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A long time assistant coach and head junior varsity coach at Burroughs, Hochberg had waited for an opportunity to be a varsity coach. When the time came a few years ago, he inherited a team that lacked experience or talent in a Pacific League that had plenty of it.
This season, things are different as collectively his team has both the experience and talent to compete. Humbled, happier and hungry after a three win season a year ago, the Burroughs High boys’ basketball team is taking a 2-0 start in stride, but the only sleepless nights these days for Hochberg are the nights his two-month old, Brevin, decides to wake him up before the alarm sounds.
“I’ve been up since 2:30 a.m today,” he says on the drive home from a win Thursday, December 8. “But that’s okay, we got a ‘W’ and we are off to a good start so all is good.”
The Tribe moved to 2-0 by blasting tournament host, Pasadena Poly, 64-35. Alex Duran, a transfer from Alemany High, led the way with 16 points while Austyn Thompson added 14 and Pedro Gonzales III added 12.
In a win over Rosemead to open the tournament Gonzales had 16 points and was one of four players in double-digits as the Indians started pool-play with a win in the Poly Tournament on December 6. The balanced scoring is something fans can expect a lot of from Burroughs this season.
“We might not have a superstar, but I like our depth 1-10 and we have a lot of experience and talent compared to the last few years,” Hochberg said.
Right now, the Indians are without their top two players, Jorge Flores-Pere is slowed by a hamstring injury and Zeke Zuniga is also out for the next three weeks with an injury.
The silver lining is the experience others are getting in their absence and the new depth that allows Burroughs to overcome the injuries. Gonzales, for example, has excelled in two starts but will return to the bench as the star sixth man when the Indians are at full strength.
“And he is fine, even excited about that,” says Hochberg. “He has been with me from the start, he has the same (win-loss) record that I do, and he is such a leader in that role. He reminds the guys about what they need to do all the time, he has been awesome.”
Burroughs will play Selding (New Zealand) in pool play, and with a victory would play in the tournament championship at 4:00 on Saturday. The San Fernando Valley Tournament follows as Hochberg tries to keep his team focused through an upcoming winter break from school.
“I think both tournaments are good opportunities for us, for different reasons,” he said. “We’ve just got to stay focused and stay hungry.”