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COC basketball: One common thread

Three local high school grads have taken different journeys to COC

Posted: March 4, 2013 10:56 p.m.
Updated: March 4, 2013 10:56 p.m.

College of the Canyons basketball players, from left, freshman guard David Horst, 25, sophomore guard Terrez Scott, 22 and sophomore forward Ron Harris, 24.

 

All three athletes had their separate reasons for taking the paths they took.

But they all had the same reason for ending up at College of the Canyons — basketball.

Valencia graduates Terrez Scott and David Horst and Saugus graduate Ron Harris all took significant breaks from the sport after high school, but they’ve converged onto the same team years later.

“We all had things that were happening in our lives and it took time for us to gather ourselves and just be like, ‘You know what, we need to move on,’” says Scott, COC’s 22-year-old sophomore starting point guard who graduated from Valencia in 2008.

This group of journeymen has helped this team do pretty well.

COC’s men’s basketball is preparing for a third-round Southern California Regional Playoff game on Wednesday against Mt. San Antonio College.

The game will tip off at 5:30 p.m. at Mt. SAC in Walnut. Two more wins and COC will be headed to Sacramento for the California Community College Athletic Association state semifinals.

COC (21-8) got here by beating Allan Hancock College 71-68 on Friday in the second round, which was the team’s first postseason win in six years.

Six years ago, Horst and Harris were high school graduates working full-time and trying to figure out what to do with their lives.

Scott was a junior at Valencia High at that time, but he would end up giving up basketball in favor of work as well.

Now, the three former Santa Clarita Valley high school hoops players are making an impact at the next level.

“I think that’s one of the things that makes this level so unique,” says COC head coach Howard Fisher. “Some of them bring something to the table from their various experiences and even if some of them are similar, there is still a uniqueness. I think they are able to grow as people because they can appreciate what they’ve all been through.”

After earning Foothill League Player of the Year honors as a senior at Valencia in 2005, Horst graduated and started working odd jobs, serving at a local cafe and picking up a few other part-time gigs.

His life was beginning to take a negative downturn.

Going to college and playing basketball weren’t priorities for him at that point.

“That whole time I just had the wrong mentality and I was just thinking I could get back into (basketball) whenever I wanted,” says Horst, 25-year-old freshman guard at COC. “And then seven years went by.”

Meanwhile, as time went on, Harris was dealing with some struggles of his own while working full-time stocking shelves at a local Walmart.

It was his first job. But he realized it wasn’t at all what he wanted to do with his life.

“I didn’t really have a plan on where I was going and what I was doing with my life,” says Harris, a starting sophomore forward.

Harris, 24, also played for COC last year, averaging 9.2 points and 7.1 rebounds per game. His numbers are roughly the same this year, 9.8 points and 6.2 rebounds, but he’s come up particularly big late in the season.

Horst, after joining the team a year later than Harris, is COC’s first man off the bench.

He averages 6.5 points a game in a gritty 20 minutes per contest on average.

Both players describe their decision to return to basketball the same way.

They woke up one morning and decided they needed to take their lives in a different direction.

“I think I finally hit a point where I needed to stop messing around, reading the same book over and over,” Horst says. “I needed to start a new chapter in my life.”

With a year under his belt, Horst is proving to be an impressive comeback story.

“He’s our sixth man,” Fisher says of Horst. “He’s multidimensional. He’s a perimeter guy, but he’s got skills enough where we can stick him inside and he can post up.”

As for the team captain, Scott, his path to COC was nontraditional in its own way.

After graduating from Valencia as a 17-year-old, Scott went straight to COC to play for the 2008-09 team.

Scott was the starting point guard that year too, scoring 5.8 points per game.

He wasn’t thrilled with his performance, and even coaches admitted they weren’t either. So Scott decided to leave the program and go get a job.

“It gave me time to grow up as a person and as an individual,” Scott says of his time off. “When I came here out of high school, I kind of had a stubborn attitude and I didn’t really listen to anyone.”

When he came back to the team in 2011, the coaching staff made it clear he was going to have to earn his position and playing time as if he were brand new.

And after sitting out a year as a redshirt last season, Scott has delivered. He’s scoring 7.0 points and dishing out 4.7 assists per game this year.

But more importantly, he’s learned how to run the team.

“I think he really grew as far as what he sees and saw as a point guard and a teammate,” Fisher says. “He’s become a very valuable leader, physically, vocally. He communicates very well. He’s easily one of the best leaders we’ve had in my tenure as a coach and probably one of the best we’ve had in six to eight years.”

Asked why they decided to come back to their hometown school, the three of them basically summed it up with, “it’s local.”

They know the players on the team. They know the coaches who had recruited them since high school. They’re all playing in their backyard.

All three said they plan to continue playing basketball at four-year schools.

But until then, they still have a chance to give local basketball fans something to celebrate.

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