Falcons’ basketball guard played a key role in last season’s success, but will transfer to Maranatha next season.
By Brandon HENSLEY
The Lord giveth, and the Lord taketh away.
Crescenta Valley High School basketball player Nick Springer will transfer next year to Christian high school Maranatha in Pasadena, citing mainly religious reasons for he and his family.
“We are strong Christians and strongly believe in God and that everything happens for a reason,” said Springer, a junior. “It seemed like a good idea, and that was one of our options.”
Springer will team up with new Maranatha head coach Tim Tucker, who previously coached Pasadena, CV’s rival in the Pacific League.
CV was a potential favorite to win league in 2014 with Springer (they finished second behind Pasadena). Now that gets thrown up in the air.
“It was a surprise,” said Falcons Coach Shawn Zargarian. “You don’t typically expect kids who are going to be seniors leaving after they’ve put in so much time at a particular place, but … high school basketball these days, nothing is surprising.”
Along with graduating senior Cole Currie, Springer helped the Falcons earn a second straight berth in CIF Division 1A semifinals this season. He averaged 20.3 points in his first three playoff games before recording just a single point in CV’s semifinal loss to El Toro.
The Falcons finished the season with a loss to Crenshaw in the first round of the state regionals, making their record 23-9.
Springer, who was named to the All Pacific League first team, also proved he could eventually be counted on for stingy defense, but that doesn’t concern Zargarian anymore.
“We’ve moved on,” he said. “We have guys who are super excited at the opportunity of being in that spot.”
If it means anything to CV, Springer wasn’t a homegrown talent. He moved to La Crescenta from the Virgin Islands for his sophomore year. Two years later, he’s gone.
“I’m just looking at it as if he were a senior and he’s graduating,” Zargarian said.
Zargarian said the offense this spring has been undergoing a makeover, with more emphasis on pick-and-rolls with point guard Berj Krikorian. That could help open up the floor for shooters Eric Bae, Arin Pezeshkian and varsity newcomer Kevin Dinges, who transferred from Renaissance Academy and played junior varsity for CV this year.
Then again, the Falcons have been a perimeter-oriented team for some time.
CV’s best player last year was Currie, who mostly played point guard. Dylan Kilgour, a 2012 graduate, was one of the purest shooters in league during his time.
Over the last several years, even power forwards Coltrane Powdrill, Christian Misi and brothers Nick and Davis Dragovich were versatile enough to lead fast breaks and knock down outside shots.
From the eyes of a spectator watching this past season, Springer would have probably been the focal point of the offense next year. He’s long and lanky, tall enough to knock down 3-pointers over smaller guards and big enough to grab rebounds down low.
It was his two offensive rebound put-backs in the fourth quarter that helped secure a second-round playoff win this year against Edison High School.
Springer’s length also made him valuable on defense, and he showed recent signs of becoming an elite defender. Zargarian said now a more team-oriented style will be implemented.
“We can’t replace his body, but we’ll find a way to replace everything else,” he said.
Springer was clear to say his decision had nothing to do with the CV basketball program or the school itself.
“It had nothing to do with that. I have the upmost respect for everyone there,” he said.
Springer is a student in Zargarian’s kinesiology class for a couple more weeks, so the potential for some awkwardness still exists.
“It’s all right, it’s all right,” Springer said. “I hope he doesn’t have anything against me.”
“I’m not holding anything against him,” Zargarian said. “I just kind of go on with my day and treat him as a student now.”