From Tornado to Toro

A few seasons after starring at Hoover, Zareh Zargaryan is back in the spotlight

January 30, 2011|By Edgar Melik-Stepanyan, Special to the News-Press
  • Zareh Zargaryan has found a leading role with the Cal State Dominguez Hills men's basketball team.
Zareh Zargaryan has found a leading role with the Cal State… (ISO Complete - Press…)

Zareh Zargaryan has been here before.

He's been asked to score, lead, and create shots for his teammates.

The last time Zargaryan was expected to carry such a load was when he was playing for the Hoover High boys' basketball team.

Now he's being asked to do the same for Cal State Dominguez Hills.

"When he was [at Hoover], we needed him to do a little bit of everything," said former Tornado head coach and current Glendale Community College assistant coach Vigen Jilizian, who mentored the 6-foot-6 forward throughout high school and during Zargaryan's first season with the Vaqueros.

At Dominguez Hills, Zargaryan has needed to be a scorer and a playmaker.

"He's one of our best scorers and best passers," Toros Coach Damaine Powell said. "He's almost like Kobe Bryant and LeBron James. He has to score, pass and create shots for his teammates. Right now, he's one of the top three players in the conference.


"It's been amazing to watch his growth."

Zargaryan has been growing since he graduated from Hoover in 2007, when he was first noticed by Dominguez Hills.

"He was a very skilled player," said Dominguez Hills assistant coach Max Ward, who recruited Zargaryan as a senior. "He had great ability to put the ball on the floor. He could dribble, pass and shoot very well. Hoover was a dominant team because of him."

At Hoover, he was an All-Area first-team member and an All-Pacific League selection in his senior season. But he also had his weaknesses. He understood the game well, but he weighed just 190 pounds his senior season and was a streaky shooter.

Zargaryan went to Glendale college to play for Coach Brian Beauchemin and Jilizian as a freshman. A year later, he left the confines of Glendale college to play for Citrus College because he wanted to be on a team that could compete for a state championship. During his sophomore season at Citrus, Zargaryan logged 15 minutes per game and averaged 4.4 points per contest for a squad that won the Western State Conference Southern Division title.

Even though he shot just 36.7% from the field, Ward and Powell wanted him at Dominguez Hills, a NCAA Division II program.

"We wanted a winner like Zareh on our team," Ward said. "We wanted unselfish, skilled basketball players. He's very skilled. He has a high basketball IQ. At our level, you want as many of those types of players as possible."

Zargaryan played in 24 of his team's 28 games as a junior, averaging 9.7 minutes per contest and scoring a total of 62 points.

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