By Dick Dornan
MyBurbank Sports Editor
Many of the local high school sports programs have been busy for the past seven weeks since the school year ended. Basketball, soccer and baseball have begun preparing for the 2014-15 season with a full slate of games. Many of the area’s softball and volleyball players have been playing on the club circuit as well.
The summer provides coaches the opportunity to evaluate individual talent while building their team for the future. Look no further than at the John Burroughs boys’ basketball program that ended a very productive summer last week. Coach Adam Hochberg was kind enough to send us a recap of their games, practices and workouts.
This behind-the-scenes insight shows how much time and commitment a team invests during the summer. Building a strong program requires dedication, a passionate and selfless attitude, and a personal sacrifice to become the best you can be.
A year ago, Burroughs finished 16-11 overall and 8-6 in league (tie for third place). The Indians qualified for the CIF playoffs and are looking to repeat the success they had this upcoming winter. In order to reach their goals, every player and coach had to be committed as one.
“We had a very productive summer season working extremely hard and improving each day and week that passed,” Hochberg said. “After two weeks of running our youth camps at the start of June with our players as coaches, we got into a pattern of morning conditioning workouts consisting of track, weight room, and pool and then about 1.5 – 2 hours of basketball workouts consisting mainly of individual skill work/shooting, and breakdowns of what we do system wise offensively and defensively.
“The varsity played a little over 30 games this summer, mainly all in June. A lot of days we played multiple games. Many of our games during the week were after we had already worked out for about three hours. I was looking to challenge them mentally when their bodies were already tired.
“As June rolled along, we got mentally and physically better and had a stretch in which we won 15 out of 20 games including wins over Cathedral, St. Francis, La Canada, and West Ranch. We went 3-2 in the very tough Maranatha Block Party making it to the silver division. The best part was that this tourney culminated us playing 14 games over 10 days and we got stronger each day and outworked our opponents.
“We have returning players that got a lot of experience last season in close games and their growth has been very evident. We were led on the perimeter by junior Steven Hubbell, and seniors David Schwer and Chris Hovasapian. Our best line up though is with the three aforementioned guys playing outside and attacking the paint along with seniors Jakob Davis and junior Angelo Solis who are a tough duo inside. They simply outwork other teams’ interior players. With them, we are real competitive.
“Solis is our most improved player since this spring and his 6-foot-8 wingspan makes him a great help side defender, shot changer, and tremendous offensive rebounder. Both him and Davis have an instinct for the ball and are learning more each day playing together and off of each other.
“Davis was our most consistent player this summer and has developed fundamentally with his perimeter footwork and ball handling making his game expand to be able to play outside and then attack the rim. He is strong and fearless.
“Juniors Eric Allen, Nick Howard, and Rocky Cascolan have also added to our depth since coming up from the JV and they each provide a spark to go along with the other guys already discussed.
“Overall, this team is going to be a pleasure to coach because we know we don’t pass the eye test and we are going to outwork most teams. If we communicate defensively, take care of the ball, and attack the paint and boards, we will be very competitive and have a solid chance to be in the top half of the Pacific League again this upcoming season.”
Hochberg has been the coach at Burroughs for the past five seasons and will begin his sixth year this fall.