Home-Court Advantage

Jeff Toon's parents didn't want him to go away to college, so they handed him the keys to a sporty two-door, never-been-used. . . . garage.

In exchange for a promise to stay home while he attends college in the fall, Toon, a boys' volleyball player at Kennedy High, has been allowed to convert the family garage into his new bedroom.

He's cutting dry wall, fiddling with track lighting, adding cross-beams to the ceiling and, basically, keeping the local building-supply store in business.

"This is the first time I've ever done anything like this," said the 6-foot-6 Toon, who plays middle blocker and is being recruited by Cal State Northridge. "Whatever happens, I'll be proud because I did everything myself."

He's getting some help from his father, Rich, a swimming pool technician. Rich and Toon's mother, Gail, made their son an offer he couldn't refuse.

"They know I like to build things and they figure with me going out there [to the garage], I could do my own thing, have a little more freedom than I already have," said Toon, who lives in Granada Hills.

"We're more family-oriented and I have no reason to leave them. Plus, it saves me money. I don't have to pay for an apartment."

Outside of the garage, Toon has the Golden Cougars tinkering with a potential Northwest Valley Conference volleyball title.

"He's really just thundering the ball," Kennedy Coach Mike Stanton said. "He wants to control the net."

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