Returning for the gold

Coaches say this year's Homenetmen Ararat Chapter team headed to the Pan-Armenian Games is more talented than the 2007 silver-medal squad.

August 09, 2011|By Edgar Melik-Stepanyan, Special to the News-Press
  • Zareh Zargarian defends another player during practice at the Ararat Center in Los Angeles. The Glendale Homenetmen Ararat Chapter's men's and women's basketball teams will travel to Armenia for the fifth annual Pan-Armenian Games.
Zareh Zargarian defends another player during practice… (Cheryl A. Guerrero,…)

GLENDALE — One starter — Zareh Zargaryan — just completed his collegiate career at Cal State Dominguez Hills.

Another starter — Narbeh Ebrahimian — was the starting point guard for Glendale Community College this past season.

A third presumed starter — Zareh Avedian — finished his playing career at Cal Lutheran in 2004, but has competed in international tournaments and can still dominate games.

The trio of stars on the Glendale men's basketball team will join locals who have shined in the area to represent their city and the Homenetmen Ararat Chapter in the fifth annual Pan-Armenian Games in Yerevan, Armenia.

The Pan-Armenian Games begin Saturday and end Aug. 21.

Will all the talent Glendale possesses result smelt into gold at the end?

They all say the answer depends on how much each sacrifices.

"Without sacrifice, you never appreciate what you accomplish," said Glendale Coach Fred Babadjanians, a former Glendale High girls' basketball coach, who led a contingent of Armenian athletes to a silver medal in the 2007 Pan-Armenian Games.


"We're asking them to sacrifice something that's bigger than them."

Babadjanians and his players say this team is more talented than the one that took silver.

"It's the deepest team we've had," said Narbeh Doloukhanian, a 1999 Hoover graduate who is making his fourth trip to Armenia for the international competition. "We are taking a more talented team, but that doesn't mean anything."

The talent is deep.

Zargaryan, a 6-foot-6 forward, may be Glendale's top attraction.

The 2007 Hoover graduate was one of the leaders on a [Division II] Dominguez Hills team that advanced to the NCAA West Region Tournament, averaging 9.7 points, 4.7 rebounds and 1.6 assists per game.

He'll be asked to score, pass and play sturdy defense for Glendale.

"As a team, we're committed to playing team defense," Babadjanians says. "That's supposed to create for our offense. If our defense is going to lead to our fastbreak points, we don't have to worry about Zareh getting 15 shots a game."

Zargaryan says he doesn't need to shoot much.

"There's so much help on the court," he added.

That help includes Avedian, a 1999 Hoover graduate.

Avedian is making his sixth trip to Armenia and is all too familiar with the level of competition.

He's taken on a leadership and teaching role with this year's team, knowing that Glendale has "a lot of young talent and fresh legs that can get up and down the court."

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