LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — From a Liberty High School standout to a difference maker for Gonzaga, Julian Strawther finds himself back under the lights he once shone under.
The 6’7" guard knows that every time he steps on a basketball court, he’ll always be known as one of Vegas’ very own.
“Growing up in Vegas, always having that that weight on your shoulders that you are, you're Vegas’ kid," said Strawther.
"Basketball is becoming a really big, big thing in Vegas," Strawther said. "So just to be one of the better players to come out of Vegas and be able to represent my city every time that I go on the court, it means a lot.”
It’s not the only thing he thinks of. Strawther said he also honors his late mother, Lourdes, who died from breast cancer when he was just 9-years old.
"During the pregame when they call the starting lineups, I make sure I look up. I know she's watching," Strawther said. "There's definitely moments where I just smile and go, ‘I know I wouldn't have made that shot. I know my mom had something to do with it, though.' She was always the loudest person at my games. So, she's one of the loudest in the gym now.”
Strawther said his mother's passing has given him unique perspective in life.
"Just watching her fight through cancer, it just gives you a whole different outlook on how things really are and how grateful you have to be for every moment. Just to be able to live life happy, be strong, go out there and do everything for her, at this point," he said.
Gonzaga will face St. Mary's in the West Coast Conference Tournament championship game at the Orleans Arena on Tuesday. Tip-off is scheduled for 6 p.m.