By Patrick Lujan
His height and complexion had him standing out like a penguin on Tumon Bay. Fred Peters’ basketball skills, however, fit in perfectly into Guam’s basketball scene since his migration in 1994.
Since his arrival that year in what was supposed to be only a three-week visit to his Navy sister stationed here, Peters has turned out to be one of the best big men of all-time on Guam.
Today, Peters is on a 400-day deployment with the U.S. Army Reserve in the Middle East attached to the 368th MP Company where he is still playing the hardcourts and showing his skills against a different level of competition.
“While currently here at Camp As Sayliyah, the military put together a team to participate in the Qatari Armed Forces Friendship Tournament which was held (last month),” Peters said. “There were six teams and we were the only American military team.
“Overall, the top players were probably above the competition level in say, an SPG type tournament, but as a team, the Guam team or some of the teams that we have played from the Philippines, could compete with these teams. But they recruit a lot of guys from Africa who are just big, like 6’10 or 6’11…so that size is hard to match up with.”
Joining the Reserves
It was just three years ago that Peters decided to join the Army Reserves with the sense of ‘obligation’ to our country.
“There were a number of other reasons, but a lot of the guys I played with like Mike Atoigue, Manny Alegre, Sandy Fejeran, Jesse Pinaula, Jin Han, Sid Guzman, yourself and so many others all put in time to serve our country, and I felt that I should do the same,” said Peters.
The influence to join the Reserves was similar to the influence he had 18 years ago when he decided to make Guam his home.
“I could not believe how nice the people were here, and the hospitality, not to mention that when I left my home in Illinois, there was snow on the ground and it was so cold, and now I was going to the beach and snorkeling and diving, and could do this 365 days a year. I just kind of fell in love with the island and the people, and then a teaching position at St. John’s School opened up later and I have been there ever since.”
Peters was the centerpiece of the successful MVP Aces teams along with the likes of Alegre, Danny Cepeda, Joey Almoguera and Joey Cepeda.
He later was the starting center – who was just as deadly shooting the trey as he was under the basket – for the 1997 East Asian Games and 1999 SPG teams. He would eventually be part of the national coaching staff for the ‘98 Micronesian Games, 2004 19U Oceania Championships and 2005 Mini-Pacific Games. He is also the long-time coach for the St. John’s Knights boys hoops team.
Peters hopes to be home by Labor Day and can’t wait to barbecue at the beach with lots of friends and family.
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