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Boys’ basketball: Harvey Kitani, Tim Tucker, David Rebibo go for CIF titles at private schools

Forerm Fairfax Coach Harvey Kitani has Rolling Hills Prep in the 5AA championship game.

Forerm Fairfax Coach Harvey Kitani has Rolling Hills Prep in the 5AA championship game.

(Allen J Schaben / Los Angeles Times)

It pays for private schools to recruit coaches from public schools.

Harvey Kitani, Tim Tucker and David Rebibo, all former head coaches at public schools, will be trying to win Southern Section championships this weekend for private schools.

Kitani, a former Fairfax coach, has Rolling Hills Prep in the 5AA championship game. Tucker, a former head coach at Pasadena, has Maranatha in the 1AA final. And Rebibo, a former El Camino Real coach, has Harvard-Westlake in the 1A final.

Let’s just say there are plenty of perks coaching at a private school, such as your own office and a nice television.

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“We had a TV at Fairfax,” Kitani said. “It was just an older model.”

The biggest difference is the focus on academics and fewer obstacles.

But all three loved their experiences at public schools and understand the challenges.

Kitani spent 35 years at Fairfax before retiring and taking a coaching job that’s 12 minutes from his house. Tucker said he still roots for Pasadena, which is playing in the 1A championship game against Harvard-Westlake. And Rebibo remains an El Camino Real fan.

Tucker has done a remarkable job getting Maranatha into Saturday’s final against Rancho Verde. Maranatha has no stars but lots of players that play as a team.

Rebibo has taken a team loaded with young players and got them into the 1A final after winning a state title last season.

So the former public school coaches are happy with their private school jobs but will never forget how much fun they had coaching in the public schools.

For the latest on high school sports, follow @LATSondheimer on Twitter

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