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California junior outfielder Raoul Fabian looks up to the late Kobe Bryant as a source of inspiration every day.
Fabian saw and heard the stories of Bryant’s work ethic. The early mornings. The late nights. The extra time to grind. How sticking to the process and hard work will eventually lead to great results.
Bryant was the perfect example of that, winning five NBA titles and carving out a career as one of the greatest to ever play sports.
“Honestly, it comes from Kobe Bryant,” Fabian said. “Kobe also motivated me to be a better player, and Kobe being a leader out there he definitely shows what it means to be a winning team.”
His parents always instilled that work ethic in him, too.
His father would wake him up at 5:30 a.m. every day and make him do 100 pushups and 100 situps before school. After school, his mother made him do another 100 pushups and situps before dinner.
All of that work has paid immense dividends for Fabian, who is amidst a standout junior campaign for the Grizzlies.
Through six games, Fabian boasts a .444 average with three RBI, one double, one triple and one home run.
Where he’s also seeing success is on the base paths with two steals, which was appoint of emphasis entering the year.
“I have a personal trainer,” Fabian said. “We’ll be working on strength and speed and conditioning, and I really think that played a big part of my roel for sure because I like stealing bases. And being an outfielder and center fielder you have to cover a lot of ground.”
Fabian is committed to Long Beach State – which has one conference title and three NCAA Tournament appearances since 2014 – and choosing the program over offers from Fresno State and Pacific.
What Fabian loved was the coaching staff.
“Coach (Eric) Valenzuela – I heard a lot about him when he was at St. Mary’s,” Fabian said. “He gave me the call saying he really wanted me to be on the team. I was like, ‘Man, I’ve got to jump on this for sure.’ And also the campus is really nice and I love the way they play baseball there. I love it.”
The commitment was something he will never forget, but he knows there are more goals to achieve.
“My mom started breaking down crying,” Fabian said. “She’s always supported me, always been my No. 1 supporter. My dad was also really proud of me, but he was like, ‘Don’t be satisfied. There’s a lot of work to do.’”
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