Playing the game of basketball is fun, but drilling threes and racking up points is electric.
Emily Velozo has the ability to do both.
After scoring just 22 points her freshman season, the Framingham State University guard dropped in 1,120 over the next three years.
The main reason for this is her ability to find space and splash threes from any range.
And when she soars the ball through twine, the crowd responds.
Velozo led the MASCAC Conference in three-point field goal percentage and finished third in the conference for three-pointers made this past season.
But she has been dropping long range buckets and getting fans out of their seats and on their feet since long beforehand.
At five years old she picked up a basketball.
Her older brother played the sport, and her parents signed her up for clinics.
But it wasn’t her only focus. She also played baseball until the eighth grade and then switched over to softball for two years on a summer travel team. She competed in both soccer and basketball in high school and played AAU basketball as well.
Once she reached high school, Velozo threw on a Redmen jersey and made herself known on the Tewksbury High hardwood.
She still goes back and supports the team now and has a deep connection with her head coach and assistant coach from that time.
“I loved playing for Tewksbury. Nothing is better than playing for your hometown. The environment was great, and the people involved in athletics were great,” Velozo said. “My most memorable moment from high school ball was my senior year when we beat Andover by 30, and it was our first time beating them in a decade.”
Beyond the high school court, Velozo was first scouted by Framingham State women’s basketball coach Walter Paschal and his staff at one of her AAU games during her junior year.
After seeing her tenacity with a basketball, the Rams’ coach knew she could bring it to his team and reap the benefits.
“She was a tough nose kid who didn’t back down from anyone. And boy were we right,” Paschal said. “She has no fear going against anyone. Nothing rattles her.”
“There were a lot of factors that played into me deciding on Framingham. Going to games, I loved how the girls played with each other and how they gave it their all,” Velozo said. “I obviously knew that Framingham was one of the top teams in the league and that helped me lean towards them over other teams I was being recruited by in the MASCAC.”
After rarely seeing the court in her first year with the 21-5 Rams, Velozo worked in the off-season on her ball handling skills and further developed her own jump shot.
This led to her getting nine starts her sophomore year, before she broke into an every game starting role her junior year.
From her first year to her last, Velozo improved from a 1.6 points per game average, to a third-best in the MASCAC Conference 17.5.
“She spent so much time in the off-season working on her game,” Paschal said. “She has set a great example on how to work for something and go out and achieve it.”
Some achievements the Tewksbury native accomplished over those two years in the starting lineup include a spot on the MASCAC Second-Team her junior year, and the First-Team her senior year.
She also was named MASCAC Player of Week three times and D3hoops.com Team of the Week honoree once. And in her senior season, she led the MASCAC in three-point percentage (44.1%), finished third in three-pointers made (74), was top five in points (478), free throw percentage (79%), field goal percentage (49%) and was sixth in assists with 79.
And her final season was the best of her career, as she topped 1,000 points and became the thirteenth player in program history to do so.
The accomplishment was celebrated with fans running out of the stands and her team yelling from the bench.
She then helped lead the Rams to their first ever MASCAC Championship and undefeated MASCAC regular season.
“I couldn’t be prouder of an individual then I am of Emily. Her and her teammate Mary Kate O’Day are two of the hardest working kids I have had the pleasure to coach,” Paschal said. “So proud they got to leave here winning the MASCAC championship. It’s a memory they will have for a lifetime.”
Now with her college career at a close, Velozo has some options.
Her plans going forward are up in the air right now, but she has the opportunity to play professional basketball in Ireland next year. She also will be ready to be hired as an educator in May.
“I am attending a pro league basketball clinic this summer to widen my opportunities for my best work,” Velozo said.
Keep an eye out for the 5’5″ playmaker, as she may be once again making a name for herself, this time at the professional level.