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Coach Z's Basketball Camp still going strong at Crescenta Valley High

Basketball: Crescenta Valley High boys' Coach Shawn Zargarian's summer camp continues to make impact in the community of La Crescenta.

July 27, 2012|By Gabriel Rizk, gabriel.rizk@latimes.com
  • Former Crescenta Valley High basketball player Eric Strangis speaks to a group of campers at Coach Z's Basketball Camp.
Former Crescenta Valley High basketball player Eric… (Roger Wilson/Staff…)

LA CRESCENTA — Coming off a spring in which he guided the Crescenta Valley High boys' basketball team to the CIF Southern Section Division I-A semifinals, Falcons Coach Shawn Zargarian spent the past week of his summer molding some younger players into possibly becoming the next generation of high school players.

Year after year, Zargarian's Falcons program draws on the talent of the surrounding community to field a Pacific League, and in the case of the past year, CIF title-contending team and for the seventh straight year, Coach Z's Basketball Camp did its part in making sure that bedrock remains strong at the youth level.

"It's nice to see some of these kids who started here as 9- and 10-year-olds and go all the way to when they're 13 and end up playing for us here in high school," said Zargarian, who counts 2012 graduate Christian Misi and incoming senior point guard Cole Currie among the alumni of his camp who have gone on to don the Falcons jersey. "But we hope this is not just a basketball camp, it's a camp where you can come and have a good time and learn other skills and get into shape."

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About 90 kids turned out at the Crescenta Valley gymnasium Monday through Friday to do just that under the guidance of Zargarian and his staff of assistant coaches and current and former Falcons players.

"It's been steady around 80 [campers] for the last four or five years," Zargarian said. "[Going up in numbers] is a good sign. Having 90-100 kids running around gets a little overwhelming, but if it wasn't for my coaches helping me out with all the different groups, it would be hard to do."

In similar fashion to previous installments, each day's camp session begins with a morning shootaround followed by stretching before the campers break off into stations focusing on fundamentals of shooting, dribbling, screening, defensive positioning and rebounding.

But 10-year-old Max Landa of Monte Vista Middle School didn't hesitate when asked what his favorite part of the camp was.

"The scrimmages," said Landa, who added that the morning tutorials give him new moves to try out in the afternoon scrimmage sessions. "I learned how to do the behind-the-back dribble and I used that in a game."

The scrimmages are so popular that Zargarian said he curtailed the amount of guest speakers scheduled this year to designate more time for scrimmaging in the afternoons.

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