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Basketball camp is rewarding part of coach's hectic summer

BURBANK —There is little relaxation during the summer for Vicky Oganyan.

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Oganyan, who has been the head girls’ basketball coach at Burroughs High since 2004, maintains a hectic schedule during her break from school. Along with managing her team through as many as 50 summer games, she is also organizing and running a Burroughs summer league and hosting a tournament that features 16 teams.

If that wasn’t enough, Oganyan, along with Indians boys’ coach Alan Ellis, hosts three sessions of the eighth annual Tribe Youth Basketball Camp.

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“I definitely stay busy during most of the summer,” said Oganyan, whose team captured a share of the Pacific League championship during the 2017-18 season. “I think the key is if you love something it’s really not work. I think when it gets to the point where I don’t want to do it any more, that’s when I will know it’s time for me to leave.

“For this camp, we have been running it long enough where we know what to expect and we kind of have it pretty much down by now. It’s just cool to see a lot of the kids who we have had at camp over the years come in as freshmen and try out for the boys’ and girls’ basketball teams.”

Ellis has similar sentiments.

“This is why I coach basketball. I love being with kids, I love working with kids and to get a chance to see today’s youth and the youth in Burbank is great,” Ellis said. “Just witnessing the progression of some of these players is a great thing to see.”

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The third session got underway Monday at Burroughs High.

Players were broken down into groups by age and ability and are under the watchful eye of camp director Jelani Bandele, who has been running the annual summer event since its inception in 2011. Players also get the benefit of instruction from current Burroughs players and former players who lend a hand.

“Coach [Oganyan] helped me a lot when I was a player here and it’s nice to come back and give back a little,” said Davina Del Castillo, the 2015 All-Area Girls’ Basketball Player of the Year who most recently played at Ventura Collage and will compete for Cal State San Marcos this coming season. “It’s just great helping out the little kids.

“We had a little girl who couldn’t make a shot on the first day of camp and by the last day she was making six or seven shots. It’s nice to see that kind of thing and know that maybe you were able to help them improve as a player.”

Current Indians boys’ player Bryan Oasay, who will be a senior, said the energy and exuberance displayed by many campers is nice to see.

“They really get into it, which is nice,” he said. “I’m very competitive and I want to win and that makes them want to win so they are out there doing their best. It’s really a fun thing. You can tell a lot of them really want to be here and they want to get better as players.”

In the camp, which featured more than 54 boys and girls ages 6-14, players were instructed in shooting, dribbling, passing and playing defense. They are also put through exercises to help strengthen their core and players were put into teams and got the opportunity to play in games.

Eliza Goulet, 10, of Burbank sported a shirt that read “varsity player in training.” She said she has benefited from the tips and training from the coaches at the camp.

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“I’m really learning a lot of things and I really want to learn more about how to make threes,” she said. “But what is really good is there are a lot of high school kids here and they can relate to being our age and that helps them teach us. And it’s great that they are playing here and they are accomplishing a lot.”

Hayk Achemian, 12, of Glendale said the ability to attend with friends is one of the things that attracted him to the camp.

“It’s always fun here because I get to play with my friends,” he said. “I would rather be here than anywhere else because I’m able to learn and have fun at the same time.

“The coaches here help me out a lot and they have helped me learn new basketball skills.”

Said 12-year-old camper Alex Valenzuela from Burbank: “This is my first official camp and it’s really fun. I’m looking to improve my dribbling and my shooting, and stuff like that.”

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