beach that summer and never looked back. He is currently Chairman of the Board and travels between sites in Los Angeles County, Orange and San Diego County as well as Phoenix, Fort Worth and Barcelona. He resides in Texas where he is raising his son Gerardo Maxmilion and his daughter Presley Ryan Bela.
Cruz’s love of the game has been a constant in his life as has been passing along the many lessons and joys of playing basketball to younger generations. One of his most precious treasures of his life has been to be called coach. It has been his privilege to serve the youth of North Los Angeles, Phoenix, Fort Worth and Shanghai. In 2020, he recommitted to making USU Basketball his life’s work and is excited at all the possibilities for 2021 as we all make a COME BACK of one form or another. Let’s all go play hard, play smart and play together as Coach Dean Smith used to say.