Handball player for life.

Traces of Greatness!  Or Faces of Greatness!



Photo courtesy of  Bill Fand                                                                                  

Tyree Bastidas, a junior one-wall player from New York is the 15-and-under 2006 World Champion and the youngest junior handball player to have captured the most national titles in one-, three-, and four-wall championships with the small and the big ball.

He is the most prolific junior handball player and the current all-time (combined juniors and open titles) record holder in the association.             As of December 2014, ten years after he debuted at the USHA national championships, he has accumulated more than 40 USHA national titles.

Traces of Greatness!  Or Faces of Greatness!




New York handball phenom Tyree Bastidas worked his way into the record books July 20, 2008 in Venice Beach California by claiming an unprecedented twenty fourth National Championship Title at the USHA National Three-Wall Junior Championships by crashing the age barrier in the 19-and-under Division.

The win propels Bastidas past former Junior National Champions, and it sets him squarely as the greatest Junior handball player ever.

No question, the scope of Bastidas’ achievement is astonishing: The 17-year old, competing in a grueling variety of events, captured more Junior National Titles than any Junior Champion in the World. His twenty four Junior National Titles are an incredible feat, but cool of the Greatest Junior Handball player ever, “talk”. Statistics shows no one has ever accomplished this record.

“An emotional moment for me” Bastidas, out of Midwood High School, would say later, an emotional day and really and emotional four years.

Bastidas burst onto the handball spotlight on July 2004 as if shot out of a canon and he immediately drew praise and accolades from Coaches Mike Watson and Paul Williams.

While M. Watson had labeled T. Bastidas “The Future Of Handball”, Paul Williams have been instrumental in helping Tyree to gain access to the YMCA to train and travel throughout the year.

Tyree Bastidas, a late bloomer, won his first National Junior Title at the One-Wall Junior Nationals in New York when he was thirteen years old. It was the beginning of his quest to become the greatest junior handball player.

The 17-year old New York sensation has crushed his contemporaries in shows of merciless pre-eminence on his way to his twenty fourth National Title since 2004.

It’s a record that will never be surpassed. His achievements on the handball courts are exceptional. Bastidas is the Lord of the handball courts and his magical handball wizardry leaves us speechless.

This, unmistakably, is the Bastidas Era. But are we in the middle of that era, or are we toward its end?.

Recently at the 2008 National Three-Wall Championship in Ohio, Marco Lemus from Chicago defeated T. Bastidas in a tiebreaker and Satish Jagnandan bounced off Bastidas in the quarter final of the Open One-Wall National Championships.

As M. Lemus and other young, strong-willed handball players rise to scuff Bastidas’ armor, they will struggle to break though that ageless quality of Bastidas that has been the engine of history’s greatest junior handball player: his relentless determination and belief in himself.

When Bastidas won his record twenty fourth Junior National title, he surprised his friends by saying.” My goal is to play for as long as possible until I win the Men’s Open division in one-, three-, and four-wall titles” That would place us toward the beginning of the Bastidas era.

Bastidas, the perpetual winner of the one, three-, and four-wall Junior National Championships with the small and the big ball has been the current dominating and reigning champion during the last four years. He’s earned a place in history “ As the greatest Junior handball player” thereby joining the elite club of the Greatest Handball players such as Oscar Obert  and Vic Hershkowitz, both from New York.

Looking back, Bastidas can't believe how young and inexperienced he was in 2004, when he made it all the way to the finals in Toledo-Ohio before falling to Tommy Torres from California in a tiebreaker.

“I was learning a lot“, he said, remembering that three-wall tournament. I did not really understand much.  I was just playing, doing what I was thought and trying to stick to my game.

“I guess I had a little bit of talent and that helped”Bastidas said. At the same time I felt a little bit helpless since I knew I could have won that title with more training. I still remember Coach M. Watson reminding me before the tournament. "Do not worry too much, you should be able to win," after that tournament I looked for additional help and more training.

My brother Jurell had told me about Coach Paul Williams, who helped him train and win the individual New York High School small ball tournament. "Tyree said"

I remember when Tyree came to me for the first time, “said Paul Williams” He asked me to help him to become a champion as others kids have done in the past, but Tyree’s request was different. I could see in his eyes he was determined to be a champion “Quitting was not part of his program, he did not have the quit button” Paul added. I knew right away he would deliver sooner or later, so I welcomed him into the ICHA family and I’m delighted to be part of his achievements.

Ever since then, Bastidas have reaped the benefits of both coaches, who are the force behind during his quest to become “The Greatest Junior Handball Player”, and he’s very thankful for that.

He was recognized by Firstar Sports, Inc. ( "Firstar" ) and World Pro Handball ( WPH ) as one of the best junior players in July 2008, and later on he earned a seeding among the top 10 Open players in the “combined” World ranking by the World Pro Handball.

"One could argue that Tyree is the best junior handball player of all time" He certainly is the best-rounded as far as being complete. He is the most complete junior handball player ever seen. He has all- around skills.

But there is one title he's really after: Becoming  the greatest Junior handball player of all-time.

In the minds of most handball experts, Bastidas has already achieved that goal.