North Texas Daily

How a first-year student found his footing with the Rocket League team

How a first-year student found his footing with the Rocket League team

How a first-year student found his footing with the Rocket League team
June 17
13:00 2021

In what was a successful season for the University of North Texas varsity Rocket League team, first-year team member Diego “Luciuhh” Aleman played a key role as the squad’s newest member. A first-year student at UNT, Aleman is a junior information technology major and the newest addition to the varsity Rocket League team. He was recently named the Rocket League Most Improved Player for the 2020-2021 esports season. The 18-year-old said he could not have won the Most Improved Player award without his teammates and everyone who helped him. “I don’t praise myself too much […] because a lot of what I know now is because of my teammates and coaches,” Aleman said. “But it is nice to be recognized like that. It’s motivating. Hopefully, [I’ll] get MVP in the future, but I think right now [junior computer science student Dylan Windebank] definitely deserves it.” Aleman grew up about 40 minutes away from UNT in Oak Cliff, Texas. He spent his childhood playing basketball, competing with his older brother on the PlayStation 2 and building his first PC with his friends. From the day he completed his first PC, Aleman said he knew he wanted to pursue a career involving technology. He decided to pursue a career in IT as a high school sophomore and took dual credit courses to receive his high school diploma and associate degree upon graduating from high school. “I was always around computers,” Aleman said. “So, growing up, I always kind of knew technology was going to be something I was interested in.” Aleman played about 82 games throughout the past season, with his first matchup coming on Oct. 5, 2020, against Texas Tech University. He played Rocket League as a hobby in high school before he learned about college competitions. After discovering it was a top contender in the Collegiate Rocket League scene, Aleman applied to UNT last summer. He joined the UNT esports club Rocket League team during the summer season and shortly after UNT esports coach Gunnar Dickson asked Aleman to become a substitute for the varsity Rocket League team. Aleman then became a starter for the varsity team during the fall. With Aleman coming into a starting role early in his first year, Windebank said Aleman had to learn quickly. “Diego is someone who stepped up quickly despite it being his first season,” Windebank said.  Leading up to his first game, Aleman said he remembers feeling a little anxious but he has since dove into training and worked to improve his skills. “It’s been a blessing to be in this position,” Aleman said. “It’s always nice to have fresh eyes looking over me like my coach or my other two teammates.” In February 2021, Aleman, junior Dylan Windebank and recent alumnus Kyle Pressley won the College Carball Association Winter Classic, taking 4-2 series victories against both the University of Central Florida and Northwood University, the Fall 2020 CRL champion. Aleman said winning the CCA Winter Classic was his proudest moment this past season. “Winning the Winter Classic was our first major first-place finish,” Aleman said. “Being able to see [Windebank] and [Pressley] win a championship, being able to win it with them will be my favorite memory for as long as I am at UNT.” UNT esports coordinator Dylan Wray said Rocket League has a delicate but powerful team dynamic. “Unlike all the other varsity titles, it’s just three people,” Wray said. “Each player brings an interesting atmosphere to the mix. Diego takes this very seriously. He not only puts in the work to better himself but also his teammates.” As he continues into his collegiate Rocket League career, Aleman said his main goal is to win a CRL championship. UNT lost 5-1 to the University of Akron in the CRL National Championship semifinals this past spring. “UNT has always gotten so close,” Aleman said. “[We] still lack a championship in the CRL tournament, but that has always been my goal since starting here.”

Courtesy UNT Esports

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Lyndle Montgomery

Lyndle Montgomery

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