By Darrel Wheeler
It was game ON for the San Diego City Wide Recreation Youth Basketball Tournament of Champions last Saturday at Balboa Park’s Muni-gymnasium. The best of the best teams representing their local recreation centers had to compete in a series of playoff rounds for a week leading into Championship Saturday.
Encanto, Skyline, North Park, MLK, Paradise Hills, Chula Vista, and Montgomery were some of the Rec center teams that represented.
Some of the best youth talent in San Diego, both boys and girls, could be seen working their magic under the watchful eyes of family, friends and high school basketball coaches. Most of San Diego’s prep hoops high achievers got their start at local recreation centers before they graduated into CIF competition.
“Rec- ball is like a stepping stone for the kids. This is where they get their start and then a lot of them eventually go play for travel teams,” said Paradise Hills coach Freddy Garrett. Paradise Hills 14-year old Celtics boys and head coach Freddy Garrett ruled their league with an iron fist and good intentions until their upset loss to South Bay’s Montgomery Rec center team.
In spite of their loss, Coach Freddy is still proud of his boys and feels that in playing and coaching rec center ball, the kids and the coaches learn a lot about the game. “I honestly think that without coaching at this level I wouldn’t know as much as I know now, and it made my transition into high school coaching that much easier.”
“This level also taught me how to deal with the parents and all the different personalities of the kids. This is definitely good training ground for the next level,” said Coach Garrett.
Rec center basketball has definitely played a positive part in helping to shape San Diego’s youth and their basketball development.
Photos by Darrel Wheeler: