Boys' Basketball: Heredia returns to Estancia

Agustin Heredia planned to take some time off from high school boys' basketball this season.

He found out that he couldn't. The game sucked him back in.

Heredia spent this past season as a scout. He showed up to games and sat up high in the stands to get a better view of the court.

He brought a notepad and camera with him. What he saw in his notes and through that lens was that he missed coaching and the daily interaction with players.

He scouted half a dozen games for Estancia, the school he coached at for five seasons until taking a one-year leave of absence. During that time, in which he also scouted for teams like Corona del Mar and Northwood, Heredia said he learned a lot from observing coaches.

The door was always open for him to return as Estancia's coach. Tim Parsel, the boys' athletic director, said that back on the first day of school, when Heredia left the program because of personal reasons.

Heredia said he has taken care of his personal matters and he's ready to lead the Eagles once again.

He met with his some of his players this week. Some he didn't recognize because they were freshmen.

What was familiar to the 41-year-old was the court.

"It feels good to be back," Heredia said of being in charge of his alma mater. "I got to see three of the team's games this year and I liked what I saw. They improved every time. I was happy that the team made the playoffs."

The Eagles qualified for the CIF Southern Section playoffs for the sixth straight season. They earned an at-large berth after they placed fifth in the Orange Coast League, their worst finish in six seasons.

Under Heredia, the Eagles placed second in league in each of his five seasons and reached the second round of the playoffs twice.

Carlos Beltran was the interim coach last season for the Eagles (7-20, 3-7 in league). Whether Beltran will return as an assistant is up in the air. Heredia said he has not assembled a staff yet.

Heredia said he's excited for next season. Josh Mendoza, a junior guard, is expected to return. He led the Eagles last season, averaging 17.1 points per game and shooting 46% from the field and 86% from the free-throw line.

"He improved a lot this year, and I expect him to only get stronger for his senior year," Heredia said. "I'm looking forward to coaching him again and the rest of the players on the team."

Twitter: @DCPenaloza

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