Friday, January 8, 2010

Garnica Crowned King of San Antonio

Finally, the night many San Antonio HS basketball fans have been waiting for. With 18 points left to tie Devin Brown's career scoring record (2763 points) for the City of San Antonio, a crowd of well over a 1000 people were on hand. To the average viewer, the unlikeliest of heroes of the hardwood was a 5'11" Hispanic kid who weighs 150 lbs soaking wet. To those of us who follow the scene closely, we see a deadly three point shooting assassin in Senior PG Paul Garnica of San Antonio Lee.

Below: Garnica in a familiar pose during a summer game shooting over a Memphis Magic player while representing the Texas D-1 Ambassadors.

Folks, this is no cheap record. Tonight (as in many nights past) San Antonio Madison were doubling Garnica as soon as he got off the bus. The ultimate compliment paid to a great player. Less mentally tough kids would get frustrated, but not Garnica. Although he took a twisting three, and hit it with his first shot over two defenders, for the most part he let the game come to him. It's really not that hard for Paul Garnica to do, because despite his scoring role at Lee HS he is first and foremost a point guard that enjoys setting a team mate up for an easy bucket.
I've had the pleasure to coach him for approximately 150 summer games on the toughest circuit in the country. Most people would be surprised to know that despite an occasional 20 point outing Garnica was more likely to put up double digit assists as he dropped sweet "dimes" to such team mates as D.J. Stephens (Memphis), Garland Judkins (Arizona), Cory Jefferson (Baylor), Daniel Alexander (Texas A&M) and Brian Williams (Oklahoma State) just to name a few. It was this skill and aptitude that landed Garnica his multiple D-1 scholarship offers, ultimately deciding on playing for Coach Tad Boyle who is building a nice mid major power at Northern Colorado.

Having said that, this was Paul's night to etch his name in the scoring books. After 3 quarters he was dead even with Brown (now with the New Orleans Hornets) as he scored 18. He was stuck on that total for about 5 minutes until with 6:44 left in the game he hit a 22 foot triple with two defenders all over him. With the score tied at 57, Garnica snagged his 10th rebound of the game and raced 3/4 of the court before he was almost gang tackled just inside the arc on the sideline. With 0.6 seconds, he shot free throws. He missed the first, and capped his record breaking night with a game winning shot from the charity stripe to finish with 25 for the night. Lee is now 25-2 on the season.

Garnica now has 2770 points and figures to add 200 plus more. I'd bet on him eclipsing the 3000 point plateau. An amazing feat. Tonight, most everyone gave Paul a minute long standing ovation. There were a few "haters", but for one night most basketball fans were Paul Garnica fans.

Paul, congratulations from everyone in the Lee HS community as well as Coach Max, Chip and the rest of the Texas D-1 Ambassadors Family.